Back in the day there was a term used to describe “a crazy person”….. that person is a real “nut”. And where do you think “nuts” lived…. yes, in the “Nut House”. The “Nut House” was where you put “nuts”…. a derogatory term for a psychiatric hospital or insane asylum.
It wasn’t uncommon for my mother to tell us that we were “driving her to the Nut House”…. of course one of my brothers would mumble under his breath, “I thought this was the nut house”.
After a recent BLOG entitled “Blame It On The CoronaVirus”, I realized that we need to get back on track with these BLOGS. I don’t want to get sent to the “Nut House”. I had already received a call from Dr. Leo Marvin … you may remember him from the movie “What About Bob”. I’m reading Dr. Marvin’s ground breaking book “Baby Steps”, and feeling much better.
At the same time, I do think it’s important to intersperse a bit of humor in the BLOGS during these crazy times. Humor can often break the ice.. a good laugh can enable the tension to disperse like the air going out of a flat tire, or something like that. The Webster Dictionary defines “gallows humor” as “humor that makes fun of a life-threatening, disastrous, or terrifying situation.” Sometimes situations are so painful or seemingly hopeless that you need to either laugh or cry.
Former President Eisenhower said “a sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done”. As the top general in WWII and then President during the cold war with Russia, Ike must have needed to occasionally crack a few jokes to keep everyone sane.
Growing up with a bit of craziness in our home, someone would frequently say something to break the ice… to let some of the air out of the tire before it popped. One time we were driving to Sunday mass (my mother, my sister, 2 brothers and me) and we had an incident with this other motorist who was about the size of Jumbo Elliott’s older brother Igor… he got out of his car, berated us, and threatened bodily harm. We were smart enough to keep our mouths shut and said “Yes sir…excellent point… thank you”. From that time on he was known as “Big Bad Mr. Bang”. In the future when anyone was really out of line, he was called “Big Bad Mr. Bang”. Maybe it’s not that funny, but it relieved a bit of the tension at the time.
Another time we stopped to get something to eat and ordered pancakes with great anticipation. When they arrived , my mother exclaimed…. “these things look like RUGS”. Wow, they were pretty big, but “RUGS”. So for the next 50 years a classic phrase was “Remember the RUGS”….chuckle, chuckle. Again, maybe not that funny, but it broke the tension…. at least for the moment.
Finding something funny in a difficult situation can often help us get through it. Mother Angelica said “try to laugh a lot because life is funny and everybody is too serious…. the only tragedy in the world is sin.”
Sometimes I wonder if Jesus ever “rolled his eyes” as he watched the funny things people did. In one of his nightly prayer sessions with his father, did he ever fall down laughing as he reviewed his day….”father, can you believe what Peter said today….”. What do you think? I think maybe so. Boy, I bet Jesus had a great laugh. Really. I look forward to hearing that laugh.