What do you want to be remembered for? What words do you want on your gravestone?
For me, it is "Anne had a great sense of humour."
Because it is that sense of humour that has got me through some tough times. It is that sense of humour that has made me lighten up and not take myself so seriously. It is that sense of humour that has made other people laugh, and you can't get much better than that.
Maybe in another life I will come back as a comedienne because I love when people laugh with me at some story I have told, or a quick one-liner that just comes out of my mouth before I know it.
My daughter made my day when on Mother's Day she said in her card that I was funny. Now I didn't pursue her definition of funny -- such as "funny ha-ha vs. funny stupid." And I know my other daughter is always telling me "I am cute." Now again, this is subject to interpretation, but I always go for the positive and assume they mean it in a loving way.
I think it is good that the girls see that trait in me and I hope they emanate me because humour takes you a long way in life. When I was going through cancer, I actually used to take Lynn Johnston cartoon books with me as I waited for my chemo treatments. Sometimes I even laughed out loud which was perhaps incongruous to the setting.
That was a time when I cultivated my dark humour and I know I sometimes shocked people with what I joked about or said, but you know what, very little is sacred and poking fun at something serious like cancer or death, lightened the load. Those topics were no longer the 'elephant in the room.'
When it doesn't work is when it is at someone else's expense, especially if they are sensitive or the comments aren't really funny, more cruel. I prefer to poke fun at myself and my foibles or funny stories of when I've goofed or something has happened that really all you can do is laugh.
Creating a visual picture to go with the story goes a long way. Like the renovation story I tell about how I was sitting on the john when a large snake slithered out of our bare bone walls. That one always conjures up a shudder and a laugh.
Stuart McLean is a master at this in his radio shows The Vinyl Café. Often I am in the car as I listen to him, and I am laughing out loud as he weaves his magic with stories of Morley et al.
Norm Cousins is known as the man who laughed his way back to health, and he survived 26 years beyond the prognosis he was given. He did three things when he was told to get his affairs in order. He checked out of the hospital, dosed himself with vitamin C and watched hours on hours of funny movies. Research has since shown that laughter is good for you.
So my advice? Find your funny bone. Trust me, you'll be glad you did.
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