Long before “The Lion King,” my nana taught me about the circle of life. She should have gotten a copyright on that speech, because “The Lion King” became a movie, then a stage play, and a movie again. It made a mint! Unfortunately, the story that life is cyclical is not something you can patent. It’s a tale as old as time (whoops, it runs in the family).
I’ve often told the story, on podcasts and in print, that I learned about the power of humor at a funeral.
By the way, Alanis Morissette, if you’re reading this, that is the true meaning of irony.
I was very young when my Aunt Eleanor died. I don’t know if it was my first funeral, but it was the first one I remember. I don’t have a T-shirt or a Christmas ornament that says, “baby’s first funeral” to commemorate the event so I’m not exactly sure.
I remember being angry in the funeral parlor because people were telling funny stories, joking and laughing. I was sad and everyone else was having a good time. I was angry because I didn’t think it was respectful. My nana told me that people used humor to cope. She said, “Telling stories helped people remember all the good times. They wanted to reminisce about Eleanor, because they loved her.”
It was a very valuable lesson. My nana taught me that life is a series of hellos and goodbyes. It’s what we do in between that matters.
Life lessons and chocolate chip cookies were her specialties.
Humor became an important tool for me. I keep it in the shed next to the weed whacker.
Reminder: K sounds are funny. That’s why the weed whacker is funnier than the lawnmower.
P.S. I am now picturing a comedy club in the tool shed where the weed whacker is the headliner and the lawnmower is jealous of his talent. My brain likes to go on long, strange journeys.
But I digress, like I do. Comedy is important. It’s not JUST for making fun of the oddballs at Walmart.
Just because I joke, it doesn’t mean that I have some sort of problem-free philosophy (luckily, my nana never said the words “Hakuna Matata”). My life is not free of problems, but I like to alleviate some of those problems with humor.
Good jokes. Bad jokes. Puns. A dirty limerick (don’t tell anyone).
Humor helps us cope. It gets us through some rough spots.
I had a tough couple of days and I didn’t think I’d be ready to write a humor column this week, but here we are.
I was at a funeral recently, and my family, friends and loved ones shared funny stories. I didn’t get angry this time. Instead, I told my own funny stories about my beloved godson who left us way too soon. We’ve come full circle.
We need the laughter and the tears. I am just over here petitioning for more laughter and fewer tears.