“I never know when you’re serious!” “You’re always joking around!” “Why don’t you just say what you mean!!?”
I get this a lot. First of all, I’m always serious. Especially when I’m joking. As far as hiding the feelings thing, well, those are always on my shirtsleeve. Right there. Plain sight. Sometimes they drip into my coffee. I just make more.
The trouble is, the feelings are not always what people want to see, so they usually get dismissed. Rather than make a case of it, I make a joke. There is something about making a joke, creating a different way of looking at a situation that is troubling, that gives me a lot of comfort. I reserve my tears for “It’s a Wonderful Life” and movies that celebrate the possibilities of living, which amuses people to no end, or for those moments alone following a funeral where I can have a personal meditation on the extra chill created in an often chilly world.
Then I claw my way to happy. Sometimes I overreach my grasp, and happiness becomes joy. And I tear up again.
I laugh inappropriately. I find that when the world threatens to roll over you, if you hop just a bit, it will roll under you. And it tickles. So I laugh.
I love to hear others laugh. There’s a certain exaltation in a room filled with laughter, akin to a choir belting out a chorus by Handel. I think Dante was looking in the wrong direction when he wrote his Divine Comedy. It’s not above, or below, it’s within.
If I joke with you, it’s because, frankly, I give a damn. If I don’t give a damn, well, I can be as serious and functional as a stapler. If I joke with you, it’s because I want to fuss. I can’t build you a chair, I can’t repair your carburetor, I can only do a moderate job of mowing your lawn. But I will try to have you laugh.
It’s for you own good, dammit.
21 May 2008