The Need to Keep a Sense-Of-Humor…
INTRO: This is going to be an odd piece from me, all about that while sh** it so serious these days – we need to still maintain a sense-of-humor… By way of my sharing my Terror Strikes: Coming Soon to a City Near You book’s “Comic Relief” chapter. Yes, that’s right, even in my book about Terrorism, I take the time for a “Comic Relief” (9th) chapter to make such a point. As well as many other important sub-theme messages there-in. Like I say, despite the title and main-theme: it is NOT about Death, but of Life and Living!!
THE DISTANCE BETWEEN A LAUGH AND A GOOD CRY, IS NOT A GREAT EXPANSE.
By: Joseph M. Lenard
Marten wondered just how much comic relief would be the right balance to contain within his book as people needed some humor in their lives regardless of how serious all the things going on around them were. Would any humor be appropriate at all? What else might be right or wrong for inclusion?
Terse language proved to be a useful tool in weeding out some of the intolerant. Cursing tended to bring out the intolerance of the supposed religious types who claim to be most loving and by extension claim to be tolerant; Judging biblically as we are called to do but not condemning – when properly applying Matthew 7 “judge not lest ye be judged” does not end there but goes on to read: “for with what judgement you judge, you will be judged,” as well as the other dozen or more “Judge” scriptures that adding additional clarification and context. We are called to judge biblically, and with compassion, and by same standards; not be a hypocrite – and to Vote biblically.
Mind you, using Christ’s name in vain is far different than just using some four-letter words that over time had become defined as profane but are far from an affront to God that Christian biblical tenets refer. Many who have no problem with four-letter words that cause no physical harm often approve of truly hate-filled commentaries meant to wound. It’s strange how those who tolerate loose verbal jabs tend to be the ones who hold in disdain those who’s thoughts and actions betray bigotry and hate. In contrast the supposed enlightened thinking of a clean talking, deemed as “higher class,” individuals who wouldn’t think of using a “foul” word, based on their narrow-minded definitions, are the ones who allow themselves to be immediately defensive and incapable of conducting an argument because they become so hung up and flustered over so-called objectionable terms.
Marten certainly used foul language from time to time, albeit rarely and usually when stubbing his toe. The verbal ranting and curse words seemed to help distract from the pain signals. Maybe it didn’t really help, but it certainly didn’t hurt anything. He tried to avoid what he discerned as a complete breakdown in the English language and turn to course words merely to shock. Certainly, he knew a few kids back in his school days whose every other word was a curse. They clearly sought attention, but it had the opposite effect. They often were the most isolated and missed out on many potential friendships.
Course utterances, in Marten’s mind, at times, were just another way to emphasize certain things. He wondered what the prudes shouted out when stubbing their toe in the privacy of their own home. The language of many modern musical groups, and individuals, is a source of division between the youthful audience and their elders who tried to maintain what they viewed as a sense of decency. Sex sells, as the saying goes, but so too can foul language when it comes to both comedy and music. The “Explicit Lyrics” label on many musical releases attract a rebellious youth.
Today, foul language, in Marten’s mind, is just a minor concern among the many troubles of modern-day society, a very low priority on the list of things to be upset about. Yet so many people still get so enraged over loose language that does no real physical harm and turn a blind eye to much more egregious offenses so prevalent in modern day life. Marten knew as long as people would allow themselves to get bent out of shape over slang terms and crude talk, there would always be another group of people willing to use that fact as a tool of dissention, pitting youth against elders and classes against each other – a complete warped sense of priorities of minor annoyances versus things that actually matter to peoples’ lives and livelihoods.
More important, Marten had come to incorporate into his life another widely accepted psychological phenomena: the use of humor as a tool to regulate pain and manage depression, perceived or real negative events in one’s life, and the like. “Funny,” rather than “foul.” Science had indeed proven true the adage that laughter is one of the best medicines. Feeling good, being happy is closely coupled with the brain’s chemical composition. Happiness is a self-perpetuating notion. Laughter releases certain chemical reactions that allow us to feel good. Induced laughter through joking releases these chemicals.
