Finding the Funny Despite the Fear

Gifts from Cafe Du Monde

Timely gifts from Cafe Du Monde

There are some days when I regret the decision to write a humor column.

Mostly, this is because humor is much, much, much harder than anything else I could’ve picked to write about, you know, like rocket surgery or brain science.

Why couldn’t I have picked a subject matter that didn’t demand a certain level of cheer, like dental surgery or auto repair? Forget that I know nothing about either of these topics, I can probably make something up, and fake my way through the finer points, which, now that I’m thinking about it, turns that into a comedy of a different sort.

Certainly, choosing the easy way out has never been my style. I tend to turn my nose up at making anything easy, which either means I’m an uncompromising visionary or a masochist. Most the time, I land on the side of masochism.

When I get into those darker moods, my humor tends to wander into bitter sarcasm, which is not actually very funny, and not at all the tone I want to project.

Yes, I realize this is me taking the hard path again.

The rational part of my brain, which, let’s face it, is not the one I’m listening to when I’ve fallen into a pit of despair, tells me that I’m listening to fear, and that fear is a big fat liar what lies, but, I’m not listening to little Miss Rational. She’s boring and not nearly as convincing as the scary horrible things that have leaked out of the dark parts of my brain.

And now I’m picturing a certain killer snot monster from outer space hanging out on my ceiling? Thanks for that.

The weeks I lament the choice I made are, as you might’ve guessed, those weeks when I’m feeling less than optimistic. You know, like the week when I read the entire Hunger Games and my brain got a case of “over-identify much” and decided to wallow in delicious depression and loneliness. Not remotely hilarious.

The good news is that most weeks are not filled with dark thoughts and snot monsters.

The better news is that even when the dark weeks have decided they missed me and must visit, there’s usually a touch of kindness that makes it possible to get through it. Like a thoughtful gift basket from the Café Du Monde, or a friend taking a moment to say a few kind words.

The best news is that there is no such thing as a small act of kindness, and I’m grateful for each of them. Especially if it means I can channel it all into a column that might, just maybe, be funny, and neither depressing nor sarcastic. Fingers well and truly crossed.

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