At what point is life serious?
Having little patience for solemnity, I am predisposed to call upon amusement to keep me reasonably sane in the face of current events.
I was married at a young age to mirth, and she has been the saving of me, her laughter is my music, her smile my song. I’m drawn to people with light hearts and laughing eyes.
Most of my friends answer to that description, and a strain of levity is our common bond. Admittedly, at 30, I must have been the most immature person on the planet. But the nice thing about being immature at 30 is, if you’re lucky enough to make 70, you will be nearly normal.
People of humor, I have found, are better equipped to deal with adversity than more sober folks, and quicker to bounce back from tragedy than the somber. Comicality might even allow us to live healthier lives.
As an advocate of humor, I go forth in a white suit to spread the gospel of Mark Twain, a 19th century Monday through Friday preacher, who, though not reverently pious, was fervently American.
As Twain tells us, “Humor is nothing but the good natured side of the truth. But laughter, without a tinge of philosophy, is but a sneeze at humor. Genuine humor is replete with wisdom; and it must do two things to live forever. It must teach and it must preach. If it does those two things effectively, it will last forever -which is thirty years.”
The New Yorker magazine specializes in sophisticated humor. Imagine an all dog bar, where a Spaniel bartender is holding a drink on high, while asking a Doberman customer, “Scotch and toilet water?” That cartoon will make a cast iron dog laugh.
Over the years I have collected various quotes that never fail to bring a smile when I see them, and I’d like to share some with you here…
George Burns was a funny man: “Acting is about sincerity. If you can fake that you’ve got it made. Why do I go out with young women? Their stories are shorter. Too bad that all the people who know how to run the country are busy driving taxicabs and cutting hair.”
Then there was Mae West: “His mother should have thrown him away and kept the stork.”
And Satchel Paige: “I don’t know how old I am because the goat ate the bible that had my birth certificate in it. The goat lived to be twenty-seven.”
Who can forget Will Rogers? “Diplomacy is the art of saying, ‘Nice doggie,’ until you can get a rock.”
In one of his movies, W. C. Fields was asked with a rope around his neck, “Any last words?”
“Yes, I’d like to see Paris before I die…Philadelphia will do.”
This poster made me smile … LOST DOG: 3 legs, blind in one eye, missing right ear, tail broken, recently castrated — answers to the name of “Lucky.”
Ah, but we’ll leave the last word to Brendan Behan: “There has never been a shred of evidence presented to prove that life is serious.”
Learn more about McAvoy Layne at http://www.ghostoftwain.com.