Why Do We Take Life So Seriously?

by Irwin Lengel

How many of you remember Mel Brooks? One of his favorite sayings was:

Life literally abounds in comedy if you just look around you.

Some time back I wrote an article pertaining to life and the seriousness with which we allow ourselves to be regarding the everyday happenings of life.

Take myself for instance, all my life I have chosen to be what might be classified as a “serious” person. But then, in 2004, after learning that I not only had Prostate cancer, I learned that I also had several blocked arteries and needed By-pass surgery. During the recuperation period from both operations spaced three months apart (heart in June, Prostate in October) and during a Hurricane – Hurricane Charley to be precise (August 2004) - my gall bladder decided it no longer wanted to be a part of my body and so out it came, making that three major surgeries in less than six months.

To say that the balance of 2004 and the following year of recuperation was okay would be a misnomer. Why, because when it came to recuperation from the prostate surgery, well, that is another story and let’s just say it was not the best time of my life.

After coming to grips with the situation and my thanks go out to the many people that helped me during that time period, I decided then and there that I would spend the balance of my life trying hard to work something comical into my daily activities whether working with other people, socializing, or just trying my best to get through the day. I am sure many of you reading this know of the days I am talking about.

Fast forward to 2020 and what we have endured since March. A bit much to take in, isn’t it? Stop and think about it briefly. Many of you reading this at one time or another, and in some instances, more times than expected or even wanted, experienced similar hard times. Also, if you are like me, you will agree that it takes hard work and concentration not to be so serious in order that the hard times do not bring us down.

So, with that long-winded introduction to this article, here is my question: “What can deter us from being so serious?” My conclusion - Getting more laughter in our life! Fact of the matter is that we – “yes – you and I” – are the only ones that can make that happen.

Allow me to share with you two words my wife does not like hearing me utter. My wife hates to hear me use the words “I can’t.” She believes the words “I can’t” should be eliminated from both the dictionary and our vocabulary. When you stop and think about it, one of the biggest deterrents to thinking funny things or attempting to bring more laughter in our lives is saying those words and it is even worse if we add the word ‘because’: …… “I can’t because…..”

Ever stop and think where we would be if all people would stop doing things because of the words: I can’t because.” Now, having said that – allow me to direct your thinking towards the book known as “The “Guinness Book of World Records.” My educated guess is that the individuals in this book probably discarded the words “I can’t because….” a long time ago because these individuals did not stop doing what probably seemed impossible to do at the time. The words “I can’t” and “because” probably never enter their mind.

An example I like to use talks about Jim Bolin a 61- year-old businessperson who didn’t want to see his hometown of Casey, Illinois go by the wayside after the recession (some of you might still remember the recession). In his attempt to do something big and record-breaking, to put his town back on the map, he ended up doing not one, but eight record-breaking events that are now in the Guinness Book of World Records. Check out the following Guinness World Records site:

Big Things in a Small Town: US businessman gets Casey into record...

We do not need to look further than our own lives and world as we know it to find laughter of one sort or another. One of the stories I used to enjoy when I was a kid growing up, had to do with the response given by Willie Sutton, a famous bank robber, when standing in front of the judge after being caught robbing a bank. The judge asked: “Why do you rob banks?” Sutton answered: “I rob banks because that’s where the money is.” When you stop and think about it, our lives – every twenty-four hours of it provides us with enough humorous material that if we wanted to, we could capture enough of it on paper to do a ten or even a fifteen-minute stand-up comedy routine.

Being an individual that loves to read old quotes as well as various proverbs, allow me to share a favorite quote about laughter by Alan Alda who said: "When people are laughing, they’re generally not killing each other.”

Then there is the old French proverb that says: “The most completely lost of all days is the one on which we have not laughed.”

I am sure most of you will agree that most doctors today remind us older folk that we need to get a minimum of twenty minutes of Vitamin D or sunshine every day (more so now due to the pandemic). I agree with that but would also add that we need to get our daily minimum requirements of vitamin H (humor) each day as well.

If we stop and think about our lives today, I am sure you will agree that for the most part, our lives are filled with what one might refer to as absurdities. What do I mean? Think about it. Think of all the mistakes we sometimes make in a 24-hour period. When we get right down to it, these mistakes or adding some humor to this post, “bloopers, if you will” are also nothing other than an inevitable by-product of our being human.

The bottom line here is just this: We retirees and especially seniors should not be so serious all the time. At our age, we need to live a little and laugh a lot. It is good for your soul.

Until next week –

Stay safe and stay well!

Comments for Why Do We Take Life So Seriously?

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by: Sherry/ NC

In the south we say, cawfee for coffee.

RECENT POST - Life & seriously
by: Irwin

Thank you all that took time to read and respond to my nonsense. I hope to keep them coming on a weekly basis.

by: Sherry/ NC

Yep, every time I look in the mirror I am thinking about something stupid I have done and laugh at myself.

Laughing makes me feel good.

So very true
by: Irwin

Thank you so much for all your comments. I agree and encourage everyone to laugh a little more every day for our own well being. Thanks

I love this, Irwin!
by: Jeanne Savelle/Atlanta

More laughter every day! I try to listen to or watch something that makes me laugh daily. Sometimes it's my husband! I smile and go about my business.

