Humorously Speaking #4: Laugh or Go Crazy
I’m so bad at sports that it doesn’t matter which hand I use to play them. I’m left-handed, but whether I hold the bowling ball in my left hand or my right hand, it doesn’t matter. It will probably land in the gutter either way. Whether I address the golf ball with the left side or right side of my body, my swing will probably miss the ball altogether.
Master Toastmaster, fellow Toastmasters and guests, you can find humor in your life on a daily basis, and I hope that you do. This world is so crazy, with so many awful things happening every day, that if you don’t laugh, you can go insane. Isn’t it better to laugh and keep your sanity? Of course it is! What can you laugh at? You can laugh at yourself, at others around you, or at the world. The possibilities are endless.
The easiest person to poke fun at is yourself. It’s hard for me to admit it but, sigh, my body isn’t perfect. I have big bags under my eyes that take up half my face. And my husband calls my upper arms boiled chicken wings, for obvious reasons. But I draw the line at plastic surgery, which is quite common in South Korea. Plastic surgery is so common in South Korea that they now have the surprise ugly baby syndrome. That’s when you marry someone who’s had plastic surgery but hasn’t told you about it, and then the two of you have an ugly baby. Surprise!
You can laugh at others around you. I remember when we were in church for mass on Christmas Eve in my husband’s hometown in Wisconsin. During a quiet, solemn part of the service, somebody let out a world-class fart. Loud as a sonic boom. On a scale of one to ten, it was an eleven. Five of us family members sat in a row and valiantly tried not to laugh. But that's as impossible as getting the Silver line metro out to Dulles Airport by next year. I giggled, which made my husband next to me giggle, which set off his siblings next to him. We compose ourselves, but then his sister at the other end broke out in guffaws, which caused a chain reaction of laughter right on down the row.
And you can laugh at some of the awful things going on in this world. That’s what a new comedy show in Iraq is doing. It makes fun of the Islamic State group by depicting a town overtaken by the Islamic extremists, where a grocery store owner is told that vegetables with names in the Arabic language that are female in gender, cannot mix with vegetables of the male gender.
Ladies and gentlemen, I happen to believe that the Earth is a school where we learn lessons. That it has to feel real for us to learn, but that the only thing real is love. That we keep coming back here until we learn certain lessons, and then we move on.
That’s why one of my favorite movies is the 1991 comedy “Defending Your Life,” with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep. It pokes fun at death! Albert Brooks dies at the beginning of the movie, and then finds himself in a pleasant resort where people wait for their trial. The best thing about this resort is that you can eat as much as you want and never gain weight, because you’re dead! While he’s waiting, Brooks, who wasn’t an angel during his previous life, meets Meryl Streep, who by comparison was a saint. During her previous life she rushed into a burning building to rescue animals.
At a person’s trial, there’s a prosecuting attorney, a defense attorney, and two black-robed judges who decide whether you get to move on or are sent back to earth. They make their decision on the basis of…whether you’ve overcome your fears. His defense attorney tells Albert Brooks that people on Earth use so little of their brains that they spend most of their lives functioning on the basis of their fears. "When you use more than 5% of your brain, you don't want to be on Earth, believe me," he says.
What happens next? Watch "Defending Your Life" to find out.
Now what if you don’t follow my advice? What if you don’t laugh, and instead you go crazy? Then you may have to call the Mental Health Hotline:
Welcome to the Mental Health Hotline!
If you are Obsessive-Compulsive, press 1 repeatedly, being certain to wash your hands between each press.
If you have Multiple Personalities, press 2, 3, 4, and 5.
If you are Paranoid, we know who you are and what you want. Stay on the line so we can trace your call.
If you are Co-Dependent, please ask someone to press 6 for you.
If you are Delusional, press 7, and your call will be transferred to the Mother Ship.
If you are Schizophrenic, listen carefully, and a small voice will tell you which number to press.
If you have Bi-Polar Disorder, please leave a message after the beep. Or before the beep. Or after the beep. Please wait for the beep.
If you have Low Self Esteem, please hang up. All our representatives are too busy to help worthless people like you. And thank you for calling the Mental Health Hotline!
Don’t go insane! Laugh at yourself, at others around you, at the world or at the movies. But laugh.