Laughing Matters

A Facebook friend who I love so much wrote:

“Please think twice before making posts that joke about the COVID-19 virus. There are many of your friends that have loved ones with compromised immune systems that this is impacting, XXXX being one of them. We received a phone call from XXXX’s pulmonologist at Mayo Clinic on Monday specifically to inform us that XXXX is extremely susceptible to contracting the COVID-19 virus.”

As a person who has written and performed humor for decades and spent her entire life making people laugh, I’d like to respond.

I believe the majority of jokes are not intended to diminish the seriousness of COVID-19 or the sadness experienced by people who have or will lose a loved one it is a way to deal with our fear, anger, and feelings of powerlessness. Like my friend’s loved one, I have a target on my back with my age, asthma and now they say if you have type-A blood you are less likely to be able to fight it. I have A+ blood.

In my mind right now, I am sitting in my home waiting for a knock at the door and a tall, dark, and not necessarily handsome figure will be there challenging me to a game of chess and I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PLAY CHESS!!!!!!

In Viktor Frankl’s book “Man’s Search for Meaning” discussing not just his experience in a Nazi concentration camp but how a person survives when life seems to be intolerable and common sense would say give up. He writes:

“The attempt to develop a sense of humor and to see things in a humorous light is some kind of a trick learned while mastering the art of living…. Humor [is] another of the soul’s weapons in the fight for self-preservation. It is well known that humor, more than anything else in the human make-up, can afford an aloofness and an ability to rise above any situation, even if only for a few seconds.”

I think about my dear friend Dale Wolf who fought and then surrendered to cancer – the whole time using her gift of humor. Even writing her own obituary.

So to my Facebook friend, I mean no disrespect to you or your legitimate concern, but I will keep making jokes to keep myself (and maybe others) from curling up in the fetal position and waiting for death. And, if this disease kills me I hope my last words will be ones I plagiarized: “Dying is easy; comedy is hard.”

Now I have to go online and find a tutorial on how to play chess.