I stared at the headline in disbelief. This world offers up many strange things, I know. You can’t be a nurse for any length of time before you run headfirst into the impossible, the insane, or at least the definitively ill advised. But here we are, looking at the New York Times, a reasonably well respected journalistic outlet, reading that Russian Prosecutors Probe Parasailing Donkey.
Somewhere, a Times editor is laughing his head off. Not at the story, which is little more than a questionable marketing stunt that left a donkey dangling above the Azov sea, braying its displeasure as the waves crashed beneath its hooves for half an hour.
It’s the headline itself that’s funny – read it aloud to anyone at random, a colleague, a friend, a stranger on the street – and you’ll get at least a chuckle. The words are so absurd – the juxtaposition of donkeys and parasailing so unexpected – that the only thing you can do is laugh.
Sometimes, you can’t make this stuff up!
That’s the beauty of humor. You don’t have to BE funny to SEE funny. A major part of the effort to integrate humor into your life on a more regular basis – whether you’re doing this as a way to manage stress, increase your physical and emotional health or just have more fun – is learning how to view the world through a selective lens, keeping our eyes open to the things that are (perhaps unintentionally) funny that pop up in everyday life.
There were countless headlines in the Times this week. What went wrong in the Gulf? What is Goldman Sachs doing to the market now? Are academics seeing the end of the tenure tradition? All important, worthy questions, worth considering.
But it’s just as important, just as essential for our souls, our well being, our ability to cope with a world of oil spills and investment bankers, that we consider other things as well. Things that make us laugh. Things that make our heart delight. Things that are just too silly to be taken seriously.
When we see Russians Probing Parasailing Donkeys, that’s a gift from the universe – delivered, perhaps, via an editor’s twisted perspective. Smile. Laugh. Give thanks you’re not a donkey. Recognize the benefits that are part of your existence and go forth with a merry heart to share the joy. Ponder the existence of aviation goggles for donkeys, to be worn with a leather cap and a white scarf knotted around the neck and mane. You don’t have to be funny. You only have to see funny!