On Being Sad
MY BLOG’S TAG LINE is that I am an author and humorist. I try to see things in a funny vein, perhaps, so I don't cry.
I knew I was funny even as a little kid and it wasn’t used to mask sadness as psychologists like to banter. I just was mischievous, and this seemed to create funny outcomes that got people laughing, including me. I was also self-effacing trying to calm a powerful personality. People just naturally liked me. Humor seemed to be in my universe at every turn. I was voted most fun to be with during an end of high school awards banquet. It fit me to a T, even if I was embarrassed to go up on stage to receive my trophy.
A good friend asked that I tackle writing a biography about his mother’s life a few years ago. I read a fifteen-page synopsis prepared by his sister after the mother had died unexpectedly, in her late fifties. Yikes, the woman had had so many tragic things happen to her during her life. I could not find humor in her circumstances and declined his offer. I said, “Gene, there is not a thread of humor I could garner from this account of your mom. Christ, I’m a humorist, this is not what I do.” We both laughed at my honesty as we downed another ale at our local watering hole. It was a Greek tragedy by all accounts. Gene’s mother was Greek. We think Gene is too.
So, I have developed this essay today because I believe that balance is critical to one’s existence and I do admit to being tearful at times, in public too; and always I feel better after such a response. Sad helps you contend, it makes you resilient in this rather difficult world.
I found a poem by 102-year-old Kirk Douglas that he penned after one of his sons died from a drug overdose. It sets my stage and brings tears to me every time I read it, and it is offered as my balancing act for those that wish I wasn’t so funny.
I sit by your grave and weep,
Silently, not to disturb your sleep.
Rest in peace my beautiful son
It won't be long before we are one,
While I lie down by your side.
And talk, no secrets to hide.
Tell me, Eric, what did I do wrong?
What should I have done to make you strong?
Now I sit here and cry,
Waiting to be with you when I die.
Kirk Douglas from Life Could be Verse.