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A Touch of Frivolity: The Importance of Humour in Life and Writing

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John values the use of humour and enjoys writing and reading limericks and jokes. He is a fan of Dr. Seuss, Edward Lear and Shel Silverstein

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

Image by Stefan Keller from Pixabay

The Importance of Humour

Humour is the penchant to see things from a light-hearted or absurd perspective. It is the quality that makes something funny or amusing. Having a sense of humour gives us the ability to perceive, enjoy, or express what is witty or comical. It is the source of laughter and the catalyst of smiles. Humour can put a spark in our eyes or make us shed tears of laughter. Humour is a state of mind and is not the same for every individual. What some people find funny, others are insulted or offended by.

We tend to regard a clever sense of humour as belonging to a person who is light-hearted and friendly, and someone who is fun to be around. They are often the "life of the party" or the co-worker who always lightens an otherwise boring workplace with a joke. Most people have a jovial family member that they always look forward to seeing. We remember the kid in school who frequently made the class break into laughter, much to the chagrin of the teacher. Humour often remains embedded in our memory, and when we reminisce and it is sometimes even more amusing than it was the first time.

Laughter provides a great feeling, and even after the moment has passed, you will still find yourself chuckling as you think back to the humor in the situation that caused you to laugh in the first place.

— Kala Stevenson, Monday Mornings

The Dark Side of Humour

Humour can also be used as a weapon to hurt and lower self-esteem, attacking people when they least expect it. When we use sarcasm and humour to harm, we abuse the fundamental essence of this wonderful gift. Teaching our children to understand the difference between what is funny and what is cruel is essential. It is fine to joke about yourself or your own circumstances, even the state of the world, but a joke is never humorous if it is at the expense of another, to embarrass or belittle.

Some people use humour as a mask to hide from their real emotions and troubles. Using humour to brighten one’s outlook and help get through the difficult times is a lot different than using humour to hide from them and avoid dealing with the underlying cause. Hiding behind humour can’t be used as the only way of expressing our emotions. Some of the funniest and most brilliant comedians (Robin Williams was one) have been secretly depressed. Although humour can be used to brighten dark times, always using humour as a defence mechanism can be a serious mental health issue.

Humor makes social interaction much easier. It lets people drop their guard and allow themselves to be comfortable with each other. Even if tension builds to a potentially explosive stage, a little bit of humor can diffuse what would have otherwise been a negative situation.

— Patrick King, Laugh Tactics

The Value of Humour in Writing

Those who use humor to its best advantage teach others by example. Instead of getting angry when something goes wrong, we should try to look for the humour in the situation to ease tension and keep things in perspective. Humour can give us the energy and enthusiasm to complete a tedious task. Humour can make even the worst and most depressing situations tolerable.

Just like in every other part of life, the injection of humour into writing is important. I enjoy nothing more than reading a funny article or story, and personally love to insert some humour into almost everything that I write. Even a serious subject will usually have splashes of humour within the words, or sometimes even hidden between the lines. I particularly love to write comedic or nonsense poetry and limericks that hopefully brings a smile to my readers.

The state of the world in recent times highlights an even greater need for humour. Comedic relief is needed to somewhat dull the pain of horrific events like the Russia-Ukraine war and the drawn-out, seemingly ever-present COVID-19. We, as writers, have the ability to do that and to bring some light into an otherwise quite depressing environment. So, here I offer a small selection of my brand of humour with the hope it may at least bring a smile, at least for a few minutes of your day.

Image by vontinkles @ youtube from Pixabay

Image by vontinkles @ youtube from Pixabay

A Short But Funny Poem

Sometimes, as a freelance writer, I receive very detailed briefs as to what a client requires. It can be so complicated that it may take me a couple of days to toss the information around in my head until I come up with the best approach to tackle the project.

In other instances, the information provided is so basic that you almost need to be a mind-reader to work out what the client wants. Recently, I received an order for a 100-150 word poem, with only the following brief:

Rat: Image by Colleen ODell from Pixabay

Rat: Image by Colleen ODell from Pixabay

How Do I Get Out?

I’m just your average, humble rat,

I do not scream and shout,

But I am trapped within this barrel.

Tell me, “How do I get out?”

The scent of nice food lured me in,

I think it smelled like cheese.

It made me fall into this barrel.

I must escape, “So, help me please!”

I know it’s not your problem,

And you may not even care,

But I’m the one who’s stuck in here,

While you’re free, roaming, out there.

It won’t take much to tip me out,

Just give the barrel a push.

“Hey! Wait a minute - don’t do that!

Please do not call, “Puss Puss!”

Doctors: Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Doctors: Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Laughter's the Best Medicine

“Doctor, Doctor, have you seen

Is there hope for a vaccine?

I think I’ve got the virus bad,

It makes me angry and quite sad.”

“Relax dear patient, don’t you stress,

I’ll just give you a simple test.

You say you’re angry and you’re sad,

I think it’s clear what’s made you mad.

You’ve caught the MORBID-19 bug,

It can’t be cured by any drug.

But I don’t want you to sit and mope,

There is a simple antidote.”

“I don’t know how I caught this thing,

I used to always joke and sing.

But now I’m in a morbid state,

Please cure me before it’s too late.”

“There’s only one sure cure I know,

My recommended way to go.

You need to smile instead of frown,

Not let the stresses get you down.”

“But Doc, that’s easier said than done,

This virus really is no fun.

I can’t go out, I’m stuck at home,

And I hate talking on the phone.”

“You once were obviously a clown

So, I understand why you feel down.

Surround yourself with funny memes,

As crazy as I know that seems.”

“Okay, I’ll follow your advice,

I’ll even watch some cat memes twice,

And even though it’s out of place

I’ll force a smile upon my face.”

“Believe me when I tell you true,

By doing that you will get through.

It doesn’t take a Thomas Edison

To realize laughter’s the best medicine.”

Published Before?

*I am sure I have published this poem before, probably in my 'Poems From the Porch' series, but I couldn't find it so I decided to include it here as it is relevant to the topic. If it happens to be seen as a duplication I will remove it and put a link to the original.

My humor is always rooted in truth and full of wisdom - the kind that comes from living, watching, learning, and knowing

— Steve Harvey, Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man

© 2022 John Hansen