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Point of View: Leave ’Em Laughing

Wed, 01/17/2024 - 16:50

I wrote my obit not long ago — working on a weekly newspaper conferring upon you that privilege — and when I showed it to Irene, she broke out in uncontrollable laughter, which delighted me no end. Her reaction convinced me: I would, indeed, leave ‘em laughing.

I’ll not tell you what slayed her so, that would spoil it. Meanwhile, it rests in my top desk drawer, along with plastic forks and spoons, hearing aid batteries, inextricably entwined paper clips, and clumps of business cards, to be retrieved when the time comes.

In the interim I intend to have as much fun as I can, fun being essential to life. Interesting in that regard that having fun can also constitute an act of defiance, as was the case recently with the man who danced in Iran, a flight of fancy that took place in public and inspired his fellow oppressed citizens to cheer him on and to dance themselves much to the ayatollahs’ chagrin.

We’ve got to get beyond it — beyond the hatred and fear that poisons minds and results in so much alienation and in so many lives being cut short — and go, as the wonders of the world and of the universe would direct us, to delight.

Given the miraculousness of it all, “you’d think we’d never stop dancing,” said Lewis Thomas, who also said, my wife assures me from time to time, that species who cooperate, rather than contend with one another, thrive. Which is one reason I decided recently no longer to be such an a**hole when playing tennis.

It’s been a decision that has served me well. And, wonderful to tell, my placidity of late has, I think, taken my opponents off guard, used as they have been to seeing me invariably explode in fits of temper. I no longer dispute their calls, however questionable, I am obliging to a fault, and generous in according praise.

In brief, I’ve come to realize what they have known, to wit, that we should be happy we’re still alive and still playing. Still dancing, as it were, and still laughing.  

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