Sunday, December 2, 2012

The "Jokies"

They say that every seven years all of the cells in your body are replaced with new ones.  I don't know about that but I know I'm not the same person I was fifteen years ago.  I suspect the change is more environmental than physical.  I've found that a series of unfortunate life events have made me more prone to introspection, more cautious with relationships, and I have come to realize that I have less capacity for humor.

Then something happened recently that was so subtle that it should have been unremarkable.  I began resurrecting the habit of reading the Sunday Funnies.  When my baby daughter was but a snippet she became fascinated by my chuckles as I read the Sunday comics.  Perhaps the colorful graphics also caught her attention...I don't know but one day she came to me and ask if she could join me in reading "the jokies".  I think that's a lovely phrase..coined "from the mouth of babes".

But, as life events unfolded; personal failures and disappointments, and the deaths of dear ones, I unknowingly became more somber.  Until I was forty I don't think a day went by that I didn't sing a song, either to loved ones or just to myself.  Then the singing became less and less frequent until it finally stopped altogether.  And I stopped reading "the jokies".  In a world in such dire straights I guess I came to find the funnies irrelevant, so the funny pages immediately joined the pile of sales circulars, cast out unread.

Then, a few months ago, I began to count electoral votes and became resolved to four more years with a President whom I not only do not support, but personally despise.  One Sunday morning, after reading of body counts, of political tomfoolery, of report after report of heinous crime, I came to the Sunday funnies and was drawn to them like a man thirsting for water in the middle of a desert.

Shutting out the world's horrors I found myself smiling again at Hagar The Horrible and Dennis The Menace and the sweetness of Family Circus and the seemingly perennial comic cynicism of The Wizard of Id.

Then, last week, while visiting my daughter for Thanksgiving, we were having a late night talk over family and trivialities...then, all of sudden when recounting some moment of the past, I broke out in uncontrollable laughter.  At this moment I can't remember what I was only memorable in that it was a rare moment when I let my old somber self go and revert to a younger self when joy and laughter was such an integral part of who I was.

I'm now trying to heal from political disappointment.  I'm trying my best to be more hopeful about our future.  So, as I read the Sunday paper this morning, I read of world hunger, horrific crime, the inevitable political rot that permeates our society today.  But I also paused to read "the jokies"...and I didn't laugh out loud, but those colorful little boxes did prompt an occasional smirk or smile...and for now that will have to be enough.

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