This I Believe

Mike - Jacksonville, Illinois
Entered on July 13, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

Laugh so the world can laugh with you

A frog, a chicken, and a chameleon walk into a bar…. I believe in the joke, the pun, the shaggy dog story, and funny movies, i.e. laughter.

Modern communication, which can only get better, has created a world so small that we can watch horrible devastation on the other side of the world in real time. We can see, in digitalized clarity, horrific scenes that the media of yesteryears could not completely portray. Radio does not ooze blood and black and white newsprint photograph cannot shock as easily as a digitally enhanced image can.

An earthquake in southeast Asia or even a hurricane a thousand miles away would not have been topic of conversation in the bar the chicken and the frog and the chameleon walked into because they would have never heard of it – for months… years, lifetimes. Parts of the country did not know Lincoln had been elected for several weeks. Now we know who won before the voting booths are closed. Nowadays horrors are readily available. To be fair, so are the marvels of the world. The Olympic games are a simple example. The Great Wall of China, the Rock in Australia, and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade have all come into my living room via the same media that brought me Vietnam, Iran, Katrina, and the automobile accident that took the lives of three teenagers.

It’s no wonder many Americans are gulping down sedatives by the handful, getting drunk on weekends, flocking to therapy, watching “old time” sitcoms, and overeating, like me, doe to stress. We are carrying the worries of our neighborhood and family on our shoulders like our ancestors, but also the grief of tsunami, hurricane victims, and Brad and Jen’s love life and everything else we see through the media.

I believe in laughter, the joke, the pun, anything that can take our mind off all that we see that is not so funny. I believe our leaders should be gifted, not only in leadership, but also in comedy. Our tired minds and sensibility need a bit of safe harbor, a bit of the ridiculous, a bit of tears of joy and hilarity to mingle with our tears of grief.

A chicken, a frog, and a chameleon walk into a bar. After an evening of uproarious fun, many drinks, and snacks, they decide to leave. The bill arrives. The chameleon has predictably disappeared and the chicken has flown the coop. The frog has no money and gets thrown in jail. As he sits in his cell, he notices the place is overrun with flying insects, which he begins to eat voraciously. His sentence seems to transpire quickly. When he is released, a reporter asks him if being in jail was a horrible experience. The frog smiled and said, “Times fun when you’re having flies.”