The Observations and Obsessions of a Superego's Sidekick

Humour

In Memory of My Father

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 Edward Roy Cawdell

15/10/1938-9/8/2000

“I didn’t want to kiss you goodbye, that was the trouble; I wanted to kiss you goodnight.  And there’s a lot of difference.” ~ Ernest Hemingway.

Fourteen years have gone since your passing.  Does it get any easier, the days  in between do, but those special days, your birthday, my birthday,  fathers day, Christmas and the 9th August still bring me to tears.

I remember that day like it was yesterday, the seconds move forward in slow motion.  The sounds, images, words and the people with me, so vivid.  My brothers voice, so strange, what’s wrong with him, then screaming, frightened children running.  Repeatedly writing and writing to leach it from me, but still it stays, will that day always remain with me, so strong.  The funeral I was unable to attend, never really being able to say goodbye.  For weeks feeling like a part of me was missing, your being like a phantom pain in an amputated limb.  I’d wake up in the morning , and for a second everything was normal, until I remembered.

You were only 61, so much ahead of you, seeing your grandchildren arrive into this world, and grow to the wonderful young men and woman they are becoming.  Your retirement after all those years working to provide for your family, time for just you and Mum.  A massive heart attack in your sleep, the only mercy was that you felt no pain, I’m grateful for that.  There were police there, I hated that, it felt so….dirty, but it had to be, a sudden unexplained death.

I do prefer my happy memories though of a very wonderful father, and there are so many more of them, you were funny, intelligent, charming, cheeky and very loving and affectionate.  A wonderful chess opponent, but a terrible dance partner, remember the French’s wedding, you trampled all over my feet, you were shocking, but I still loved dancing with you, I was so proud.  I remembered you singing in church, how could anyone forget, Cath asked you to stop, she was an embarrassed teenager, but you just said, “God gave me this voice, he deserves to listen to it”.  I loved watching you playing conductor to your much loved classical music, when you thought no one was watching.   And whenever I hear Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, I think of you. You made everyone around you feel important and special, you had such a natural way with people.  You inspired us all, to be kind and loving and loyal and to work hard at everything we do, and I see who you were, in little parts, in my kids everyday.

We all still miss you, myself, Dave, Ted, John, Jen and Cath, but we talk of you often and those memories bring us great happiness and tears of  joy.  You have lots of grandchildren, five girls and eight boys, they’re growing up quickly and very soon you’re to be a great grandfather, a little girl is on the way.  The due date, your birthday.  We”re all so looking forward to that.  Mum can’t wait to be a great grandmother.  I planted a tree for you, I wanted an Elder, but couldn’t get one, so I planted an Oak instead.  It’s growing tall, lush and strong, and I like sitting under it and thinking of you.  I’ve felt you many times, when I’m talking to you and I hear your laugh, when you come to me in my dreams, I can’t believe we don’t live on.  And when I’m old, very old after a long and happy life, with my children, grandchildren and maybe if I’m really lucky great grandchildren, I look forward to being with you again.

All those good memories and mostly good days, I love that, I love that it’s getting easier.  I love that the good memories now outweigh the bad one.

God rest you, my beautiful and wonderful Dad.  Shine brightly.


Humour – Tickling Our Collective Funny Bones


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“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend.  Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read”.~Groucho Marx.

 

Why do we laugh, what do we laugh at and why do people laugh at different things.

Science first, laughter triggers healthy physical changes in the body.  Humor and laughter strengthens our immune system, boosts energy, diminish pain, and protects us from the damaging effects of stress.  Simply put, laughter is good for us.

Humour and laughter are a big part of social interaction, people who make us laugh are more attractive and enjoyable to spend time with.  Laughing creates a bond and a connection with others.  It strengthens relationships, enhances teamwork and helps to defuse conflict.

Sigmund Freud outlined a theory that humour and the use of jokes is a conscious nod to the subconscious.  Taboo subjects become more socially acceptable if delivered as a joke.  Parapaxes or Freudian Slips, another form of unconscious leakage, although at times embarrassing, can also be incredibly funny.

Why do people laugh at different things.  As we age, our response to humour evolves.  Children and teens often find toilet humour and slapstick hilarious, while as adults we may still enjoy this type of humour, experience opens us up to more adult humour.  Intellect is as important aspect of understanding jokes and their nuances and this develops as we grow and learn.

Society and community plays a big part in what we laugh at.  The type of humour we appreciate is often the same as our parents.  The great Tommy Cooper was our families great favourite as was Fawlty Towers, Monty Python and The Goons and to this day I still love all of them.  Of course personality and personal tastes are big factor.

Another theory is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, as we strive for self actualization, our humour develops and matures.  One of Maslow’s 15 characteristics is an unusual sense of humour.  As we move through the stages toward self actualization our sense  of humour embodies our emotional and psychological attainment.  Fascinating stuff, I must read more.

I probably laugh at pretty well anything, however I’m not a fan of crude and offensive misogynistic type humour.   I don’t find it at all clever.  But I do love the absurd, the ridiculous, black humour, gallows humour, the humour we find in the darkest places of our minds and the darkest times of our lives.  The way I see it, if you can find something to laugh when times are dark and lonely, then there’ll always be hope and a reason to get up in the morning.

Some of the best comedy series of all time MASH, Frazier, Modern Family and Fawlty Towers to name a few, all share a  magnifying glass look at the absurdity of  life.  And for most part it’s real, we can relate to it.  I don’t know about you, but my family are definitely more Modern Family than The Waltons.  Whether it’s spiritual or emotional strength in times of crisis (the Korean War in Mash), arrogance and pride, family life or even marriage, life is funny and it’s best to have a sense of humour for the journey.  As Daphne says to Niles, “You’d eat a worm if I gave a french name”.

So favourite comedians, I’m a bit of a Marxist-Groucho not Karl. What am I saying, I’m a lot of a Marxist, the funniest man of all, who can forget, the mirror scene or Why a Duck.  Who else likes Groucho, hands up.   Love me a bit of Duck Soup, an anarchical, maniacal feast.   His timing perfection, his sense of the ridiculous and to my mind he’s a great accidental  philosopher.

Hail Freedonia!

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For me humour has been a god send, a safety valve and an indicator that I’ve come through my dark tunnel.  I find myself more able to laugh and enjoy the company of wonderful people.  Laughter got me through many a day and got me up in the morning.

Laughter has certainly been the best medicine for me.