My father was an artist and didn’t realize he was funny. He had the ironic type of humor that let him laugh at life and even at death.
I think I’ve shared the story of his battle with cancer… My friend Mary had paid him a visit and knocked on the door. He asked “Who is it?” Mary isn’t to be denied her own sense of humor and said, “It’s Dr. Kvorkian.” My father answered, “What the hell took you so long!?”
Of all the gifts my father gave me, and there were many, the ability to find humor in the moment is the best and most enduring. As a practicing psychologist (where humor was at a premium) and in the classrooms of life, injecting irony and a sharing of how ridiculous some moments are has been salvation.
When I was in third grade, my classmate Joel Baskin and I were in trouble for laughing at the words to a song as we were singing. I remember it vividly… “Nymphs and Mermaids gather flowers, underneath the sea…” Really? Say the word nymph. Better yet, look in the mirror as you say it. Then picture twenty-five third graders singing it.
Joel and I were banished to the hallway to “compose ourselves” only to return and continue cutting up. We couldn’t help it. I think Joel became a social worker. No surprise.
The danger of living a long life is becoming too serious. No doubt, a long life means lots of loss and “patina,” as I’ve previously shared. All of it in the rear view mirror, all of it taxing but not without the moments of light-hearted delight that give dimension and lift us up.
Maybe you smiled or chuckled as you read this… I hope so.