WHY SO SERIOUS? - Utilizing Laughter in Rough Seas
3/21/20 - Written for Medium
Laughter is one of the most powerful immune boosters, stress calmers, and depression antidotes around — and it’s freeee. (Also: hoarders cannot make off with it, leaving everyone around them depleted. Rat finks.)
Humor sits right at the top of my remedy list when one has been booted off an abrupt cliff into the Underworld the way so many have in the past weeks.
When the serious tasks need to be navigated, plotted and accomplished, there’s no reason to bite off skulls and run willy-nilly with our heads up butts and arms in the air. In fact, the higher the stress, the higher the kindness and generosity could stand to be.
For me, when I engage in activities like getting hauled out of crumpled cars, I crack jokes. When 235 people are in line ahead of me at the airport after a flight cancellation, I smile at the counter staff and my fellow strand-ees. (Revolutionary, I know.) I mean, what can I do to change it? Nothing. Let me repeat: NOTHING. So I am extra sweet, extra patient and generous, and even insert humor into our conversations — and let me tell you how contagious that is!
Almost as contagious as this virus (some people ARE immune to humor and kindness, alas), and more contagious than the stress balls of reactionary freakitude making all of this more difficult than it needs to be.
Throwin’ ‘bows or takin’ heads off: not helpful.
Not their fault.
They’re stressed too. The Walmart grocery delivery gal. Your doctor. Your kids’ teacher who has no clue how to teach online and has his own kids running willy-nilly in the background with their arms in the air like Kevin from Home Alone. That teacher wishes he was home alone.
And that gal over there — she can’t stand to be in the silence and solitude because all the demons come to knock and gnaw when things get too quiet. That’s why she’s a workaholic and a gym rat, and now she is…
*insert spooky music* Home Alooooone.
We’re all stressed right now. Even those of us whose lives barely look different from normal because these are very similar to the policies we pretty much have to live under 24–7. I’ve had to do most of this rigamarole and weather these very stressors for the past 19 years. Some for 43.
This is kinda old hat for me so let me offer something from my decades of experience:
Here is my super-duper, not-so-scooby-secret Playlist of Humor and Snark. This is one of the neurology/biology hacks that finally allowed me to get the tips of my claws back into a positive attitude when my chemicals were freaking out, turning me into the worst version of myself.
I’d rifle through that list until I felt better. Every morning. And every time I got depressed or angsty or ragey. Heck, I still reach for it on gloomy days. Once I’ve changed my mindset, I can get back to doing All the Things, and even say, “Dandy,” to “How’s your day?” when I feel like crap, am constantly isolated, and have no clue how or when I’m going to get back to making green pieces of paper.
Let’s start with one of my personal faves, shall we?
Ahhhhhhhhhh…so much better. Did you take the time to watch it?
Watch it. RIGHT NOW, man.
This is one of the main ways I live half my life in the Underworld, yet still manage to enjoy the heck outta myself, plant asphodel, and play with Kerberos. You may know him better as Cerberus. He has no problem with letting people into the domain he guards. It’s when you try to escape that you have to get really creative.
For me and the three-headed hell-hound charged with keeping me embroiled in the black hole of doom and gloom, that means using copious humor. Without it, I’m a stark-raving harpy. (Shocker, I know.)
Amidst intense and protracted stress, I’ve found it’s advisable to nurture your sense of humor as early as possible, even about — dare I say especially about — the inciting stressors.
Kinda warps your sense of humor, the Underworld. We’re a little dark chocolate down here. But we do have those cookies. 😈 And some rockin’ music:
In addition to my snark, I am sending extra snuggles for y’all weathering this enormous learning curve.
💖 #AllTheSUUUUCK 💖
I sooooo remember what a bitch I was after getting hit with sudden loneliness, stir-craziness, financial devastation, and health obliteration, all in one blow. I was a particular bundle of joy on a broken frontal lobe with no ability to filter what flew from my over-stressed mouth. Thanks to everyone who didn’t smother me in my sleep those first few years. And again in 2012–14 amidst seizures. And on those other days when my brains still break. And…when I’m just being a turd because I’m human.
Bless thee and thank thee.
I shall leave you for now with one of my favorite meditations. This is getting out the big guns, okay? This meditation is not for the beginner or the dabbler. This is serious stuff. Seriously. You may need training. Breathe with me now and say:
Lurrrrrves and pompoms and stuff, Your Sithly Neighborhood Asshat 💖😷😘😷😘😷😘😷💖
PS $500 rolls of TP: also not helpful. There’s a special corner in Tartarus for individuals like that. There you shall be thrown into the Eternal Bog of Stench, over and over and again for all time, with naught but porcupines to clean thyself. Additionally, there shall be a sparkling pool beside the bog that, whenever you approach it, drains away just as you’re about to scoop up your first handful of water. Nope, not Persephone’s girl at all.
This has been a public service announcement from Hadestown, where the humor, like the sky, is always dark. 🤜🔥🤛