I also love turning "I can't" into "maybe I can if . . ."

Life is FULL of possibilities if we'll only allow ourselves to consider them.

Thanks for this wonderful post.

Your comment to my recent post
by: Irwin

Hi Wendy:

Thank you for your comments to my recent post.

Love your happenings and by the way, how soon can I expect my grilled cheese sandwich? I'll make the tomato soup (grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup was a favorite lunchtime meal when I was a kid growing up way back when).

Glad you enjoyed my post. My intentions are to post one of these silly type posts weekly if for no other reason than to break up the monotony that we are going through during our time of social lockdown.

Still waiting for our vaccine here in Polk County. The irony of it we lived in two different Manufactured Home communities over the last 20 odd years prior to moving where we are now and both of those communities have already had their first round of vaccines but we are still waiting. Duh!

Oh well, that's life. Again thanks for reading and commenting on my dribble. Take care and stay safe.

Laughter, the BEST medicine
by: Ricardo

Irwin,your post was spot on!

I cannot recall in my life how many times laughter has gotten me THRU some rough times...mostly laughing at myself or making some goofy nonsensical response to someone.

Often times it is just to break the tension in the room or to get people to talk...period!

We have a sign at our front door depicting a squirrel and under it "nut house". To my grandchildren, I am the "king" of the nuts! I relish the my three little "nut cases"....we have a ball with being silly, nutty, goofy...all in fun, it's a game and they enjoy it.

They are getting older so it is not happening so much any more. JUST because we are mature older adults does not mean we cannot on occasion let our hair down, unwind and be a little NUTTY... ESPECIALLY during these times!

So here to ALL the nut cases out there, if you can bring a smile or laughter to someone's face, go for it.

It will cost you nothing and it just may make their day...go ahead try it be a nut for a moment..it may be catchy!

Sing and Dance
by: Michael - Sunny and Warm Venice Florida

Who are these serious seniors and retirees?

Are those the ones crowding the supermarket early in the morning, blocking the aisle, and vying for the shortest checkout line?

I have found so many things I used to be stressed out about are simply life's little annoyances (taxes, medical appointments, car repair, etc.)

I am 55 now, but I still sing whenever I feel like it - whether I am listening to music, in the shower, riding my bike, or simply in the mood to do so. And, dancing here and there is cool too!

If you need a good laugh, watch some episodes of The Golden Girls or some Joan Rivers comedy on YouTube.

Wendy, I LOVE grilled cheese - extra butter makes the bread toasty! Egg and cheese sandwich too! Yum!

Do I have to Put My NAME on this comment?
by: Wendy, Retirement Enthusiast/Coach

Yes, I am kidding -- I am human and quite often my own actions are downright hilarious!

I have always shared my silly actions with others. I like to tell the tale, to bring a smile to faces, and to make them realize that we are all just human.

Sunday Coffee

So two mornings ago, I got up, took Mia out in the yard, got her some dog food, and made my coffee -- the necessity in the early morning. I do this half in my sleep, get the coffee, and meditate in the recliner for a bit, sometimes falling back asleep.

NOT that day. I returned for the coffee - and it was all over the Keurig machine and counter.

OOPS! No Mug there!

D*(*&^ -- so I do the cleanup, wide awake now -- and make a new cup of coffee, this time remembering to place the mug first! :)

Yikes, Wendy!

Cuppa Coffee?

Ok, this is an Irwinism -- why do we say "cup of coffee" when it is in a mug? Mug of Coffee? Hmmm... yep, overthinking it, like Irwin.

Grilled Cheese

So yesterday, I visit mom in the early evening. She wants a grilled cheese... I don't tell her I never made a grilled cheese sandwich before.

Yes, Ladies, I was deprived of the HouseMom role when I worked thirty-seven years... Yes, I've been retired ten years, but Terry does most of the cooking. It is what it is.

I am not stupid, however, I know the basics -- just never DID it before. I did google it quickly, I admit, but the first site was a fancy grilled sandwich, and just reading the ingredients made me shiver, so I said I CAN DO THIS... Just like Irwin does! Close the phone...

I butter one side of the bread and slap them into the pan, they seemed to want to stick, so I kept forcing the flipper under the bread to unstick it.

I add cheese on top of each piece of bread and slam the two cheesy sides together into the sandwich form.

The problem is: They are misshapen slices of bread due to the butter making them oddly mushy before they grilled, and one had a big hole in the middle, Seriously did.

I showed my 94-year old mother and she made me start with a new fry pan -- as there was food stuck all over the bottom of the one I was using.

She sprayed it, and boom -- I turned up the heat and it was done!

She loved it. Hit the spot on what she was wanting last night -- so much so that she wanted a second sandwich!

Second Grilled Cheese Sandwich -- Easy peasy! Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks!

I sprayed the pan and bread -- grilled it on a higher heat (which is where I normally burn almost anything I try to cook, wanting to get er done quickly). Tossed in the cheese, made the sandwiches in maybe 3 minutes -- the previous sandwich took maybe 10 (and lots more effort).

Woot! Does anybody want a Grilled Cheese Sandwich for lunch?

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