Last night I read the David Sedaris piece in the latest New Yorker. I recognize that Sedaris is funny, but I bristle at the way he calls stuff "memoir" when he so clearly makes up about half of what he writes, and embellishes the rest. In my world (and in the world of many, especially journalists), nonfiction=not made up, and fiction=made up, and I wish he'd just call his stuff fiction so that I could like it better
Anyway. That's a cranky digression. I read his piece in the latest New Yorker and I found one scene--about walking through Costco with his brother-in-law, trying very hard not to seem gay (which he is)--so funny that I laughed until I couldn't breathe. And then I read it out loud to Doug, and I laughed again so hard I could barely get the words out.
(You can read the scene here, but you need to register.)
This is what we all need. We all need a belly laugh a day.
Have you looked at the front page lately? The New York Times has flooding in North Dakota, drug cartels in Mexico, doom in Africa, doom in the economy, why Obama is almost certainly doomed to fail. Our paper had blizzards and floods in North Dakota, Iraqi war refugees now suffering in the blizzards and floods in North Dakota (and, yes, only North Dakota has blizzards and floods simultaneously), a couple of murders, doom in the economy ...
We need to laugh.
Fortunately, I have a very funny husband. He makes me laugh every single day, including the day my father died and the day my sister died, and if that seems shocking, keep in mind Elizabeth McCracken's wise words, that black humor--and that's the only kind when there is a death, I think--is a sign that there is a God. Black humor is the ray of light in despair, reminding you that life can also be good.
Our latest laughs (though not necessarily of the belly variety) have come from watching all of the "Thin Man" movies. They're screwball mysteries from the 1940s with excellent hats and wardrobes and an adorable dog.
We watch movies in the evening--maybe 20 minutes a time, while eating dinner--but I just can't handle violence or murder or horror, which rules out almost all modern movies except for "Ratatouille." And even with that movie I can barely handle run-of-the-mill tension. These days, I just want to laugh. I suspect I'm not alone. What are you doing to keep yourself sane in these awful times of doom and despair? What are you doing to make sure you laugh?
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