I get asked every once in awhile why I write funny stuff. Do I really have a brain that still chortles over chicken jokes? Am I trying to say poop jokes are sophisticated humor? Well, yeah, actually. I am and they are! But there are myriad ways I could channel my juvenile side and I’ve had some success with ‘serious’ adult stuff, so why have I settled on the funny?
Well, let me tell you a story.
Yesterday we needed to get the newly hatched guinea keets out of the hatching bator, and put them in the brooder box. Simple, right? No excitmenet, no stimulation, just pick up the itty-bitty baby and put it in the box!
Well, it wasn’t so simple. When people talk about guineas, they usually find themselves using words like crazy, nuts, and psycho. You get the drift? So when I lifted the top off the hatching bator, the guinea keets went from 0 to 60 and attempted to launch themselves out of the bator. And they nearly managed it.
I started shrieking, and covered the hatching bator with my arms and body. I couldn’t reach back down and get the top without losing babies, but it was only a matter of time til one of them found their way past my arms and threw their tiny newborn baby body off the 3-4 foot drop onto the floor. Can you say splat?
My hubby already had a chick in his hands (chicken chick, not a crazy keet) which he quickly passed off to our daughter. Then he and I attempted to push all the keets back toward the center of the bator while simultaneously lifting the bator off the table and setting it gently on the floor.
We almost made it. On the way down, a little lavender keet got past us and threw himself over the lip of the bator. He landed with a bounce, and we both yelped in horror, but by the time we had the bator settled on the floor he’d jumped to his feet and run off to pick a fight with the dog!
I kid you not, he really did! And while he measured himself against the dog’s nostrils (the dog was stretched out on the floor, trying to catch a doze and ignore the circus) we dealt with popcorning keets. They were truly popping up and out of the bator faster than we could catch them and put them in the brooder! Thankfully the fall was now only inches, but how did they know that? They didn’t. They were determined to toss themselves over that edge, all the same.
What does all that have to do with my writing humor, you ask? Well, I’m a bit like a guinea keet. We all are. We’re here, living this life, and we generally have no idea if the choices we’re making are going to work out anything like we want them to. New job, exciting new offer? Maybe the company will be bankrupt in two years and you’ll go down with it. Adorable new car, bought at a steal? The brakes are shot, and there’s a deer waiting to redesign the car’s front end on the way home. Happy picnic in the park? You’ll get bit by a tick while you’re there and spend the next ten years trying to recover from Lyme’s disease. And those aren’t even the really tough choices!
The thing is, my life has included a fair amount of pain. Some emotional, some physical. I’ve experienced upheavel, bullying, devastating loss and betrayel, and the ongoing fight against chronic pain from my arthritis. Plus that annoying and life-threatening peanut allergy, of course. And there’s something I’ve figured out from all this:
Life can be lived more bravely when it’s faced with humor.
I’m not saying that everything should be laughed at. Some things are sacred, and other things are too painful to touch. But I recently found myself laughing my head off with a fellow adolescent at the irony of my brother–who used to play with his matchbox cars by lighting up a can of hair spray, pulling out a hammer to get realistic dents, and the judicious application of his nose bleed–being killed in a car accident. Once you get past that initial shock that he was killed, you must admit that his going in a major smash-up car accident is incredibly funny!
And with humor comes healing, at least, it does for me. Acknowledging the funny side requires that I step outside myself, look past my pain, and reach beyond the moment. It requires that some part of my soul acknowledge that no matter how terrible or traumatic or even just damned annoying this incident is in the here and now, it is not the end of the world.
And I don’t mean that in a callous or cruel way. I mean, it is quite literally not the end. That the sun will rise tomorrow, life will go on undefeated, and there will one day be a day when I have to remind myself of this moment. To deny this possibility is to deny healing and maturing from our life experiences, and it all begins with humor.
So, popcorn guinea keets, which thankfully all survived their kamikaze leap into the unknown, and laughing at the funeral. That’s what I’m all about, and that’s why I write humor.