Saturday, June 30, 2007
On Humor and Aging
There's an old joke. Two elderly women are at a Catskills mountain resort, and one of them says: "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know, and such... small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about life. Full of loneliness and misery and suffering and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly. The other important joke for me is one that's usually attributed to Groucho Marx, but I think it appears originally in Freud's Wit and its Relation to the Unconscious. And it goes like this--I'm paraphrasing: Uh . . . "I would never wanna belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member." That's the key joke of my adult life in terms of my relationships with people. You know, lately, the strangest things have been going through my mind, because I turned fifty, and I guess I'm going through a life crisis or something, I don't know. I'm not worried about aging. I'm not one of those characters, you know. My teeth are a little yellowed, that's about the worst you can say about me. I think I'm gonna get better as I get older, you know? I think I'm gonna be the yellow-toothed, virile type, you know, as opposed to say the distinguished gray-haired type, for instance, you know? Unless I'm neither of those two. Unless I'm one of those guys with saliva dribbling out of his mouth who wanders into a cafeteria with a shopping bag screaming about socialism.