Category Archives: relationships

Funny. What makes things humorous?

We’ve all got a funny bone

Actually it isn’t a bone. It’s the ulnar nerve. So why do we call it the funny bone?

There are two main ideas about that. One says it’s a pun on anatomy because the nerve runs along the humerus, which sounds like “humorous.” The other claims the nerve got its nickname because of the  odd (funny peculiar) feeling you experience after you hit it.

funny bone

funny ‘bone’

But humour hasn’t anything to do with your elbow unless when you bang it you make other people laugh. So . . .

What makes things funny?

Where do we register humour in our brains? Scott Weems tells us there’s been plenty of research into laughter.

His book Ha!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why explains in detail. But what about studying what it is that makes us laugh? Why do some of us find certain kinds of comedy funny but others don’t?

funny for life

humour is life enhancing

Humour appreciation appears to be based in the lower frontal lobes of the brain, a location associated with social and emotional judgment and planning according to imaging research. That might explain why people who have suffered strokes involving the lower frontal lobes of the brain may have alterations of personality which include loss of their sense of humour. Also why psychopaths whose brains are wired differently tend to have an infantile sense of humour.

Different types of funny

There are different kinds of humour including the following:

Affiliative humour – the style of humour used to enhance one’s relationships with others in a benevolent, positive manner. This style of humor is typically used in a benevolent, self accepting way. Individuals often use this kind of humour as a way to charm and amuse others, ease tension and improve relationships.

Self-enhancing humour is a style related to having a good-natured attitude toward life, having the ability to laugh at yourself, your circumstances and the idiosyncrasies of life in a constructive, non-detrimental manner.

Aggressive humour is a style potentially detrimental towards others. This type of humour is characterized by the use of sarcasm, put-downs, teasing, criticism, ridicule used at the expense of others. Aggressive humour often disregards the impact it might have on others. Prejudices such as racism & sexism are considered to be  aggressive humour.  At times it may seem like playful fun but sometimes the underlying intent is to harm or belittle others.

Self-defeating humour is characterised by the use of potentially detrimental humour towards the self in order to gain approval from others. Individuals high in this dimension engage in self-disparaging remarks where laughter is often at their own expense. Self-defeating humour often comes in the form of pleasing others by being the “butt” of the joke.

Does funny have a reason for being?

So what is the purpose of humour?

we need funny

what would life be without something funny?


Airing social taboos

If we can laugh at difficult subjects might we make it easier to discuss them? In my first collection of short stories Arsed End(s) I wrote about sexual harassment, boring relationships, funerals, infuriating hobbies and the end of the world. I’m a fan of dark humour. I think it has its place in this sub-category.

Social criticism

We can take a poke at local and national government, even specific ministers or presidents, corporations and institutions like Big Pharma or the police. George Orwell set his social criticism novel in a farmyard in Animal Farm. We could laugh at Napoleon the pig whereas in 1984 I don’t remember there being anything funny.

Consolidation of group membership

Jokes about one political party to confirm your allegiance to another. Humour based on the ‘easy’ life of a hospital consultant to establish membership of the junior doctor group. One football team against another. You get the picture.

Defence against fear and anxiety

Turning fears and anxiety into something to laugh about makes them less frightening: death, funerals, impotence, fear of flying, bad drivers etc.

Intellectual play

Clever sayings, puns and other plays on words. Witty reposts and dry one-liners. As Einstein said, creativity is intelligence having fun.

And that’s where I’d like us to leave it. Having fun. All this analysis of what makes things funny and how we assimilate that humorous information takes the shine off the fun, in my opinion. You have to wonder what the ancients laughed at. When some young blood cut his finger on his own sword in the Bronze Age you can bet the others didn’t sit around analysing what kind of funny they were sniggering at.

The oldest recorded joke in the history of mankind dates back to 1900 BC Sumeria:

“Something which has never occurred since time immemorial; a young woman did not fart in her husband’s lap”

It seems even the ancient Sumerians had a lavatorial sense of humour. I don’t get this ancient quip. I don’t find it at all funny. But I don’t know why. It doesn’t matter why. I obviously haven’t found all the answers yet to my questions about humour.

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Cheers! Have fun. Laugh a lot.

Take a Chance on Me

Take a chance on me. Who?

Who am I talking to? Who is it that needs to take a chance? What do the lyrics of the song say?

If you’re all alone when the pretty birds have flown,

Honey, I’m still free. Take a chance on me.

I loved Abba. And I loved the film Mamma Mia using Abba’s songs. The lyrics fitted the plot quite well. Okay, it was cheesy. The plot was thin. The acting, hmmm, predictable. But for a light-hearted romantic tale with some beautiful scenery thrown in, you could do worse.

And Julie Walters. Who could forget her rendition of the song? She wasn’t about to give up on the guy she had her sights on.

He looks terrified. But she keeps going. She’s willing to take the risk of asking him to take a chance.

So, what about me, then? Should I be getting out there doing a Julie Walters and targeting some bloke?

