Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand – Mark Twain
The coronavirus has taken away our ability to eat a restaurant meal together, attend sporting events – or watch them on TV - comfort the afflicted, and gather for weddings and funerals. Not to mention damaged our overall sense of security.
But, given all that, we certainly will be damned if we let it take away our sense of humor.
Which is why I’m reminding everyone to get a good laugh or two in every day … as well as share some funnies with someone you love.
Earlier this week I spent two hours watching old YouTube videos of my favorite comedian, Jonathan Winters, doing improve characters with Johnny Carson on The Tonight Show. Sometimes Carson’s unabashed mirth was as entertaining as Winters’ comedy bits.
I’ve also been getting comedy by email. Here’s some one-liners I received about our lockdown situation:
• Still haven't decided where to go for Easter — The Living Room or The Bedroom.
• I need to start practicing more social distancing … from the refrigerator.
• Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they still fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well with your waistline.
• Homeschooling: My child just said "I hope I don't have the same teacher next year!".... I'm offended.
• Homeschooling is going well. Two students suspended for fighting and one teacher fired for drinking on the job.
• I don't think anyone expected that when we changed the clocks, we'd go from Standard Time to the Twilight Zone. (More like The Outer Limits if you ask me.)
• Went to this restaurant called THE KITCHEN. You have to gather all the ingredients and make your own meal. I have no clue how this place is still in business.
• I'm so excited — it's time to take out the garbage. What should I wear?
• I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to Puerto Backyarda. I'm getting tired of Los Livingroom.
• Classified Ad: Single man with toilet paper seeks woman with hand sanitizer for good clean fun.
• My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet.
That last one sounds like an Erma Bombeck, who once observed, “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”
You got that right Erma. According to Psychology Today, in these times — when we are overwhelmed by tragic events, deep misery, and suffering ... and unable to change the realities surrounding us — humor is a useful tool as a defense mechanism (unconscious protection from anxious thoughts and feelings).
Conscious or unconscious, it’s good medicine as it’s been shown not only to reduce stress and anxiety but also increase our immune cells and boost infection fighting antibodies.
I’m also a fan of cartoons. I received a takeoff on Peanuts this week in which Peppermint Patty is pictured asking Charlie Brown, “What surprises you most about this coronavirus?” His reply, “It has done what no woman has been able to do; cancel all sports, shutdown all bars, and keep men at home!”
Another was a post read: THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS GOING OUT TO ALL THE MEN WHO’VE SPENT MONTHS TELLING THEIR WIVES OR SIGNIFICANT OTHERS, “I’LL DO THAT WHEN I’VE GOT THE TIME.”
Here’s some little kid jokes I like:
Upon being asked about her first week of school a little girl lamented. "I'm just wasting my time, mother. I can't read, I can't write … and they won't let me talk!"
While working for an organization that delivers lunches to elderly shut-ins, a woman took her 4-year-old daughter on her afternoon rounds. The various appliances of old age - particularly the canes, walkers and wheelchairs - unfailingly intrigued the little girl. One day she found her staring at a pair of false teeth soaking in a glass. As she braced herself for the inevitable barrage of questions, her daughter turned and whispered softly, "The tooth fairy will never believe this!"
In closing, here’s an Easter story I shared some years back about a priest discussing The Passion with first graders. As he began talking about Easter morning, a little boy raised his hand and began to wave it exuberantly.
When called up on, the boy said, “Father, I know what Jesus said when he came out of the tomb!”
To which the priest replied, “No my son, no one was there. So nobody knows that.”
“But I know, I know,” the first grader responded confidently.
“Okay,” the priest responded with a sigh, “what?”
The boy wiggled out of his seat, jumped forward with both his arms held high in the air and exclaimed with a smile, “TAH DAH!”
— J.T. Knoll is a writer, speaker and celebrant. He also operates Knoll Training, Consulting & Training in Pittsburg. He can be reached at 620-231-0499, email@example.com, or 401 W. Euclid, Pittsburg, KS 66762