Thursday, September 01, 2011

Why Not a Little Fun?

I attended a church service recently where comments were encouraged regarding death and an afterlife. At the conclusion, a participant said approaching the concepts with a bit of humor was a human characteristic, at least for some.

Consider, we often hear the phrase, “He (or she) laughed in the face of death.” We associate that with a courageous person, a strong person, a person with good values. We seldom, if ever, apply it to the “bad guys.”

I think that when we humans are faced with something we fear, we often tend to respond with humor. Many comedians made good parts of their livings exploiting that position. One of the more famous utterances was by Mark Twain. When Twain (Samuel Clemens) was traveling in Europe, a newspaper made a glaring error. Clemens picked up a copy and read his obituary on page one. His response: “Rumors of my death are greatly exaggerated.”

Comedic comments on death and the hereafter, more numerous although less famous than Clements’ remark, have been a big part of Woody Allen’s works. On the Internet, you can find dozens of jokes on the subjects written and delivered by Allen. Three (paraphrased) that tickle me are:

“I’m not worried about death; I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”

“Dying is one of those things best done while lying down.”

“I don’t think there is an afterlife, but just in case, I’m bringing a change of underwear.”

A couple of years ago the laugh was on me. A strange disease, which my doctor was unable to diagnose, hit me hard. I spent several days in bed going through alternating periods of chills and fever, comatose much of the time. Fortunately, the ailment left nearly as suddenly as it appeared, and it never has returned. But I was very ill while it lasted.

One night, I came out of a deep sleep in a groggy state. I saw a bright, white, light emanating from a space behind a door. “Here I go,” I thought. “The good news is that it’s not a red light in there.”

I woke up a little more and discovered that my wife had failed to turn off the light in our walk-in closet.


Big John said...

I'm afraid that as an atheist I'll ..."be all dressed up with nowhere to go".

schmidleysscribblins, said...

My favorite was Bob Hope. When his family and friends gathered at his beside before he died, he said, "At last, I am playing to a full house." Dianne

Kay Dennison said...

I actually did see a 'white light' when I was critically injured in a car accident. That said, who really knows if there's afterlife? And does it really matter? As to reincarnation, someone wiser than I called it "a fate worse than a fate worse than death."