Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Oh please. Not you again.

Happy Thoughts Travel Fast

I started this blog in 2011. During this time, I have learned a thing or two about humor; about what makes people laugh, about what makes me laugh - and about what doesn't. This article, for example, might be something best left for my private journal cause it ain't funny-ha-ha.

It is funny, though. At least to me. It is Funny-interesting; in the sense that since 2011, I have had the distinct pleasure of enjoying a philosophical experiment in which I legally changed my last name to Laughing. In the name of humor.

This is by far the funniest thing I have done, and the best joke I have ever told. 

The Value of Happy Thoughts 

For those who are on the "positivity kick" ~ happy thoughts and positive vibes, like this blog: Happy Thoughts Travel Fast bring added value to our lives. Humor does lighten burdens. It helps us catch our breath, giving us time to see the bright side of life.

Humor does not disappoint. 

In the name of humor, this blog is filled with over a thousand articles on the subject. Written in the name of laughing, comedy's history, feeling happy, and thinking positively or philosophically about things like PacMan and Comic Book Heroes, I have endeavored to utilize creative writing and journaling to offer myself and the world along with me, a more personalized glimpse of living with humor. By doing so, I hope that my "experiment" inspires others to consider what humor means to them, and how it may benefit their daily lives.

IRL, being an academically trained philosopher and a business executive, some of my articles are less than comical or whim'sical; in that each was written under the auspices of what one might call: a philosophical whim. These are not comedic; yet they remain, either because I forgot to delete them, or decided to keep them for their inherent humor, even if it is only apparent to me. 

Beyond jokes, thinking about "stuff" makes me laugh; in the meta sense that anything exists to laugh about in the first place. Still, none of us are always laughing, nor are we always funny. And sometimes, we can lose our very good sense of humor.

We see this fact illuminated when we lose brilliant comedians like Robin Williams, who, along the way, lost his sense of humor.

Admittedly, I "get" why Robin Williams lost his sense of humor. I can imagine how many people pulled on his goodwill, so to speak. It seems like the world relentlessly tugged at his funny bone until it permanently dislodged. Not that he didn't have his own life to live, but public lifestyles are highly taxing, affecting our ability to maintain a healthy amuse system.  

Like Robin Williams, I have branded myself as humorous, when in reality, I'd like to think that I am more than just funny. As a matter of fact, I can be Seriously Funny! As in, you'd-crack-up-if-you-knew-me-in-real-life kinda funny.

But, I too got tired of being funny (for the general public). In my personal life, my sense of humor remained intact, but while I was busy making jokes and entertaining myself, friends, and family, the so-called "public" ~ bombarded me, albeit in earnest, sharing their secrets and challenges, and matters that are overly personal. And I responded to all of these emails and inquiries for one reason: I was brought up to have "Good Manners." 

The Danger of Good Manners 

The inherent danger of having good manners (and a publicly shared sense of humor or lifestyle) means you become a willing "listener" to the trials and tribulations of others. You do not interrupt. You do not criticize. You do not ask them to go away. You do not say what you're really thinking, which is probably something like: "Oh please. Not you again." 

Instead, you let things linger. You smile when you really want to run away. You let people ramble on and on, and on and on, and on and on, ad infinitum. You take the bad with the good and before you know it, you tuck your good sense of humor away, deep inside your sock drawer. 

Doing so, you're destined to wear other socks when greeting the public. Moods resembling Polyester blends, or fresh cotton. Good moods, like socks, can fall down, inside your shoes, requiring you to pull them back up again. When this happens, you might reach for your winter wardrobe and pull out a trusty pair of:

Wool socks. 

Wool socks are great for cocooning. They're best worn during the winter holidays at a time when our mood is sentimental and nostalgic. Wool socks are cozy and reliable. They feel "just right" on a cold, winter night spent relaxing around a fireplace and enjoying the good company of others. But they're a bit thick. They get itchy. And eventually, like a bad mood, they're plain uncomfortable. 

I'm not suggesting we go overboard and don a pair of thin liner socks, the shriveled up raisin-kind Macy's or Galeries Lafayette pull out when you're shoe shopping; but definitely, the right sock makes all the difference. 

So, too, does the right attitude. 

