We've all known people who have little time or desire to laugh, tell a joke, enjoy a good 'slip on the banana peel' or ever be light-hearted. It's a tough world for a somber person. Have you seen the video Barack Obama just put on line? It's here... and it is absolutely non political, I promise. He makes fun of no one but himself and worth every second, even if you voted for Trump... or especially if you voted for Trump.
A test to see if you have a sense of humor is easy. Tell me which is more likely to have a sense of humor, Person A or Person B?
If you chose Person B, you lose on a technicality. That is Shakespeare's fictional character, Falstaff, painted by Eduard Von Grutzner. Person A is Bob Hope on a bad day.
So, where has all the humor gone? When we lost Robin Williams, we lost perhaps the richest example of what a sense of humor can do for all who have a chance to observe and laugh. His death had me searching for the funny side of life... the place where Williams most liked to live. If you click on the link, it will take you to my 2015 post of what funny can look like. Here's a tease:
Robin Williams tells this story: Bono was performing a benefit in Scotland before a crowded house. He started slowly clapping his hands and told his audience, "Every time I clap my hands, an elephant dies in Africa!" A man in the back row stood up and hollered, "THEN FOR GOD'S SAKE MAN, STOP CLAPPING YOUR HANDS!"
In my publishing life, I worked with many very rich and focused people. (Note: I was not one of them.) Some were a pleasure to be with, some though were real pains in the collective ass. Those were the most obvious humorless examples as a group that I can think of. They were the ones who took making more money so seriously that they forgot (or never learned) how to do anything else, let alone find time to laugh. Being humorless though, is far from exclusive to the wealthy, though they are the ones who can try to buy happiness. (Secret tip: it doesn't work.)
A sense of humor is not manifested in a joke. It is a way of looking at the world with a richer eye for human nature's joys and foibles. Sadly though, some just don't seem to have time.
Flashback: Obama to his audience at a press corp roast, "My mother was born in Kansas, my father was born in Kenya, and I was born, of course, in Hawaii," he said — with a wink.
Live life to your principles... WITH GUSTO! What that does for the soul... that is something that amazes me most.
Elsie had it right: (with thanks to Fred Ebb and John Kander who created the song and Lisa Minelli who made it come alive in Cabaret.)