Laughing is good for the soul. Laughter is the best medicine. Laughter brings people together. Laughter makes the world go ‘round (or is it money that makes it turn?) Anyway, we laugh at people, things, situations, and plain old jokes. We laugh with people and at people. Laughter comes in many forms, and most of them are joyful. But when is laughter not a good thing? Laughing at yourself: that’s no bueno. It’s not so much laughing at yourself, either. What’s embarrassing is when you are the only one laughing . . . at you.
Have you ever been in that situation? It is extremely awkward. Something is obviously funny, or else you wouldn’t be audibly amused, but something is equally and obviously not funny, because no one’s in your boat. As a matter of fact, your boat is sinking and no one will toss you a preserver. Here’s a scenario:
A group of college friends are sitting in a bar (cliché, isn’t it?), discussing the recent death of one of their elder professors, recalling days past. The moment is cheerful with memories.
Thinking he would be funny, one guy finally says, “I sure am going to miss that grumpy old fart, Mr. Rumblebottom.”
He starts chuckling at his own joke, but it was tasteless and amusing to no one else. Soon, the crickets start chirping. He’s all alone…
How does he get out?
Talk about the weather? . . . weird
Talk about camping? . . . random
Talk about the Mr. Rumblebottom’s widow? . . . creepy
Talk about politics? . . . death wish (depending on your views)
Fade into a pathetic sob, exposing his delicate feelings? . . . not if he wants to keep his man card.
You see? Not so funny when you’re the only one laughing at your joke. Well, don’t forget, laughter is the best medicine. His best move now, with that sick feeling in his stomach? The poor shmuck should simply follow-up with another cheery memory, distracting his friends from his indecency.
So now what? Well, have you ever heard the saying, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all?” Well, here’s a corollary to that statement you could also live your life by (especially at parties and other settings where people currently respect you): “If you don’t have anything smart to say, don’t say anything at all.”