Living with Happy Thoughts 

Living with happy thoughts is not always about being in a funny or heightened state. It isn't always about entertaining others. It is about producing good humor internally. Imagine, if you will, your sense of humor or good mood being like an auxiliary backup power plant. This power plant produces happy energie when the core system is interrupted.

After being on social media for 7 years, my core system got interrupted. It went down on account of ordinary life exacerbated by the heavy burden of responding to thousands of people reaching out to me on a daily basis (all hours of the day) to share the personal details of their lives. Even though I did not need to respond, these are all good people, so I did.

Doing so, I ran out of good humor for the public. From the more mundane domestic challenges to the very serious life-altering ones, the result of others oversharing their personal lives with me was my own happiness malfunction. So, I went offline. 

Fortunately, this did not overly affect my natural auxiliary happy system. It did, however, make me question whether public sharing was worth it.

In theory, I am an advocate of open sharing in the sense I believe knowledge should be shared. But placing ourselves in the public eye has its inherent challenges. Few professionally, emotionally, morally, or intellectually qualified for the role would willingly serve as President, for example, if only because of the ridiculous violations into our personal lives.

Sophy Laughing

7 years of living with the delightful reality of becoming Dr. Sophy M. Laughing still makes me laugh. Mostly, I feel happy when I see how something as simple as changing my name can bring about so many natural smiles.

Just the other day a delivery person arrived at our door. He asked me to sign for a package. When I did, he asked for my last name. "Laughing," I told him. 

"How do you spell that?" he asked. 

"How do you spell: Laughing?" I asked eyebrow raised. 

He paused for a moment. Smiled. And then asked, "Laughing, as in laughing?" 

"Yes," I responded, "as in ha-ha." 

"That's cool," he said, offering me a head nod. 

"Thanks," I replied. "I think so, too." 

And there you have it!

The next phase of my research into humor.

The art of living with humor. 

For me, doing or saying anything in the name of good humor makes me smile. When I feel happy inside I have a pep in my step. I'm excited to get to work. I look forward to interacting with others. I produce more. I relax more. In other words, I live freer because I feel better ~ about myself and about others. 

Good humor is subjective, 
but happy is universally accessible

I'm not saying you have to change your name to Laughing to feel happy ~ though you're welcome to do so if you're a bit unorthodox and also don't mind the paperwork ~ but you can change your perspective on humor. And happiness. 

You can look at humor and positivity in the sense that all things are what we make of them. There are going to be days, maybe months, when life happens and you don't feel like being funny or happy. And that's okay. 

But when the dust settles, 

You can live with people sharing their woes. You can even live with your housekeeper retiring after a decade of admirable service, leaving you with a messy house, which will still be here tomorrow, so you might as well relax and ignore it until you hire a new housekeeper ~ or buy a can of Pledge.

"No one ever dies and says: 
'I wish I would have cleaned my house more!'"

Long story short

Like others who are drawn toward humor, I realized that good people reach out to us with their problems because humor really does bring us closer to one another. It reminds us that we're in this thing called life, together.

Dare I say, our followers become distant friends ~ and grateful friends. Because let's face it, we're all grateful when someone makes us smile.

Dear Friends of Happy Thoughts Travel Fast,

You may have noticed that over the last year or so, I quit blogging, and for the most part, left social media. I did so because I was in a rather serious ice skating accident, which combined with relentless emails, felt overwhelming. I am not a psychotherapist. I am not professing to have the answers to life, nor am I supernatural, nor do I understand the inherent nature of the number 42.

What I do know is this:

Humor is subjective. Humor enables us to laugh at life. Good humor helps us laugh at the awkwardness of living, not at each other. Comedy is the darker side of humor. It is the more mundane, profane, or veiled insults delivered utilizing comedy as a linguistic device. The latter rarely makes people "feel good" inside, and personally, I find it distasteful. My stance on this has been openly expressed since day one.

I would very much like to make the entire world laugh, to produce an abundance of happy thoughts and give them the nudge they need to travel throughout the cosmos, tickling funny bones everywhere. But let's face it. I'm not that funny. I am just a person who values humor for its personal and social benefits. I also value the benefits of having a positive outlook on life.

In the end, I'm a person who sees a glass and drinks from it ~ if I am thirsty. I don't fret about whether it is half-full or half-empty.

In the name of good humor and the inherent value in a good pair of socks,
Sophy Laughing,
aka: Soph Laugh

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