American comedian physician Hunter “Patch” Adams discovered that laughter helped the sick heal faster. Whether it be solely the chemical releases or temporarily distracting oneself from the illness or both was hardly relevant, it just was clear that laughter worked. A scientific study could never really fully quantify the theorem, but it is now widely accepted as true. It is not a case of Schrödinger Cat (the hypothetical cat that may be considered both alive and dead at the same time as a result of its fate being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur). You cannot treat the same patient just with medicine and just with humor at the same time. You cannot clone a patient, at least not yet, to conduct such a true legitimate comparison on the same subject under both conditions.
Laughter, conversely, could just as easily hide uncontrollable suffering from others. Thus was the case of a friend from Marten’s high school years. While attending Cass Tech in Detroit, a fellow classmate and friend had hung himself in his home. He had been the class clown, and everyone had missed the intolerable pain and misery he had been experiencing.
It was from this life lesson that Marten learned that it was equally important to be able to cry. While laughter performs its function in the healing of pains of the human condition, the ability to relieve some stresses can only be overcome through tears. The tear ducts allow for the release of far more than just salty water droplets.
The comedian Robin Williams once said: “I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy. Because they know what it feels like to feel absolutely worthless, and they don’t want anyone else to feel like that.” They use humor to make others feel good and at the same time help the depressed clown feel a bit better too, if only for a moment.
Statistics show that almost once an hour every day a veteran commits suicide. Far more than veterans, of course, suffer suicidal thoughts though. Depression and suicide know no politics, and it may be far closer to home than anyone may want to believe for one’s own personal positive mental state.
Marten wrote on that too. He remembered in December 2018 a local Detroit meteorologist took her own life following a battle with pain and depression of complications after Lasik-eye surgery. He jumped back to the Internet browser and printed out his article on that. Some aspects of that article might benefit the survivors of terrorist attacks who were feeling the pain, anguish, and guilt from having lived.
He gathered the printout from the printer and again with yellow highlighter in hand set to begin another mark-up session. He began analyzing the piece:
Depression and Suicide KNOW NO POLITICS and it may be far Closer to Home than you Think/Know (Originally published June 2018, updated Dec 2018 following the suicide of local celeb, Fox 2 News Detroit Meteorologist Jessica Starr. Transferred to Before It’s News in 2019).
Wow! Two high profile suicides (Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain) in just a couple days’ time, but 22 veterans commit suicide daily (google: “Project 22”).
My thoughts and prayers go out to their families. Obviously, each person dealing with anxiety and/or depression and those with suicidal thoughts will obviously be different, especially our veterans who are suffering from PTSD. What may seem minor events to you are major catastrophes in their mind and may lead to such a dark place that suicide is the only option. IT IS NOT!
Someone I know told of a failed suicide attempt: “It was almost surreal, like I wasn’t even in control of myself as I took one pill (the regular nightly dose) and then, just took another, then several, then a handful. I have no idea how much time passed before I awoke in the hospital. And, still, 12 years on, I struggle daily with those thoughts.” He tries to now use his pain for good, to share with others, let them know they are not alone and that they should reach out for help.
This is something that can afflict male or female, young or old, rich or poor. I hope that Spade and Bourdain rest in peace and their families can find peace in some way going forward. Hope you will join me in sending them your thoughts and prayers, and, if you don’t mind, please include my friend that they all can find God’s comfort and strength. I’d appreciate it.
Now would be a good time to reach out to all your family and friends and remind them how much you love them and how much you appreciate them being around! You are not likely to know that someone in your circle is feeling this way. Again, let me share a quote from my friend: “I can’t speak statistically but only from my own circumstances/ feelings. Those who are depressed are likely to also feel that they cannot reach out to you as though you will not understand or may be dismissive or think less of them. They MAY reach out to a stranger/ professional, which is why it is important for Suicide Prevention Hotline to advertise on TV and radio.”
