On Being Sad
Updated: Apr 24
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 would 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. Yikes, the woman had had so many tragic things happen to her during her life. I could not find humor in her circumstances and nicely 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.