This I Believe

Kathryn - Syracuse, New York
Entered on September 6, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I believe, in humor. More specifically, I believe in the positive power of humor.

In the words of Sean O’Casey, “Laughter is the hilarious declaration made by man that life is worth living.”

The world we live in is far from perfect. Lamenting about the state of the world has become as routine as toasting bread. The brimming optimism which was seen by the “greatest generation,” in the 1940’s and 1950’s has been replaced by an acceptance of skepticism and despondency. We volunteer, we donate, and we try to raise our children well. But, how can we combat the realities of the modern world? How can anyone remain positive as society is continually changing?

We can laugh.

And then we can laugh some more.

In fact, “laughter can enhance our respiration and circulation, oxygenate the blood and suppress the stress-related hormones in our brains.”

Thus validating the the old proverb. “Laughter is the best medicine.”

However humor has a far more significant effect on our lives than just coping with stress. I believe humor is an essential component of our wiring as humans. Humor breaks the barriers of monotony and the ever present influence to be politically correct. Humor can quell an awkward moment and bring together would be rivals. Embracing humor makes a person embrace positivism. Humor can become a stepping stone for welcoming a new great generation, a generation poised to address the fissures of the present and become a binding force for the future.

Humor is quintessentially an American quality. From Looney Toones to Saturday Night Live, from Seinfeld to The Three Stooges, humor permeates every corner of our society. Ours has always been a culture that could laugh at itself, even when the going got tough. Since America’s earliest days as a country we’ve been able to view the world and ourselves with non- judgmental eyes while keeping our attention on the goal at hand. Accordingly, the founding father who wrote: “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in the world nothing can be said to be certain except death and taxes,” was the same man who wrote: “Beer is living proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy,” said by Benjamin Franklin.

To Conclude, I believe that humor is the common thread that bonds us all. Even in the worst of times, we still insist on laughing. I believe this is because we must insist on being human. If we all took life seriously, none of us would get out alive. And to end with a quote from John F. Kennedy.

“There are three things which are real:

God, human folly, and laughter.

The first two are beyond our comprehension.

So we must do what we can with the third.”