Taking a Break to Laugh

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I have strange and wonderful conversations with this one friend

Now and then it’s good to take a break from more serious conversation and just laugh. And there is a lot to laugh about. Recently I was on a road trip, texting a friend with the help of Siri’s dictation services, and he asked about the scenery. I said “It’s mostly just fog and trees”, but Siri thought I said “It’s mostly just fucking trees.”

I tried several times to get Siri to correctly transcribe “fog”, but she couldn’t handle it so I ended up saying “It’s mostly just trees…and clouds that are on the ground.”

It’s also good to be able to laugh at yourself. We aren’t grim, heroic warriors fighting in a hellish war. We’re messy and selfish little people who are entertained by fake heroic warriors fighting fake sensationalized wars. We’re creatures who think it’s cool to carry around hunks of metal that shoot deadly projectiles. Our lives mostly consist of bumbling along from one mistake to another.

So if we stop seeing ourselves as soldiers for a cause, and instead as a playground full of selfish children, maybe we could laugh a bit more at how ridiculous it really is that we spend so much energy arguing over whether the slide or the swing is more fun.

Of course, if I were to laugh about something ironic a conservative did while trying to promote their cause, I’d be accused of trying to start a fight. I’d be that dizzy kid on the merry-go-round, laughing at the people who argue so passionately in favor of swings and then throw a fit when the Order of the Slides forms a resistance movement in the playground tower and prevents anyone else from using the slide.

My laughter would spark a revolution. The Swingists get angry at being laughed at, despite totally deserving it, and the Order of the Slides feels validated in their oppressive tactics and only harden their stance.

In the meantime, I spin around some more to take my mind off the depressing state of playground politics, until I throw up and crawl home.

Sometimes all you can do is laugh. A couple years ago Fox News published an article about how “women and men aren’t equal”, basically the same tired old stuff about how traditional marriage with gender roles is the only sort of marriage that will make anyone happy.

I remembered that article today when this story popped up about an anti-gay billboard in Virginia. While perhaps not ironic, the fact that they advertised against gayness using stock images of one gay man as two twins is a bit funny.

But they try to take a stand against it on the basis of genetics, assuming that if a pair of identical twins can be two different orientations, gayness can’t possibly be related to genetics. It’s ironic because identical twins are a very strong case for a genetic cause. Being the twin of a gay person means you are far more likely to be gay (but not 100%), than if you just have a gay non-twin sibling. The same thing happens with autism. The billboard is based on a false understanding of the science. Identical twins do not share all biological traits.

I remembered Fox’s article from a couple years ago because they also used an interesting picture. In one of the most ironic displays of journalistic ignorance, they coupled an article promoting traditional marriage with a wedding photo of two lesbians kissing. Obviously, having short hair and a suit makes you a traditional man.

I had to laugh, which definitely makes me an evil liberal.

I’ve done dumb things too, like when I was eight years old I broke a half-rotten log with my face while doing something my brother thought was dangerous. You know you’re in trouble when an unruly five-year-old thinks you’re being reckless. I still have the scar from that.

When I was in my teens I kept blurting out things that sounded a whole lot more arrogant than they did in my head. Then I’d spend a couple days feeling awful and wondering why I couldn’t make the words come out meaning the same thing I intended to say.

Oh, I guess I still do that. I still do a lot of dumb things, and so do you.

So you must be able to laugh at yourself. To not be blind to your flaws and self-contradictions and lapses of brain. Of course, it’s damn hard to get over the feeling that people hate you or your ideas and that they’re laughing because they want to hurt you.

Is that a realistic feeling? Probably. People do a lot of hating. Or just plain meanness. I know someone who automatically reacts negatively to anything I ever say, and makes really crazy comments about me that have little basis in fact outside of their twisted mind. My relationship with my ex is a hundred times better.

But it’s gotten to the point where it’s more comical than anything else. If you can laugh it off, then you can move on and they’ll be left behind in a hatred stew, bobbing about like a rotten potato, trying to assassinate your character whenever they have a chance to mention you to other people.

And you’ll be doing something awesome like eating pasta at a fancy restaurant or kissing a beautiful person, too busy enjoying life to spare a thought for the selfish idiots who think hatred and accusatory ranting is a good way to convince people. Don’t worry about the character assassins; they don’t know your character from a duck, and couldn’t hit either one at point blank range if they tried.

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