A Tragic Comedy

About a year ago, my school was having a used book sale, and being the bargain hunter I am, I picked up a random book that was priced at $1.00. To my surprise, I have been extremely surprised with this book that deals with the topic of healing through laughter and humor. The author, Dr. Moody (ironic name by the way), is a trained physician and specialist in the area of therapeutic humor. In his book Laughter After Laughter: The Healing Power of Humor (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/497412.Laugh_After_Laugh), he claims that “having the type of sense of humor in which one is able to make a comic view’s of life’s ups and downs is important to health” (Moody, 1978, p.120). He goes on describing several cases in which medicine has done all it could, and the power of laughter played a huge role in the patient’s healing process. Throughout his book, Dr. Moody (1978) illustrates the fact that “humor and health are not unrelated notions at all” (p. 7). The two go hand in hand.

There is a philosophy in my family that we’ve set into place that whenever something extremely tragic happens to one of us, there are two options in hand: you either laugh or cry. Throughout numerous unpleasant situations, including finding out I had Crohn’s disease, I have fallen back to this philosophy. Although easier said than done, laughing is definitely the best choice. I have always been the one to laugh when it was not exactly appropriate. When this condition hit me, it was no exception. Of course, my initial response was to cry voraciously until my lacrimal glands went beyond overtime. After numerous tissue boxes, I resorted to learning more about it and finding out what I could do. To make a long story short, I realized that I could use humor to power me through this situation, and so far it has helped a lot. There are days in which could be considered “bad,” but somehow the good ones always outweigh the dreaded ones. I decided that I was going to use this situation as an opportunity to help others through it, and bring a smile to their faces. I now consider my a blessing in disguise.

Famous for her newspaper columns 60’s to the 90’s, humorist Erma Bombeck claims that “there is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” I really believe that this statement speaks to all of us. In English classes, we have all been exposed to several classic tragedies. Off the top of my head I can think of Sophocles and his Antigone, Shakespeare’s thought-provoking Hamlet, and the intriguing The Crucible by Arthur Miller. I’ve always wondered what these stories would sound like if they were told in a different tone, as if narrated by Ron Howard in the critically acclaimed sitcom Arrested Development. I’m pretty sure Antigone’s rebellious nature would cause her tons of troubles in her family dynamics, but with her wits and charm, she could have possibly spared her from the trials she encountered with uncle, King Creon. Hamlet would have definitely played enticing pranks on Claudius in attempts to avenge his father’s death. Also, the hysteria displayed by the citizens of Salem could have been played up as humorous punch lines and made the book completely different. The elements of comedy and tragedy are the same: the struggles of life. The main difference is that comedies end in a happy-ever-after, while tragedies result in all cast members lying dead on the floor. We face the same conflicts. They are themes that are intertwined into our journeys, and our lives are composed of both a little comedy and a little of tragedy. The choice is ours to opt which one will shine through. As life gives you lemons, you can make into delicious lemonade. The power is in our hands to either laugh or cry!


3 responses to “A Tragic Comedy

  • jvr621

    I’ve had the motto “If I’m laughing, I’m not crying.” for years & years now. Until my friends make me laugh so hard I cry. But that’s welcomed.

    • vinniecabido

      I really think humor is the best way to go about it. At least your burden is not as heavy. Laughing is also contagious, so having a laugh about it can help alleviate the pain sometimes.

      • jvr621

        It really has helped. I have amazing friends & I know they aren’t making fun of me. It also shows the research & attention to my disease they pay when they have jokes already in their wheelhouse.

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