I’ve been told one ubiquitous trait I have is my sense of humor. Humor and laughter is something that helped me make friends, diffuse uncomfortable situations, and just makes me happy. I love telling jokes, especially Jewish humor. Here goes (apologies to those who already heard this from me):
“A very old couple live in a two story house. One evening, the wife calls down to her husband from the second floor bedroom: ‘Morty, come upstairs and make love to me.’ Morty, being down on the first floor responds, ‘I can’t do both!’
They say laughter can cure disease. Well, I didn’t get that far, but it sure helps get me through this. I heard more than once that some folks with chronic illnesses are depressed or seek pity. To me, that is a waste of valuable time and makes it all the more intolerable, not just for the afflicted , but to those trying to help. But then again, it’s how I looked at my life generally. Keeping a sense of humor kept friends close and made rough patches more navigable. Maybe to some I came off unintelligent or lacked seriousness, and at this point in my life as an “alta khacker” (meaning an old guy but translated from the Yiddish as an “old shitter”), I say also in Yiddish “Gaye khocken offen yaam”. (It means go poop in the ocean!).
Ok, ok I’ll get serious. Seriously? Nah, let’s keep going. Humor is about storytelling. Like the time I bought weed from an old dealer who wore a Mumu, was tethered to an oxygen tank and had a brochure of different types of weed, including buy two and get the third at a discount. I felt like I walked out of a scene from Frank Zappa’s 200 Motels. Or the time in college when I worked for a dairy store in Brooklyn (we call them bodega now). One Sunday I worked the register and in front of me was a long line of older Jewish and Italian residents. One women asked me to check her dozen eggs. So jokingly I took a marker and lifted each egg out of the carton , inspected each egg and drew a check mark on each one. Oy vey, was she mad! There were some on the line that appreciated the gesture.
In my imagination, I hoped the Marx Brothers should have written the sixth book of Moses. “Life is a joke, the rest is commentary.” Life is a bowl of cherries, Life is like chocolate, Life is like a shark… I like cherries and I like chocolate. Sharks? Fun to look at from the other side of the fish tank. How that relates to life, I’ll leave it to your interpretation. In that case, what if life was like a garbage truck, or a bowl of ramen, or llamas in pajamas? Well, the garbage truck analogy could mean that when you need to get rid of something, don’t always count on someone who will pick up your trash. The bowl of ramen? Maybe that’s about comfort food can ease any pain. The llamas in pajamas one? Hell if I know – I totally made that one up. What’s your interpretation?
Humor still is a part of me. If anything, I look at even my most macabre thoughts of my physical challenges with some lightness. These days, I call myself a stand in for a boneless chicken, or just a bag of spuds. Then again, this chicken can still drink cocktails like nobody’s business.
And now one more from the joke bag:
“An old man whose last days are upon him lays in bed in his home. He smells his wife cooking his favorite kugel dish. His grandson comes to visit. The old man asks his grandson, ‘Daniel, what I would love more than anything right now is a piece of your grandmother’s kugel.’ The grandson obliges and goes to the kitchen to retrieve a piece for the old man. After 10 minutes, the grandson returns empty handed. The old man is surprised and wonders what happened. His grandson replies, ‘I asked grandma for a piece but she said she is saving it all for the funeral.’
Humor is getting me through this most trying of times as it has before. Getting older also helps me take things a little more lightly and less seriously. I’m finding that prioritizing having fun and enjoying life more is the gift that keeps on giving each day I wake up. Oh, and a cocktail really helps too. So lighten up, take the time to enjoy something each day, and don’t forget to laugh. There is a saying, “Man plans and God laughs.” Even s/he has a sense of humor. More to come…