“Humor is just another defense of the universe.” – Mel Brooks
By Amanda Gillooly
I finally got over myself the other day. I get in some pretty weird funks, and it doesn’t take much to set me off into a downward spiral of depression and self-loathing. And while I know Yoda advises that fear and anger lead to the Dark Side, I respectfully disagree.
You can harness fear, and you can harness anger and make those emotions work for you. My fatal flaw is a horrible sense of self-pity. Sorry, Yoda, but I think that’s what leads people to the Dark Side.
Bemoaning yourself is like quicksand – the more you think of all the travesties in your life you just keep sinking deeper into a pretty useless place. Because, as Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “People grieve and bemoan themselves, but it is not half so bad with them as they say.
It wasn’t half so bad for me, either. But when I’m in a Gillooly-style funk, I pile up all the unpleasantness in my life and sweep it into one of the corners of my mind. And when they’re all piled up, things look a lot worse than they are.
For me, no number of inspirational speeches can help bring me out of my melancholy. I pout, sulk, sigh, and convince myself that a correction I had to write makes me unworthy of being a writer. That leads me to question my ability as an aunt/friend/sex goddess. If left alone for too long, I can convince myself of pretty much anything.
That is until the laughter arrives. In the midst of a grade-A funk last week I snapped out of it when I watched an octogenarian gentleman wearing a “Sopranos’-style jogging suit paired with a black leather fanny pack. Sitting there, miserable and searching for more reasons to hate myself, I looked down and saw that, as an added bonus, his bright white shoes were adorned with Velcro.
I laughed. Out loud. And I realized again that life is too damn funny to be a cranky ass all the time. For so many years, I've wondered why I’ve always been privy to these Velcro relics, and seem to always find myself in the midst of situations that none of my friends ever understand.
So thank you, Mr. Velcro Fanny Pack Man. I owe you a shoe shine, buddy. Because I think that might be life’s way of shaking me back into my senses by helping me remember that there are few things that can’t be laughed at.
And laughter seems to melt away all that funktasticness.
One of my college girlfriends, Apple, clued me in on this a few years back. When undergoing her first annual pap exam, she was told she first had to give blood. To her horror, the doctor who would be examining her was maybe one of the hottest dudes on the planet. And having never been naked, unmentionables to the wind, they asked her to sit up and walk to another room for the draw.
Already dizzy and nervous, Apple took a few steps, passed out and urinated all over the floor.
And it took Velcro to have that hit home.