It is important to note and understand that even the most outgoing person may have these thoughts. Some are very good at hiding it most of the time. Look at how many comedians have committed suicide.
Marten paused, thought for a moment, and then grabbed his pen. He scribbled in the margin: add Robin Williams to that list since the original writing of this article, and the self-destructive lifestyle, as evidenced by so many other comedians that passed at a young age, of the others who attempt to shorten their lives without actually going through with direct suicide. He picked the highlighter back up and … read on:
Often people use humor to either deflect from their pain or in a desperate attempt to make themselves feel happy by making others laugh, at least to stave off some of the dark thoughts for some time. Again, this was something my friend has conveyed: “I know first-hand as I use humor as a coping mechanism and the times, I can make others laugh I can be Happy in that moment.”
My friend also confided: “I do not know if sharing this will do any good, but something deep inside me felt it important to do so in the hopes that it could/ may potentially help even one person! I was, still am, ashamed and therefore uncertain about talking to people about it, but I feel it important. If there is even the chance I can help even one other person, then it is the right thing to do.” Which is then why I share this with you!
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
What you must recognize or need to impart on someone else that may be feeling suicidal – EVERY LIFE HAS VALUE. If it is YOU having suicidal thoughts, or you know someone having them, share all this with them. Don’t let them DISMISS YOU, as they are likely to do, with the EXCUSE that you can’t know what it is like and what they are going through. Don’t let them believe the LIES and DARK THOUGHTS that nobody cares and nobody loves them. It is not true.
NOTE: Skipping ahead in the chapter, further down the blog read…
Again, every life has meaning and value, and the influence and impact each person has may not be easily recognized or easily measured. They are important and have cumulative effects – DRAMATIC NONE-THE-
LESS AND FACTUAL! Do NOT let the negative thoughts ROB YOU OF THAT UNDERSTANDING and the positive impacts you cumulatively have on society! I don’t wish to over-dramatize, but at the same time DO NOT UNDERPLAY the impact that small thoughts shared with others may play. That is simple words shared with another and then another may lead to a dramatic impact for someone else, that might SAVE PEOPLES LIVES (without going into any speculative conjecture on what they may do/accomplish in Life – that you indirectly played an important role/part in – that would NOT occur without you/them)!
It does not matter if the PAIN is physical, emotional, or both, you must try to be as understanding as possible and offer whatever help you can even if it is to ADMIT you may not heal them, but that you will be a sympathetic ear anytime they wish to have a chat and more importantly that you’ll be willing to try and help them find others to aid in the healing they need.
It is one thing to lose someone at a young age to a slowly consuming disease. We can fight that, though we may ultimately lose that battle, but at least we may buy some time (even if brief moments) to help deal with that inevitableness. However, the sudden loss of someone without warning is something you likely are NEVER be able to process and get over. Constantly having to LIVE with the questions: Why didn’t we notice? Is there anything we could have or should have done? YOU are NOT doing those around you a favor – just like those demons in your Head may be trying to convince you!
Back to Veterans again, reach out: 24/7 VA line 855-948-2311
Marten swapped writing instruments again and began comparing his previous notes with what he just read. He made more notes onto the backs of the pages.
Pressures that build up within the fragile human psyche can only be glossed over by humor to a certain degree. Trying to hide from one’s feelings can exacerbate a host of already existing physical ailments and can result in a host of stress related disorders of its own. Eventually the lamenting must be dealt with on its own terms, and true healing can only occur when the hurting is alleviated through the shedding of tears and the release of other therapeutic chemicals of the neurological system.
