Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just One of These

"The secret source of humor itself is not joy but sorrow."-Mark Twain

I love to laugh. I believe that as the Reader's Digest column proclaims Laughter IS the Best Medicine. It is a fact that laughing releases endorphins into brain that stimulate the central nervous system and produce a high much like that of mood enhancing drugs. It's true, I kid you not. Laughing is great! It is fun! Who doesn't like to laugh? One of the most guilty pleasures in life is uncontrollable laughter in a setting where it is not expected, nor appreciated (i.e. a classroom, Sunday church, and dare I even say it? A funeral! Don't blame me, blame The Barenaked Ladies!) Sure there are people who are rarely seen laughing, but deep down they love to do it. We all do it. I just did and I'm ready to do it again!

I love listening to comedians, especially good comedians. More times than not, if you were to do an depth investigation into the lives of most comedians you would find some hardship, or hard luck story. You see these people, when confronted with tough times, turn to laughter. Hey, it's cheaper than paying for therapy and the return is instantaneous. If you make someone laugh the feeling is fantastic, and if you don't you know right of way that you need work.

I don't consider myself anywhere near the level of your average comedian, though I do love making people laugh. To me it is a drug. If I can make a group of people bust a gut, the feeling that comes over me is almost euphoric. I find it challenging to make a group of people laugh. Sometimes I am successful, and other times I am not (more than I am willing to admit).

Getting back to laughing over the pain. The late great Rodney Dangerfield had bouts of depression that he dealt with his whole life. He was constantly feeling like a failure. He built his entire routine, "I Tell You I Don't Get No Respect" around it. He even talked about it in his act. He would talk about waking up every morning face to face with the heaviness of depression that haunted him. Yet he did it by laughing at it. "Hi Heaviness" was one of his bits and man if it wasn't funny! It would end with him saying that all he wanted in life was, "just one of these" and he would hold up his hand making the A-OK gesture. It was very funny and bit sad. It always got laughs, but some of them were uncomfortable laughs. People who come to see a comedian want funny not reality. Make me laugh but don't make me cry. The truth is that one often follows the other and one makes the other seem more intense. Why else would Drama be pictured as two masks, one laughing one crying?

The poet Ella Wheeler Cox said it best:

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone,
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.

Weep and you do weep alone. It seems that very few, and I mean very few, people will pay any attention to you when life has gotten you down. That's the way it goes. People just don't want to be bothered. We greet each other with a "Hey how you doin'?" or "Hi how are you?" but we really don't want to be bothered with the response, do we? Let's be honest about it. If you think that I am nuts, the next time you hear one of these greetings, or a reasonable facsimile, answer it in truth. "Horrible!", or "I could be better and here's why...". Then watch the reaction that you get from the other person. It probably won't be one of caring or concern. We don't want to know. We just want to be perceived as someone who gives a damn, even when we really don't.

I think that a funny way to subtlety protest anyone who asks without caring (and you can tell who these people are) for an honest-to-God response would be, in tribute to Rodney, give them just one of these, and then flash them the A-OK sign. If nothing else you can chuckle to yourself, and it's more polite than flashing the middle finger. Did I just say that? I guess I did.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to get ready for work and there are a few bits that I need to rehearse. Gotta make 'em laugh!

Now go do something productive!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Where is Fancy Bred? In the Heart or in the Head?

Is there such a thing as True Love, or is it something that is just a fleeting fancy? It seems, and this may just be my sad experience at the game of love, that reality falls short of expectations. Perhaps I am being too much of a nitpicker or maybe my sights are set too high. I can't honestly say that I am more discerning than the next guy because that makes me out to be a snob. However, people do find True Love, I know because I have seen it in couples. It does in fact exist.

So if it exists, and I have not found it then either I have not found it for me yet, or I will never find it at all because it doesn't exist for me. Odd thing this Love? That is one of our basic human needs, or desires isn't it? Don't we all just want to be loved? I am not talking sex, though that is nice. Rather I am talking about bonding with another person in a deep and profound way. We all long to have someone look at us and say, "I thank God for you and want nothing more than to be with you always." I could be wrong, I have been wrong in love so why not in my thinking about it.

I am an eternal optimist, however, I believe that True Love is out there for me. I have to be an optimist because the other side of that thought is too heartbreaking for me to bear. I am happy to see couples who love each other in this manner, the manner of undying-devoted-true love, because it renews my hope for me, but in the same breath it reminds me of what I do not have, of what I basically have never had. I thought I had it once, but I was blinded and I let myself be blinded to it. Love does that to you, if you let it. Love has illusions. Jackson Browne said it best in Fountain of Sorrow:

But when you see through loves illusions, there lies the danger
And your perfect lover just looks like a perfect fool
So you go running off in search of a perfect stranger
While the loneliness seems to spring from your life
Like a fountain from a pool

While I long for True Love, I am guarded towards it. Or I should say my heart is guarded towards it. I want it but I don't want to be hurt by it. Catch-22, I know. People keep telling me that I have to belly up to the table throw in my ante and spin the wheel for Love is a gamble at best. I know I should, but something holds me back. Don't really know what it is, but it holds me back.

The desire to be loved is spurred on by the desire to not be alone. I have never had problems with being alone. I like myself and enjoy my own company (I am an easy date). I have gone to the movies alone, to dinner alone, to church, the mall, across country alone. It never bothered me. However, I must confess that it is starting to bother me a bit now. I guess the thing that holds me back from the Gamble on True Love is that I don't want to settle for anything less than TRUE Love. Fascinating!

There is definitely an interesting sensation being in a crowded place but still feeling lonely in the middle of it all. I don't write this to make anyone feel sad for me, these are just my observations. No I am not sad. A bit lonely, yes and still optimistic about life and the future. These are just some thoughts that come to me. They are thoughts that come to me in the middle of the night as I stuff tiny metal discs into long thin paperbags. I work, I think, I long, I hope.

Anyway, just felt like posting this to see if anyone else feels the way I do.


Friday, September 7, 2007

"This Song IS About Me!"

I love music and listen to all types. I have quite a few songs on my iPod. 5776 and counting to be exact. It's mostly jazz, classic rock, and classical music. I love the darn thing and may even purchase one of the newly redesigned ones.

I was listening to my iPod the other night at work and was going through one of my playlists. I was grooving along and then I got to Carly Simon's You're So Vain.

Check out the link and you will find that there is a lot of speculation as to who the song is really about. But the fact is that whoever the song is about, he can say undeniably and with gusto, "The song is about me! So how does that make me vain?"

That is the whole point of the song; it is really about goofing the listener. I have always liked the song and even enjoy hearing Mick Jagger sing back up. However, knowing that Carly Simon never intends to reveal who it is about makes the song that much better. I can't help but listen to it with a smirk on my face thinking, "Well done Ms. Simon, well done!"

Just another one of those things that pop into this fertile mind in the middle of the night while at work. I wonder what will pop in there tonight? I can hardly wait. Stay tuned!