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Laughable trivia (06/27/2010)
By Janet Lewis Burns
What did the caveman do to deserve such disrespect? He’s no longer here to defend himself. I mean, “So easy even a caveman can do it?” How low will advertising go? Personally, I love that little Geico guy! Cackling grackles laughing at the unfortunate fella who bangs into the patio door because the glass is so clean seems a bit too insensitive.

Everybody enjoys a good joke – as long as it’s not at someone else’s expense. Laughter is a delectable spice of life. We’ve heard them all – the senior citizen’s clichés, senior moments. They are funny until reality and familiarity set in. A young adult doesn’t think that these wisecracks will ever apply to him or her. Time will tell!

When I used to hear those of the well-seasoned generation complain about their health, I figured they were merely exercising the privilege that comes with their ripe and whimsical age, to whine and get away with it. The key here is “lighten up!”

Venting with our own kind regularly is actually good medicine. We can freely share bathroom habits, bedroom frustrations, dietary dilemmas, medication nightmares, and our kindred woes of aches, pains, and potty runs. Inconveniences and pitfalls of aging go so much smoother when we learn to laugh at ourselves.

Remember what our mothers used to say: “They just tease you because they like you.” Yah, right! A certain amount of joking around and pulling pranks cross the line from amusing to offensive, hurtful, and in bad taste. Good-natured jokes and remarks are usually thrown out in the spirit of clean fun. Belly laughs, guffaws, snickers, raised eyebrows, and infamous gut-busting hilarity are often just what the doctor ordered!

I miss the comedians of yesteryear! They could keep audiences in stitches and not utter any offensive, four-letter expletives- ever! Today’s television programs must have been selected for audiences from outer space! What remote control scanners are laughing at nowadays doesn’t strike me as amusing, people getting seriously injured and stunts that go terribly awry. Oops! And there’s that four-letter word again!

You get a clue that you’ve graduated to the early cane and crutch crowd at restaurants when your built-in remote is always on “charging,” and the snap, crackle, and pop at breakfast isn’t in the bowl. On a bad day, you might demand respect by complaining to the grocery store manager to offer products that are more senior-friendly, such as large letters in alphabet soup.

You misspeak and then pretend that you were just kidding around, like ordering a cheeseburger – hold the cheese. You make a joke when you lose your balance and fall on your rear, by acting cocky and proclaiming, “That’s gonna leave a mark!” Boy, you know it!

A plaque hanging on the wall at our camper up north reads, “I don’t suffer from mental illness. I’m enjoying every minute if it!” For a very long time there’s been a big, pink pin down at my computer center that labels me “Potential Bag Lady.” It lies on a shelf against a thick and lofty black book entitled “The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry.” The pin was given to me by a very good friend, and she knew me well...at that time. Life is a whirlwind of change.

I sometimes scrape the bottom of the barrel in search of that classic idea, the precise word, and an enlightening quote that I haven’t used or written yet. Though I very likely could have forgotten. That happens. The CDs I usually choose to play while I write could be categorized as “Moonin’ Music” – Bob Dylan, Rod Stewart, John Prine, Paul Simon, Willie, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore, to name a few.

I once read these words of wisdom: “The last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances; to choose one’s own way.”

Variety is also a fanciful spice of life. To act one’s age is far too confining! Be who you are.

Janet Burns advocates laughter daily. She can be reached at patandjanburns@embarqmail.com.

 

 

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