'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
THESE ARE THE GOOD OLí DAYS
If you follow the news closely, either with a newspaper or radio, you know that things are pretty bad these days. If you follow the news closely with politically-oriented cable TV shows, you know the world is certain to explode any minute now, probably by next Tuesday. (If we do blow up, I think the explosion will be caused by all the hot air spewing from the screaming mouths of political pundits on cable TV shows.)
Even if you donít follow the news closely, you still know that things are pretty bad, because either you or a loved one is out of work and the odds of getting a decent job anytime soon are about the same odds that all the cable TV political pundits suddenly will begin speaking in thoughtful, measured tones. That is to say, zero.
But no matter how bad things are right now, at some point in the future people will refer to the current time as ďthe good olí days.Ē It could happen a couple of ways. If we eventually recover from this severe recession (reasonably possible) and if the government stops spending money it doesnít have (reasonably impossible), and if the majority of citizens have secure jobs and the quality of life is good, then people in the future will look back at this present era and say, ďThose were the good olí days when people had to pull together and sacrifice for one another. Sure, we didnít have much, but we got by. It was an opportunity to build character.Ē
(I know this is what they will say because that is exactly what Iíve heard some senior citizens say about the Great Depression. No one had a job and no one had any food, but they had character and they had each other. Apparently those desperate conditions produced fond nostalgia decades later.)
So if things get better, people will look back on this present moment in time quite fondly. But what if things get worse? What if our current troubles are just the beginning of a complete collapse of western civilization? What if the hysterical TV political pundits are actually right? (Oh God, please donít let that be the case!) Well, if that is what is destined to happen, then people in the future will look back at our day and age and say, ďThose were the good olí days when people actually had buildings to live in rather than caves, when they had real food to eat rather than tree bark and dirt, when they had iPods and electricity and teeth, which they didnít even need because they didnít have to eat tree bark and dirt. Yep, those were the good olí days.Ē
My main point is this: no matter how things turn out in the future, at this very moment we are in the midst of the ďgood olí days.Ē Instead of fretting and complaining about how terrible things are, we should be happy and joyful. We should take advantage of the current difficulties by pulling together and helping each other and building some positive character traits. While at the same time we should be thankful for the little luxuries of life, like iPods and warm beds and Hostess Fruit Pies and teeth. Who knows, all those things might be just a memory before we know it.
Iím glad I had this opportunity to offer some encouraging words that will make you feel happy and content. Whatís that? Youíre still not joyful despite my brilliant analysis? Well then, itís time to take drastic measures: turn off the damn TV.
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