Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Now I'm Not Sure...


I've always been considered funny. Some think I'm hysterical. Occasionally I'm described as droll. I can go on rants...you've read them here if you follow the blog and find them amusing. I used to be the Queen of Sarcasm. Not so much any more. Every once in awhile, I'll get that blinding flash of the absolute ridiculousness of a moment and have to share it, but for the most part, my sarcasm stays closed up in the odd box which is my mind.

This guy is one of my all time favorite comedians. This is Lewis Black.

I once had some students ask me if I was his sister; a high compliment, indeed. This guy makes me laugh so hard sometimes that I can't breath. Really. I thought I would pass out one night when something he said sent me into convulsions.

He's made a good living pointing out the never ending stupidity of the world around us. And, he plays the part of a man on the edge of committing an angry killing very, very well. But, I'm pretty sure it's a highly crafted personae played for his audience's mirth. I don't think any person who is as intelligent and spends so much time studying the Human condition can be an angry, mean person. Not that they're mutually exclusive states of being...I just don't 'feel' that about Mr. Black.

Sarcastic? Oh hell yeah...he's sarcastic. A great, great master of sarcasm. Perhaps that's why I find him so funny...you have to be a really intelligent person to be good at sarcasm. Why? Because you have to be able to see things as they should be at the same time you are shaking your head at the stupidity of how it is in the current moment. You have to be smart enough to see the irony in the disconnect.

But, as I've gotten older, I've noticed that my particular brand of humor and sarcasm has really been dialed back. Well, not the humor because I can generally find something funny in any given day, but the sarcasm? That one I'm not such a practitioner of any longer. Now I'm not so sure that sarcasm is all it's cracked up to be.

I have started to view sarcasm as a passive aggressive mechanism used by most people. And, we all know how much I detest that sort of behavior. For gawd's sake, be brave, stand up and say what you think and feel and own it!

For the average person, being sarcastic is simply being mean and using humor' as a deflection tool. "Oh, he/she's not really mean, just sarcastic." Uh.....I'm not sure about that anymore.

I do believe a lot of people who use sarcasm are hurt, wounded people who hope to be liked because they're funny or amusing. That's not a new concept. Many would tell you the same. But as it relates to the people around me, I've been considering how we use our particular styles of humor in order to make the world around us better because we've shared a belly laugh, or use it as a weapon.

Michael's dad tells the best stories. Often they're about him and the craziness of raising eight children or something he experienced during his long career at Hanover Shoe or as a traveling sales man. Absolutely hilarious! My dad was the same way; he was a superb story teller and he would bring the entire room to hysterics over the Dietor Kids' antics.

My Lion can make me laugh so hard, I snort. I love that about him! He often catches me off-guard with a sarcastic comment that makes my sides hurt! The things he says are so incredibly spot-on and such a fantastic observation, that I have to admire that mind of his. Because I know him to be a kind man, I very rarely ever have that split second of thinking, "That was funny but mean!" It's just not in him to be mean.

However, I have a young friend who is very, very sarcastic. And, her sarcasm makes me cringe more than it makes me giggle. I don't have the courage to say, "You know, you might think you're being funny, but actually that's pretty snide what you just said." So I just remain silent. I l like this person very much and know she's having a hard time in life, and I suppose I just don't want to be one more ripple in her pond of crap. And yet...

I wish this person could begin to understand that just because you are smart doesn't mean you have to be a smart mouth. Just because you're very intelligent doesn't give you the right to point out all of those around you who are not as bright. Being smart doesn't give you the right to to categorize and advertise that someone is stupid. Being quick witted doesn't give you a free pass at being snarky. Being smart gives you the opportunity to be grateful for your gifts and abilities, not a verbal bully!

Being gifted doesn't mean you have the right to point out the foilbles of those less gifted. It doesn't give you free reign to tattle the short-comings and failings of those you must deal with and live with each day.

It's a huge mistake to think those individuals you think of as 'stupid' don't know they're not very bright. Many times they do. And, just because they're not very bright, cultured, worldly, erudite, doesn't give you permission to make them feel 'less-than' by how you react to them or respond to them or treat them. You do not have that right to use public forms of communication to post their latest example of dumb.

And, you do not have the right to use those individuals and your experiences with them as fodder for your sarcasm and your 'humor'! That's not funny....that's just mean. And, while you might think your friends find you funny when you do this- trust me, while they might laugh, they simultaneously experience a slight pull-back. At least, if they're nice people they will; nice people don't appreciate 'humor' at another's expense.

I wonder, if every time we thought we were being funny when we were actually being hurtful, if we had a slight heart attack, how often do you think we'd be so free with our 'jokes'? You know, nothing serious, just one of those quick squeezing pains in the chest...just enough to let us know we're not playing fair.

Well, I'm starting to think we do have the heart attacks. But, they're emotional and spiritual and take a bit longer to feel and recognize them. When you're going for the punch line and you feel a little uncomfortable because you did it...most likely that's your moral compass giving you the sign that it's not funny. You just have to start listening instead of shooting off at the mouth.

Why do we have those signs? Because we've all lived through being the butt of someone's 'joke' or sarcasm. We've been wounded by the flip back-hand of someone using our life as the stuff of their stand-up routine. And, knowing what it feels like to be the ass-end of an off-hand comment feels really, truly crappy.

You know what it feels like and you hate it! So why would you ever do it to another Human Being?! Do you do it to feel powerful and vindicated? Do you do it to get back some of your own? If so, I promise you that it doesn't last. And those around you who've listened to you cry because you've been hurt begin to wonder about you when they hear you being so snide and sarcastic. They begin to think, "Wow, if they'll do that to someone else, sure as hell, they'll do it to me, too!" You find out you're the King or Queen of Sarcasm without an audience as more and more people begin to steer clear.

If it truly was a perfect world...the world that I, The Queen of The Universe ran, I'd make sarcastic people wear anti-bark dog training collars. Yeah. That's what I'd do. And, every time they shot off their mouths at some one's expense... JOLLLLLTTTTT!

Now, THAT would be hilarious!

Namaste' Till Next Time,
Holly aka She Who Still Has A Funny In Her

3 comments:

Eva Gallant said...

What an excellent, thoughtful post. We do need to consider the feelings of others before we open our mouths!

gayle said...

I'm afraid sometimes opening my mouth is my downfall! Great post!

Dog Training Collars said...

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