The Quote Hanger

"If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance."
- George Bernard Shaw

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Best Medicine

It's strange how you spot and retain little bits of insight from the most unlikely places. About two months ago, I was reading a lengthy interview of Anne Hathway's in 'Marie Claire.' She had apparently been in an approximately four year long relationship, which came to an abrupt halt when the man in question was imprisoned. A little while later, for her appearance on a talk-show, Hathway wrote and performed a humorous rap song, wherein there was a light-hearted reference to her former relationship. The interviewer seemed surprised by her ability to almost immediately joke about what must have certainly been an immensely traumatic incident. When she was questioned her about it, Hathway said, "That’s always been the way I deal with things. You make a joke of it. When you feel like a lot of things are out of your control, there is a certain power in being able to say, 'Ha! I’m laughing at it first." She goes on to say, "People deal with horrible things all the time. Downstairs in this pub someone has a parent who is battling cancer. Someone has just lost their job ... Life is really fucked up and it’s really painful sometimes." Laughter, according to her, is a way to "doggy-paddle" until one can accept the circumstances and move one. 

No, she certainly isn't saying anything extraordinary. I'm sure similar suggestions have been implied in a dozen different ways in self-help books or depressingly optimistic posters/cliches. But somehow, what she said in that interview seems to come back to me occasionally. A feeling of control does arise in being able to chuckle, if not laugh, at your so-called plight. Perhaps that's what makes Woody Allen films so endearingly funny and poignant.  

If you're able to laugh at something, it usually means that you're able to regard it objectively, to accept it, and to dismiss it as mildly amusing - and that is a gigantic step forward if you're anxious or distraught about that something. 

Well, those were my two cents for the Wisdom Jar, now here are Kurt Vonnegut's: "Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion.  I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward."