Smile

In response to yesterday’s post, someone left this comment, “based on this you just might be a stream entrant who just doesn’t know it yet.” Now, I don’t know if he was being sincere or not. It occurred to me that it might not be a compliment, but I figured he probably meant well. Anyway, it’s late in the evening here and I had a brief moment of flippancy and unfortunately it ended up in my reply.  It was a small attempt at humor, apparently very small . . . and he took it the wrong way.

You know, I get so few comments that when one comes in I really hate to screw it up.

I have some sacred cows, but not many. Me, myself and I are certainly not among them. I’ve made light of myself on this blog from time to time. Even though I have never been known for having a particularly jocular personality, still I find that I can only be serious for so long and then I have to crack wise.

Besides, I like humor. I’m not any good at being funny, but I like it. And I have a tough time finding funny stuff these days. I haven’t had a really good laugh in a long time. I prefer humor that is rather dry, like a good martini. Haven’t had one of those in a long while either. What passes for humor today, which seems to be mainly about bodily functions, leaves me cold.

I like Tina Fey, but I don’t think 30 Rock is very funny. Aside from her and Alex Baldwin, I can’t stand anyone else on the show. By the way, when receiving the 2011 Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Ms. Fey remarked how she was only the 3rd woman to receive the award, and then she said something to the effect of how nice it will be when we no longer chart women’s progress by numbers. Think about it.

"Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand."

I used to like Dennis Miller. I’d watch his show on HBO and laugh so hard I cried. But, alas, he was a fake. With his 60’s references and rock ‘n roll and drug references and lines like “Inaction is more entrenched in Washington DC than Rush Limbaugh in a hammock,” I pegged him for a liberal kind of guy. That was just a smokescreen. After 9/11 he revealed his true self. It turned out he was a right-wing reactionary all along. And now, he appears on the Bill O’Reilly show. On Fox. That’s just sad.

I hated to see Al Franken enter politics. He has a very dry sense of humor. Then he had to get serious. Politics can be very funny, but it unfortunately turns funny people into bores.

My philosophy is similar to that of Abner Doubleday, the founder of baseball, who famously said, “Don’t take the world serious. That’s it! The world serious . . .”

I’ve never given anything away on this blog, but I am willing to give a free no-prize to anyone who can identify the source of the Abner Doubleday line. Not only that, I will give 2 free no-prizes to anyone who can tell me where the concept of no-prizes originated. (On the latter, you have to be very specific.)

Life is too short to take everything serious. I am facing some rather serious health challenges right now, so keeping things lighthearted is not only a strategy, it’s a necessity. To paraphrase someone (I don’t remember who and I’m too lazy tonight to Google it.) I can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought. I have a tendency to be too serious, and negative, anyway.

This is probably as boring as a political speech, and I apologize. I also apologize to the commenter if he thought I was being sarcastic. I was, but not towards him. This ties in with what I wrote about yesterday. Another way we make Buddhism overly-complicated is by taking it all so seriously.

Well, it is serious. But I remember a teacher telling us that we should practice with joy. And he laughed all the time.

So, I say laugh and feel happy as much as you can. Do it today, before the vortex of suffering comes along and tries to suck all the laughter and happiness right out of you.

Here’s a poem that I first read over 40 years ago and it reflects my thinking right now. It was written by a young Jewish girl who was in a Nazi death camp:

From tomorrow on I will be sad
From tomorrow on
Not today, today I will be glad
And every day no matter how hard it may be I will say
From tomorrow on I will be sad
And not today.

And now I am going to watch Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights.

This, however, is from Modern Times:

"Smile."

Smile tho’ your heart is aching,
Smile even tho’ it’s breaking,
When there are clouds in the sky you’ll get by,
If you smile thro’ your fear and sorrow,

Smile and maybe tomorrow,
you’ll see the sun come shining thro; for you

Light up your face with gladness,
Hide ev’ry trace of sadness,

Al -‘tho a tear may be ever so near,
That’s the time,
You must keep on trying,

Smile, what’s the use of crying,
You’ll find that life is still worth-while,
If you just smile . . .

Lyrics by John Turner and Geoffery Parsons – 1954
Music by Charles Chaplin – Modern Times theme

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2 thoughts on “Smile

  1. I have totally blundered responses to blog comments. It happens. And humor is tough to pull of online – not impossible, and I’ve done it well a few times – but I tend to err on the side of being careful about humor in comment responses.

    At the same time, there are so many people trolling about, leaving snarky comments that sound like the one Mike left on your post yesterday. So, it’s hard to withhold flippancy in such cases – I have had to erase responses I have started, seeing what was happening.

    But Mike clearly meant his, and his follow up responses, as well as yours, show that both of you made the effort. And I think that, too, is worthy for people to see – and maybe learn from. That both of you stepped back from a bit of heat, and were able to listen and respond again.

    1. Thanks, Nathan. You are so right, humor is tough to pull off online. It’s also tough to remember that sometimes.

      I get comments occasionally that look sincere, but when there’s a link and I check it out it appears that they’re just trying to sell something or they have some other ulterior motive, so their comment goes into the trash folder. It’s hard to tell at times.

      I’ve always tried to be respectful even when commenters disagree with me or are somewhat snarky. I suppose there are some bloggers who would delete the tread, lest their readers get the idea that the blogger is less than perfect, but as you say it’s worthwhile for people to see these blunders and learn from them.

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