Oh my God, if there is a God, these posts are getting way too serious in tone! Now, I certainly am not a depressive or pessimistic type of person, even if I am on the happy pills – my attempt at making some fun! One thing, I suppose, among many others, that the separates us from our animal brothers and sisters, is our capacity for laughter. And boy do we need to laugh at ourselves. Remember the old joke that goes something like this: any God who created creatures like us who have such an awkward way of making love must have had a sense of humour. At times we do take life way too seriously. Reading and writing an account of my responses to Gray’s riveting thoughts have more than ever convinced me that what’s needed is a good dose of humour.
Many years ago when I way in middle twenties I had to take a cousin on a walk up around Howth Head here in Dublin. When finally we got to the summit we had a 360 degree view of the whole of Dublin, land, sea and city and all. The landscape and seascape was nothing short of riveting except for one blemish on the picture. Right there below us we could see the rhythmic movement of white human cheeks - underpants and trousers down about the calves – as some fellow made love to his beloved. We laughed ourselves silly. Human life is made of such moments. It’s not all gloom, doom and dyspepsia as my erstwhile teacher Mr Bart Doyle, M.A. used to say. Because the poor man was so dark-featured, with a full head of black hair until he died at 61 and a rather husky voice we called him “Dracula” or “Drack” for short. He was, indeed, an erudite man, but oh so eccentric.
The scholars tell us that the word humour can be traced back to ancient Greek times as the term derives from the humoural medicine. This archaic theory held that the human make-up comprised a mix of fluids known as humours that controlled human health and emotion. Indeed, that’s why I used the word “medicine” in my title, and readers of this post will know that there was, and probably still is, such a column in the monthly edition of The Readers Digest. Without a sense of humour to keep things in context, we can be wont to get sick. I believe that laughter is one key way of letting out the stress that builds up within us. There are other ways, of course, like good exercise and diet, but humour helps greatly, especially if we find the other two difficult or even impossible. Literally humours (chymos, literally juice or sap) were the juice or sap of our very bodies.
Last night I possibly overdosed on humour, no bad thing indeed, by viewing the last four episodes of Series 1 of Fawlty Towers. I cannot remember when myself and Pat, my brother, laughed so much.
Fawlty Towers is a British sitcom produced by the BBC Television and first broadcast on BBC2 in 1975. Although only twelve episodes were produced (consisting of two series, with six episodes each), the programme has had a lasting and powerful legacy. I remember watching all the original episodes on BBC 2, then in their repeats on RTE. In fact so popular was the first series that it was repeated almost immediately. The show was written by Cleese and his then wife Connie Booth (Polly in the series), both of whom played main characters.
Picture of a lovely Dog Daisy, which I took some time in 2008