Monday, November 7, 2011

Coping Mechanisms: Humor

Still feeling pretty funky.  I'm working on a post about medical testing on mental patients, which is really fascinating, but it's requiring more energy than I'm capable of right now.  So, in the meantime, I thought I'd talk about another coping mechanism:  humor.

It's pretty self-explanatory.  Read, watch, or hear stuff that's funny, and usually you can't help but smile.  I was feeling pretty low yesterday, but when I started reading some of the entries over at, I was laughing so hard I was crying.  It's nice to cry over something other than crushing hopelessness.

I don't subscribe to the whole "Just turn that frown upside-down!" school of depression triumph -- in fact, I want to stab people who say stuff like that with a sharpened broom handle.  But I do think that humor can offer a temporary respite from some pretty crappy feelings.  Interestingly, a lot of comics and humorists suffer from depression and other mental illness, so maybe there's something to humor as a way to cope.  As Erma Bombeck said, "If you can laugh at it, you can live with it."

Here are some other amusing links. 

The Institute of Offical Cheer, from James Lileks.  I love James Lileks; his writing style is witty and intelligent.  My personal favorites at the Institute are a tour of The Gobbler, a fabulous (yet, sadly, gone) Wisconsin motel, and  Art Frahm:  A Study of the Effects of Celery on Loose Elastic.  Art Frahm was an illustrator that painted pin-up girls who usually:  a)  were carrying groceries, including celery; and b) were losing their underwear.  It's very weird.

Love, love, love the site  Hilarious.  You just have to wonder what the hell some of these people were thinking.

Sh*  Pretty self-explanatory, but for anyone who has had a kid screw something up, it's painfully familiar.

The fit & fabulous MerlinCat  No, this is not another (also known as LOLCats) site -- I think this was actually around first.  It's funny because the cats all look so pissed off -- which is pretty much the natural state of a cat's demeanor.  Speaking of which, this is a hilarious cartoon about hating cats.  (And, yes, I have a cat, but that doesn't mean I can't make fun of them, too).  In case you live under a rock and have never heard of (it was on Jeopardy!, for cripe's sake), it's a "news" site that posts user-submitted current event links with user-submitted headlines.  Example:  "Naked guy wanders around Dulles airport, perhaps trying to beat TSA to the punch."

No discussion of internet humor is complete (not that this is a complete discussion, but whatever) without a mention of The Book of Ratings.  I mourn the loss of, which was an offshoot of The Brunching Shuttlecocks.  Lore Sjoberg, the writer, inexplicably commented on and graded totally random things -- everything from marsupials to the seven deadly sins to Dante's punishments.  Sadly, I can't find the ratings online anymore.  There is an actual book (book?  paper?  what's that?), which is a small comfort, and I do own it, but I could read ratings all day long and pee my pants laughing so hard.  And I mean that literally, now that I've had kids.

Since you can't find the ratings online anymore, I'll post one of my favorites that I managed to dig up:
From "The Ratings for Dante's Punishments":
The Blasphemers
Burning sand and rains of fire, all for those who said things like "Jesus f*ck, that's one God-be-buggered big-ass fajita plate," plus the entire London cast of Jesus Christ Superstar. It doesn't make it clear whether you can get away with phrases like "Gosh darn cripes," which would have been good to know. Anyhow, if you do these things you have to lay down in the sand. I think it would have been a more appropriate punishment for evil sunbathers, but that's why I'm not Pope. Among other reasons.
 I'll leave you with that thought.  Hope you're smiling.

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