I am a humanist, but I would love to be a humorist. I believe Humans are rare and odd creatures. Our world is in turmoil. People are being murdered, hungry, enslaved, mistreated, and by no other than our own hands. There is nothing new here; this state of being has always been so, evidenced in our short history on the planet. Now, the horrors are communicated globally at breath-taking speeds.
To counter the ill will, hatred, and despair, I have been thinking, instead, about what delights us. The art of humor: distinctly human, cultivated over generations; sometimes used to communicate complex ideas, other times to relieve tension.
The art of making people laugh with words is one talent I wish I possessed. I love a good joke and a well turned phrase. I am especially fond of the paraprosdokian: a figure of speech in which the latter part of the phrase changes the direction of the original meaning in a manner that surprises. Here are some of my favorite examples:
- War doesn’t determine who is right…only who is left. – Bertrand Russell (? maybe)
- Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.
- I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening…but this wasn’t it. – Groucho Marx
- You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.
- The voices in my head may not be real, but they have some good ideas.
If you have a good one, please share it with me.