Something bad happens. You screw something up. Someone you know dies. What do you do? Some cry. Others get angry. I laugh. For as long as I can remember, life has amused me. I’ve always viewed death from the “good times” point of view. Once, when I was around five years old, I attended the funeral of my would-be-father-in-law who had died of lung cancer before the age of 40. Everyone else there was crying, thinking of all the things they’d miss out on. They were thinking about his unborn daughter in my mom’s womb and how sad her life was going to be. I was thinking about how, in the previous winter, we had staged a massive, neighborhood-wide snowball war. At times, the good memories being played in my head would make me feel so happy that I couldn’t help but laugh. Granted, laughing in the middle of a room full of depressed people might not have been the best method, and I’ve since learned to control my happiness output, but I believe that even if your surrounded by sadness or anger, if you dig deep enough, you can find something funny to bring you back from the dark.
When my Aunt died people behaved in a typical funeral manner. I, however, viewed it as a celebration of her life. One recalled memory was of her 80th-something birthday. We had just finished a wonderful dinner and for dessert we had a special type of ice cream with little white chocolate cups in it. As the tradition goes, we waited for the honorary guest to take the first bite, before stuffing our faces. Immediately after doing so, she spit it back out on her plate, exclaiming, “There’s a button in my ice cream!” (Referring to the chocolate) Remembering brought a smile to my face and momentary relief from the fact that her time with us was done.
Some people would say that this view on life is just a defense mechanism my brain made up when I was little. I think it’s awesome! I honestly think that if more people thought like this, the world could be a much happier place.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.