This I Believe

Ellen - Manchester, New Hampshire
Entered on April 16, 2008
Age Group: Under 18

I go through my life privately appreciating the quiet hilarity found in the real-life eccentric characters and situations that surround me every day. My life often holds a subtle humor, and consequently I am on constant alert to any new opportunity to witness a funny scene, however unexpected or inappropriate its presence may be.

I take personal pleasure in observing an undiscovered quirk in my friends, family, and strangers alike. I cannot help but to secretly smile whenever my mother has any great point to get across to me, though it may be completely serious in its nature, as she always seems to inadvertently take the stance of Peter Pan with one foot slightly behind the other, arms straight, though straying from her body, while her hands are bent back at the wrists as if she is ready to take flight at any moment for Neverland.

However, I have not always had the aptitude for appreciating life’s curious and quietly hilarious moments as I do now, but this recently acquired skill must be partially attributed to the influence dark comedies have had upon my life’s lighthearted outlook.

I believe in black comedies because they are movies that depict a dark humor that I can apply to my own life and revel in its discovery, a humor connected to eccentric characters and raw emotions, a humor that does not seem entirely appropriate in its presence, and more often a humor that is easily ignored or simply goes unnoticed. Furthermore, black comedies hold a certain element of truth, in that their humor is often quiet but tied to realistic and serious situations.

For example, the movie Garden State’s subtle and dark humor can be seen in what I think is a very memorable scene at Zach Braff’s deceased mother’s funeral. Though the very setting of the scene seems totally inappropriate for any hint of comedy, a quiet humor is expressed in a horribly sung rendition of Lionel Richie’s “Three Times a Lady” by an emotional woman with a very noticeable New Jersey accent. I find it is in the apparent seriousness of this scene that makes it all the more entertaining. An unassuming woman honestly singing Lionel Richie at a funeral is completely hilarious in its realistic ridiculousness. Moreover, this short scene and others like it have consequently influenced me to enjoy my own life’s funny details.

Whether it may be taking note of a small freshman speed-walking to his next class with a determined look upon his face, or quietly wondering during Mass where the man sitting next to me managed to purchase his leather leisure suit, or finally whether it is quietly or openly laughing at the words and phrases my coach uses in his earnest attempts to pump up his team such as “Go wipe the floor with their sweat,” I cannot help but acknowledge that life in its ordinary and serious situations can be simply funny.