Humor in Unlikely Places

>> Thursday, May 27, 2010

Some of you know ... well ... all of you know, if you have read my bio, but some of you know because you have been reading my stuff (here and elsewhere) for a long time, that Toddler was born with medical challenges.  Some of those moments in his very early life were among the scariest I have ever lived through or ever hope to live through.  Inevitably, though, my family and I found the humor in what we had to endure. 

As you already know, if you have been paying attention, I process much of the major events in my life through humor.  For example, I advise you to not sit next to me in solemn occasions, and I explain some of that here.  I share some lovely stories about trying to avoid inappropriate bursts of the giggles in my post about my family here.

Given this history, no one who knew me was surprised when we found the levity in the dark days and nights of watching my son breathe and coughing up snot balls from his trach.  While many might find the humor "dark," we found it natural, and we called it survival.

Howie Mandel describes the "sense of humor" in the beginning of Chapter 3 of his book Here's the Deal: Don't Touch Me


The actual sense of humor is the ability to sense humor in places where it might not be obvious.  I am not talking about the ability to laugh at jokes or even tell jokes.  This sense is the ability to find the joke.  Some people can find a seed of humor in the darkest, most humiliating moments.  I know personally that these moments have made for some of the best stories and material in my act, and judging from the audience's response, I was right.

I have come to believe that humor, more so than the other senses, actually defines who we are.  I want to qualify that by saying that the lack of a sense of humor doesn't make you a worse or better person.... I just believe that a sense of humor is an identifying factor of who we really are deep inside.
I think there is a lot of truth to what Howie Mandel is saying here.  Where others may think it amazing or inappropriate to find a joke or a laugh when our children's very health and life might be at stake, I find it only natural, as without the humor to hold us together in the dark times, we will never be easy in the light times.  For me, a sense of humor is a survival trait.

I have never been more keenly aware of this observation then when I read the blog of one of my dear friends, Janis, who writes about her life with a medically fragile child in her blog Sneak Peek.  In fact, in one of her medically-related posts, she achieved the rare feat of making me actually laugh out loud.  This post is an old one, but I can't forget it, and I want to share it with you as an example of humor in unlikely, but very necessary, places.  So, without further blather from me, I give you another shout out:

Deaf Awareness & The Pointy Nurse

3 comments:

Dazee Dreamer May 27, 2010 at 1:56 PM  

I find that humor and laughter always help you get through many a dark time. It's probably good you don't have me sitting next to you at a funeral. We would be asked to leave. :)

Janis May 27, 2010 at 3:40 PM  

Some days are definitely laugh or cry at our house. Lately the nurses have been behaving so not much to laugh at there, it's too bad because they give me some of my best material. Thanks for the shout out.

Karin Kysilka May 28, 2010 at 10:14 AM  

Dazee, I'll remember that next if we ever end up at a solemn occasion together.

Janis, thank you for letting me call that post out of your archives. The day I read that, I knew we would be good friends. :)

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