A sense of humour is like a bum – everyone has one, but everyone’s is different. My sense of humour has helped me to get through some very difficult times in my life, it gives me a difference perspective on things, it’s allowed me to laugh until my cheeks spasm and my tummy cramps, and, much like my bum, I couldn’t imagine living without it.
I suspect that my sense of humour was inherited from the Irish and English side of my family because I grew up in a family that took the piss out of each other regularly – in an affectionate way. Most of my family share this Irishness – dry wit, sarcastic and self depreciation.
For example, whenever I bought a boyfriend home, my middle brother, Michael, would say:
“Mate, can you leave your guide dog outside? Mum will lose it if another one shits in the house.”
To which the confused boy would reply, “but I don’t have a guide dog.”
“Oh, thank god for that,” Michael would say. “Give me your white cane then. You can pick it up on the way out.”
Some boys would get it and laugh. They were welcomed into the family. Those who didn’t understand that Michael was insinuating that any boy who found me attractive must be blind, didn’t stick around for long because we didn’t have enough in common. (Unless he was really good looking, because we all know that teenage hormones are no match for intellectual commonality).
My sense of humour has helped me to find the best friends of my life – simply because we laugh at the same things and can be ourselves around each other.
Home alone one night, and not feeling well, I rang my friend, Zoe, to see if she could come around and help me. She raced around and caught me as I passed out on the front door step. I was in my nightie because it was past midnight. In my delirious state I said to her;
“I’m so glad I put my undies back on before you got here.”
“Not half as glad as I am,” she said, causing us to burst into laughter.
Humour has redefined my perception of embarrassment. What would have horrified me in my teen years, now has me in fits of hysterics.
Twelve years ago my hubby and I took our two Golden Retrievers, Bodhi and Bailey, for a walk. Bailey was a bit of a scatter brain and would often change direction without warning. This particular time he stopped abruptly and then reversed into me, causing me to completely lose my balance. He startled and got out of my way quickly. Bodhi wasn’t so fast.
Like all good falls, it happened in slow motion. I felt myself falling through the air and put my hands out to catch the ground. But they didn’t catch the ground. They caught Bodhi – and clung on for dear life. His silky hair was in between my fingers as my knees buckled and my entire body weight was transferred onto my hands – onto Bodhi.
He stayed strong. I could feel all four of his legs begin to tremble under my weight as he struggled to stay upright, but the more of my weight he absorbed the more his legs shook until they gave out all together. He was flattened like a pancake. A big, soft, hairy pancake. I landed spread eagled on top of him. For me it was a luxurious landing- very comfortable. But for him it was less dignified.
The worst thing, although Bodhi may have argued this point, was that the position in which I landed looked as though I was trying to mount him from behind. The ten kids playing in the street thought it was hilarious, as did their parents – as did Jason. He had to wipe the tears out of his eyes prior to helping me back up.
Humour has helped me to move through very painful and difficult times of my life. Many years ago, my step father told me of his wish for his ashes to be cast out to sea, in line with his Buddhist beliefs. He said that he had organised this with the funeral parlour already. I told him that I would do it, because the thought of some stranger performing something so personal was wrong.
Five years ago, my beloved step dad passed away. I fulfilled every promise I ever made to him and was fortunate enough to be holding his hand as he began his eternal life. But when the time came to scatter his ashes, I just couldn’t do it. I still haven’t. I’m not ready yet. So, dad is still in my laundry. He always said he loved the water, but I don’t think the washing machine is what he had in mind. Mind you, he is on the top shelf, so at least he has a great view.
I am so thankful that my husband has the same sense of humour as me – I wouldn’t have married him otherwise- and that our children have inherited this Irishness. It gives me hope that whatever they face in their life, they will have the strength of a great sense of humour behind them , because, like a good bum, it will always be with them.