Sunday, March 18, 2007

Curious about Humor: Do You Use It? How? Do You Agree with Its Importance?

A sense of humor... is needed armor. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.” - Hugh Sidey, American journalist

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It's jolted by every pebble on the road.” - Henry Ward Beecher, American clergyman

Recently, one of the subscribers to my bi-weekly e-newsletter, Portfolio Potpourri (an eclectic publication that revolves around a theme), suggested that I use the theme of “Humor” in an upcoming issue.

Therefore, being curious, I decided to start with this blog. It gives me the incentive to look up quotations by the experts and also starts me thinking about it.

Even though I don’t consider myself to be a comedian, I do use humor in my stories, my careers and my life. Just as Bill Cosby said, “You can turn painful situations around through laughter. If you can find humor in anything, even poverty, you can survive it.”

As many of you know, last year I experienced a freak fall and fractured my hip. Not really a laughing matter, but I found that when I told the story of how it happened in a humorous way, the doctors and everyone else loved it and asked me to tell it often.

Also, I find that, as a presenter, when I succeed at getting listeners to laugh - usually a story about something humorous that happened to me - I establish almost instant rapport with them. This also happens in my group fitness classes. When I get the group laughing, they tend to work harder and enjoy the workout more.

Here are some of the general quotations I found about humor:
  • This I conceive to be the chemical function of humor: to change the character of our thought.” - Lin Yutang, Chinese author
  • Humor is merely tragedy standing on its head with its pants torn.” - Irvin S. Cobb, American journalist
  • Humor is mankind's greatest blessing.” - Mark Twain, American author
  • Humor is perhaps a sense of intellectual perspective: an awareness that some things are really important, others not; and that the two kinds are most oddly jumbled in everyday affairs.” - Christopher Morley, American author
  • Humor is the affectionate communication of insight.” - Leo Rosten, American novelist

Then, there are some other twists, definitions and admonitions:

  • Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.” - E. B. White, American comedian
  • A taste for irony has kept more hearts from breaking than a sense of humor, for it takes irony to appreciate the joke which is on oneself.” - Jessamyn West, American author
  • Common sense and a sense of humor are the same thing, moving at different speeds. A sense of humor is just common sense, dancing.” - William James, American philosopher
  • There is no defense against adverse fortune which is so effectual as an habitual sense of humor.” - Thomas W. Higginson, American clergyman
  • The satirist shoots to kill while the humorist brings his prey back alive and eventually releases him again for another chance.” - Peter De Vries, American novelist
  • Humor is something that thrives between man's aspirations and his limitations. There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth.” - Victor Borge, American musician

So, do you use humor? Can you laugh at yourself? Do you let yourself go with huge belly laughs. Try it - it is fun!

Here are a couple of thoughts for this coming week:

If you could choose one characteristic that would get you through life, choose a sense of humor.” - Jennifer Jones, American actress

Humor is the instinct for taking pain playfully.” - Max Eastman, American author

I would love to hear from you!