“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.” (Mark Twain)


I need a good laugh. I don’t even care if it’s on me. I’ve been the source of jokes since I was just a kid, mainly because of my first name, Guy. “Hi, Guy”,”Geyser”, “Geezer”, ” Guy’s Nuts” and so on have all made for instant laughs for everybody. I was actually named after my Grandfather on my mother’s side but everybody called him Mac because his last name was McClintick. About the time I became a teenager I had endured quite enough and I asked my Mom why she named me something that was so easy to make fun of. She said I was lucky because my Dad wanted to name me Charlie, as in Charlie Horst. Man, that was a close one.

I think learning to laugh at yourself is extremely important and makes life so much easier. It was either laugh along with others or be pissed off all the time, which is no fun at all. Luckily, my closest friends are some of the funniest people I know and we all make fun of each other constantly. We also care about each other deeply and we know when to stop the jokes. If there was one bit of wisdom I wanted to impart to my own children it was the importance of being able to laugh at yourself, especially when you screw up.

Someone once said, “Life is hard but it’s harder when you’re stupid.” I think this speaks volumes for my approach to life. I’m not the smartest person alive but I’m definitely not stupid either and whatever happens I try to find humor in there somewhere. Laughing helps me to learn new things because I’m not all caught up in the embarrassment of looking foolish. Laughing at myself makes it easier to get to the real meaning and what I can get out of this new experience after my embarrassment subsides. Every new day brings with it an unlimited potential for more knowledge and practical applications that can make my life even better but first I have to be willing to admit my ignorance. This is usually followed by some sort of verbal abuse and then I get what I wanted all along, a good chuckle and a revelation. What’s not to love about that?

If you study the great comedians of all-time, like I have, you will see that their humor is very truthful and based on every day life experiences. Sure, it’s embellished and elaborately told to yield a great punchline but there is always a kernel of truth inside that joke that we all understand. That’s what makes comics so successful and why the audience sits there nodding in agreement no matter how outrageously the joke was told. If we are completely honest with ourselves we may even go home with a whole new appreciation for some subject that we were more than a little ignorant or prejudiced about previously and all the while we were laughing. Humor has an amazing ability to teach important lessons to even the most diehard ignoramus. I should know.

See, I can laugh at my own ignorance and I hope you can too. Life would be immeasurably more difficult without a sense of humor. I personally believe we need to cultivate a sense of humor in our elected officials and corporate boardrooms. These people have become so dour and downright boring that we no longer pay them any heed, which isn’t good because they are making pretty huge decisions that have far-reaching effects on everybody. Too bad they are so thin-skinned and unwilling to learn from us regular folk. I think they make things way too hard and a little common sense would go a long way towards solving our most pressing issues. I know I would listen more intently if some key figure would just come out and say, “Hey, we really blew it on this one but rest assured we won’t make the same mistake twice.” I would be a lot more likely to trust someone in a position of authority with this statement rather than the standard, “We cannot comment at this time but we are diligently seeking a solution.” This reeks of insincerity and cluelessness and yet we hear it all the time. How hard is it to tell the truth, explain what is being done to solve the problem and ask for everybody’s help? Just because your title says President doesn’t mean you can’t laugh at yourself and, in point of fact, your people will work much harder for you if you just took the time to sincerely ask for their help. No one really believes you are a supreme being or infallible so do yourself a favor and let your hair down just once.

I know I make this sound overly simplified but some times it really is as simple as laughing at yourself for all to see. I can relate to anybody who says, “Wow, that’s gonna leave a mark.” I might even vote for somebody who says, “Vote for Smith. Not corrupt just ethically challenged.” The point is we’re all human beings complete with foibles, screw-ups and lapses in better judgement but the ones who can laugh at their own cluelessness and learn from their mistakes are the only ones I choose to honor and follow. So I have just one question left, “Heard any good ones lately?”

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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