Wednesday, July 29, 2015

I love to laugh ... so should you

"Have you seen 'Inside out?'" asked the young fellow, when our paths crossed on the trail.

The eight-year old kid's smiling face easily revealed that he was surely up to mischief.  But, what could be the mischief about a Pixar movie?

"The movie, right?  No, haven't seen it."

I will spare you his reply--in case you have not watched the movie yet.  Yes, a major spoiler for me.  But, I was happy for the kid.  A kid was being a kid, like how kids are supposed to be.

I was reminded of another kid, who was about nine when he loved asking anybody--even strangers--a prank-question that he could never ask with a straight face.  With mischief written in big, bold letters in his expressions, he often sweetly asked the person next to him, "where you born during an earthquake?"

Of course, we elders like to engage with kids.  We want to humor them.  And this is a puzzling question as well; I mean, how often do you expect a nine-year old to ask you whether you were born during an earthquake.  And, with a rare exception, we would all reply that we were not born during an earthquake, right?

Upon hearing that reply, the nine-year old's eyes danced around with glee.  With a magnitude of excitement and delight that we old folks have forgotten, the kid would blurt out, unable to control himself any longer, "then, how come you have a crack?"

And then he would laugh as if that was the first time ever he was cracking that awful joke.

We, too--yes, I am including you also, dear reader--were once kids.  We delighted with the silliest of jokes, did we not?  We laughed, sometimes to the point of our eyes tearing up.  And then something happens.  We grow up.  And, for the most part, we stop laughing.  We think it is not adult-like to engage in silly humor.  We even tend to tell those adults who enjoy themselves with such humor to "grow up."  We want them to read depressing Russian writers and understand the human condition.  We force feed Kafka to the happy ones.  Killjoys we are! ;)

A mural along the bike-path that I frequent

I know, I know, there is a place for everything.  There is a limit to everything.  But, my point is this: shouldn't there be a place for that kind of silly and simply delight even in the everyday lives of the middle-aged and older?

A few years ago, I attended the son-in-law's graduation from medical school.  Their dean advised them to always have in their proverbial back-pockets a bunch of silly jokes that we might consider to be at a third-grade level.  Appropriately used, it can work well for any age group, he said.  The joke he used as an example was this:
Q: What did a fish say when it swam into a wall of concrete?
A: Dam(n)!
Get it? ;)

You read till here?  Good.  Here is the piece that I left out about the kid on the trail who delighted in that mischief about Inside Out.  One of his legs seemed to have a natural deformity--it appeared about six inches shorter than the other leg.  It was not a case of any amputation--the leg ended in a foot and toes.  I am guessing it was a birth defect.  He was wearing a shoe that seemed connected, via a brace, to the back of leg, and his foot and toes were kind of suspended in between.  Aren't you now all the more delighted that he was a fun-filled kid who was grinning from ear to ear that he had pranked strangers?

Laugh away.  Life is short.

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