Everyone likes to laugh, not forced or uncomfortable laughs mind you, but real, honest-to-goodness belly laughs. The kind you can’t contain. The kind that makes your sides ache and tears stream down your face, that has you gasping for air because you are laughing so hard. There is nothing better in this world than jokes or circumstances that bring this most genuine of reactions.
They say laughter is the best medicine, and I know this to be true. Shared laughter is awesome, bonding. Remembered laughter rocks, brings a fresh chuckle every time it comes to mind. Looking for the humor in life can get you through tough times. Being able to laugh at yourself keeps you humble, centered.
It’s only when humor is used to shield a hurtful comment or mask an insult that we get into trouble. A friend’s mother once said, “The truest things are said in jest.” I hated the thought at the time but I’ve come to see that she was 100% right. Just kidding and the like are a ready defense used by the cowards among us who spout their version of comedy and are shocked when not everyone enjoys their sense of humor.
Can’t you take a joke?
You would think my point here would be obvious. Not need to be said (much less ranted about), but sadly stating the obvious is necessary in this case. True humor needs to make people laugh (not cringe!). Not just some people. Not just you. Everyone. The laughter comes naturally, immediately. Good humor doesn’t make anyone feel bad.
Unfortunately, too many people think they’re funny when they’re anything but. If they ever stopped to listen to the reaction to their routine they would realize no one is laughing. Some people look embarrassed. Others look like they’d rather be anywhere else. Laughing alone at a snarky comment masked as a “joke” is not comedy.
Not by a long shot.
You see we can take a joke just as well as the next person, but it has to be a true joke. It has to be amusing and delivered with that intent. It has to bring genuine laughter bubbling up from inside those who hear it. It has to make those who hear it feel better, not worse. It lifts the spirit, eases burdens, if only briefly.
So stop using humor as a weapon. Please.