Shock, denial, anger, and in time, eventual acceptance, is defined as the traditional stages in the path of recovery following the death of a loved one. However, these phases are the natural order for more than the loss of life; they hold true, to a lesser degree, in the loss of material possessions as well or the dissolution of a relationship (especially a marriage even when the relationship is not one’s own but the separation of parents. That wreaks havoc on anyone’s sensibilities). Also, people go through shock, denial, anger, and eventual acceptance when experiencing massive destruction (a fire, flood, or other disaster) or when victims of crime or so many other trials in life that people just do not expect. These sudden events for which people are unprepared are hard to process and put within context of life, living, and dying; the natural order of everyday life; especially the stressors and tension of modern-living.
NOTE: Skipping ahead in the chapter…
The distance between a laugh and a good cry, is not a great expanse. Have you ever laughed so hard you began to cry? Conversely, tears can lead to giddiness. It can become present when acceptance is achieved, and we finally adapt. The merriment can often only come if we realize how overly self-important we allowed ourselves to be fooled into.
Humor, for Marten, became a double-edged sword. Indeed, he used it as a deflection at times he feels down. If we don’t laugh, we’d be crying as the saying goes. Sometimes we just react; other times we choose how we respond to any given situation.
Marten recalled a visit to his favorite local pizza place near his home, to pick up a pizza on the way home for that night’s dinner; giving the family’s traditional cook, Hope, a night off. Three young ladies wandered in, two of the three had wild-colored hair and the third was a traditional seemingly natural brunette. Marten’s lame sense-of-humor, and desire to never let a “bad-pun” opportunity to pass, immediately took over him. Marten strolled over to their table, and hoping they had good sense of humor; or can appreciate a dose of levity with all the seriousness going on around us all; proceeded to tease them. He complimented the two with the bright red locs and then turned to the third and proclaimed, “you must be the boring one!” Thankfully, they chuckled. He let them know he was very happy that they took his comments in the spirit they were intended, all in good fun. His name was called, and as he left, he imparted them with one last thought: “remember, things could always be better, but they could often be worse!”
He smiled the entire way home. He felt he had indeed made these young ladies’ day a bit brighter; without a clue whether they needed the uplifting or not.
NOTE: Again skipping ahead in the chapter, this time to the end…
So, yes, humor is important. Faithful words of encouragement too. His book would be a multiple-front mission. He was called to write this book and would give glory to God in it. He would be a Christian messenger but not an overbearing one so-as to not have someone tune-out from the message having been too aggressive.
… Next up is “Madrid Spain” chapter, part of the historical aspects of my “Historical Fiction” (as I call it: FACTion) book.
And, yes, to also continue the point about needing to keep a sense-of-humor there are a couple of other #JoeOriginal Jokes (as I call them) in another chapter. Hope you’ll consider buying a copy for yourself or for those last-minute gifts you need for others following Christmas.
VIDEO (4m 50s): The politics of Comedy these days (as told by the folks at The Babylon Bee) …
The “Comic Relief” chapter was potentially targeted for elimination and just some of its points relocated to other chapters. However, it did not land up being cut or trimmed, it appears in full in the final publication, including tribute to Jessica Star, Robin Williams, and others (RIP).
Also, in the serious end to the chapter, we are called to act, not to just speak out: For #USA #Christian faithful – 2Chronicles7:14 more important than ever in/for #Election2020
Want even more sneak-peek? Check out the Terror Strikes site Quotes page.
About the Author: Joseph M. Lenard was a former writer for Super Simple Computer Enterprises, REDSTATE, Grassfire, and Rattle With Us – MI TEAParty (where he was Writing Committee Chair) and others. Joseph is a current content provider at Before It’s News and The Liberty Beacon. He is also the Author of: “Terror Strikes: Coming Soon to a City Near You”!
Joseph Martin Lenard (@JLenardDetroit)
author: Terror Strikes (buy)
12CDRC, Wayne12, Committees member
W12 Newsletter Editor Wayne-12CDRC Newsletter
MICD12GOP MI 12th CDRC Webmaster
Taylor (MI) Republicans Club TRC Michigan Webmaster
Terror Strikes book (B4IN write-up)
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