Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Ave Atque Tee Hee

You like to think of yourself among other things as a clearing house for ideas. In this clearing-house-atmosphere, the useful ideas ideas are shunted off to a processing center, the metaphysical equivalent of the 24/7 you who, even in his sleep, processes useful ideas while discarding those of a patently awful or even merely questionable nature.

There is a special place in this clearing house of ideas, a place in metaphor every bit as notional and undisciplined as your desk or, for that matter, sub-set desk Number One, which is the kitchen table, and sub-set desk Number Two, which is the entire back storage compartment of your Prius, for pending ideas, matters that have caused you great leaps of interest and even joy, but, as yet, no resolution.

This is attitudinal background to your recent awareness that most men and some women, eulogized in New York Times obituaries, are said to have had senses of humor, almost as though one who did not have a sense of humor, or who was represented instead as a person of, say, principal, or honor, might find difficulty being included within the obituary pages.

Even more to the point, you recently read the obituary of an individual you knew, one who had walked the rainbow bridge in the past week or so. Not to put too fine a point on the matter, but you saw this individual more as stubborn, a control freak, bordering on the intransigent. Nevertheless, there he was, hailed in his eulogy as a person of great humor.

One corpse does not make a Friars' Roast anymore than one robin makes a spring. In fairness, you have in any number of occasions failed to see the inherent humor of an event and have been singled out for concerns that you indeed tend to find humor in places where there is none.

In a course of thought that brings you certain discomfort, you've noted how the more physical aspects of humor, which is to say comedy, achieve their effect by giving us a victim we can laugh at, relieved we are not the victim. 

Most deaths sadden you, John Donne and the bell tolling for thee and so on; you're sorry to see the departed depart, change form, recycle. Some deaths produce in you a sense of schadenfreude, which is in effect a satellite in orbit about a sun, a sense of justice of some sort having been done in some sort of way.

Now, you find yourself fretting over the conundrum of how some individuals, merely by virtue of death, are invested with a sense of humor when, in life, they may might have had no such asset.  No mistaking the fact for you, humor is an asset. While you're on the subject, death isn't.

The wheels are set in motion for you to ponder their rotation. 

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