Humor is all about details. Putting the right emphasis on the punch word. Arranging the words in the sentence in the correct, funny, order. Pinpointing a single idea and milking it for all the funny it’s worth.
But humor is also—and more importantly—about truth.
Truth requires us to see the big picture. Even, and maybe especially, those parts that aren’t so much fun.
This week’s Comedy Around the World goes to Maryland. On a visit to this nearby state last Fall, I learned a lot of things. This area near the Chesapeake Bay was where Dr. Mudd worked. Here’s where he healed John Wilkes Booth after he broke his leg from jumping off the balcony after shooting Lincoln at the Ford Theater. That bit of helpfulness also gave us the phrase, “Your name is mud.”
I have to admit, I didn’t pay very close attention in school. I must have missed the gist of a lot of things in Western Civ. classes. In fact, when I went to Greece a few years ago and actually saw the Parthenon I exclaimed, “Where did that come from?!”
But we’re all like that at times. Maybe you do know who built the Parthenon, but do you know:
why you continue to hold on to ineffective habits? Or—
why we delude ourselves about truths we should be seeing and dealing with?
Maybe that’s why it’s so hard to take ourselves less seriously.
–We’re serious about our secrets!
–We’re adamant that we don’t want to dig up the past!
–We’re protective of our opinions and don’t want them altered!
The Mudd house wasn’t the only surprising ‘new’ factoid I learned that trip. I also saw the former slave houses. Only one state away from me, this heinous treatment of our fellow Americans had happened. It was unbelievable to me that I hadn’t heard about this every day in school.
Sure it was disgusting. Sure it’s painful and blame-worthy. But it’s also a part of what makes us who we are on this day. And tomorrow—IF we will take it, dismantle it, deal with it, and incorporate it. Then, and only then, will it be—truly—funny.
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