Err, no thank you. There are things I have to do first.

Who needs to take a chance on me?

I do.

I need to learn more about myself.

take a chance

questioning self

It’s a strange thing to reach this advanced stage in my life and come to the conclusion that there are things I still don’t know about myself. In my last post, I wrote about vulnerability. It isn’t a weakness. It’s the greatest strength humans possess – this willingness to be open and honest and take one’s chances in life with the people we meet.

But, see, the problems creep in when some of those people we meet don’t possess the same strength. They have ulterior motives. They hide them from you because they know if they were open and honest about what they had in mind, you’d run a mile. So they pretend to be something they’re not. Like the wolf in Red Hiding Hood featured in another previous post.

So, what’s a girl to do?

Keep Going

take a chance

four human endowments

How can we make the best of these attributes? It takes so much strength to overcome the negatives that sometimes come your way there are times when it’s easier to give in. You might think, ‘Is it all worth it?’ ‘What’s the point?’

The point is, what’s the alternative? You have to keep going. Don’t listen to those negatives in your thinking, telling you the bad stuff. You already know the bad stuff. The objective is to get out of the bad stuff.

take a chance

negative thoughts

I write from the heart. It’s who I am. I have all the tools I need to get out of the bad stuff and move on. Of the four endowments listed above I have conscience; I have independent will and I have an abundance of creative imagination.

I’m working on the self awareness.

I’ve identified areas of weakness.

You’d think I had all the confidence in the world if you knew the things I’ve done, the jobs I’ve had, the activities in which I took part. I won’t go into them all here and now. It’s enough to say I was never afraid to be in the public eye. Acting. Singing. Teaching. Selling my artwork at craft shows etc.

In the past I have had confidence to do many things. But when the aforementioned bad stuff comes along what happens to all that confidence?

It gets knocked out of you.

It’s a long haul upwards from the pit of overwhelming despair you find yourself in after years of emotional and psychological abuse. But, I’m hauling. I’m hauling.

I know some of my weaknesses. I make excuses for people who treat me badly. I don’t listen to my gut instincts telling me that something is wrong. I think I can make everything be okay when it’s obvious the situation is past redemption. I don’t like quitting when I should really walk away. I don’t have strong enough boundaries.

I’m finding out who I am.

take a chance

be yourself

Women of my generation learned from their mothers that the right thing to do is hang on in there when the relationship with the significant other faltered.

They didn’t have the pill in those days. They didn’t have the internet where all manner of information is readily available. They didn’t have the freedoms of women today. Many were completely dependent on their husbands.

Girls wanted marriage and a home of their own to start their own families. And in order to have those things it was necessary to have a good man to provide them. How lucky they considered themselves if they were Bobby’s Girl. If they wore his ring. If, if, if . . .

Girls grew up wanting to be chosen by the lad they had their eye on. My generation wasn’t taught how to be choosy instead.

So, here we are, then. Keeping going, recognising my own limitations so I don’t go and make the same mistakes all over again. Putting those boundaries in place. Learning how to recognise fakes and users.

Getting ready for whatever comes next. Writing from the heart.

take a chance

take a chance

The pretty birds have flown, Celia. You’re on your own now. You’re still free.

Wow!

 

(Leave a comment. I’m happy to hear from my readers.)

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/take-a-chance-on-me/”>Take a Chance on Me</a>

Daring not so greatly

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2015/08/12/daring-greatly/

Maybe we don’t realise how daring we are being when we write.

We just sit down and write words, don’t we? We write them in such a way as to make an entertaining story for our readers. We have a market in mind. There’s a particular women’s magazine that likes to see short stories about ordinary people with problems to face and how they overcome them. Another magazine prefers stories with a hopeful ending.

Blog readers want to read about the subject we’re known for. So we write blogs on topic and perhaps we do it with some humour and we add photos and memes and illustrations to make the whole thing attractive to the eye.

We want to connect

With our readers. With the world. We give of ourselves in our writing, not in a conscious way, I believe, but without deliberation. We are who we are and we give it. Give ourselves.  And by doing this we are exposing our vulnerabilities.

daring to be

daring to be

We give our opinions. We can’t help doing that. We don’t want to lecture but it’s almost impossible to write without giving opinions. They’re there in our writing whether we like it or not. Even when we don’t realise it, our opinions are hiding in the spaces between the words, between the lines.

My subtitle under the name of my website is ‘write from the heart’. It used to be ‘writer in Languedoc’ because I’d fallen in love with that part of France and couldn’t wait to write about it. I’d given my heart to a man and his son and moved there with them. After ten years he replaced me with another woman.

But I still love Languedoc and want to continue writing about it. I’m not strong enough to do that yet. Imagining the places I loved visiting or looking through my photographs still hurts me so I avoid it. I can’t write my Wicked Stepmother Chronicles now either because as well as losing my partner and my home, I’ve lost my stepson as well. Only insofar as I don’t get to see him everyday, though. When he comes to visit family in England he comes to see me too. So, you see, I wasn’t really Wicked. I made jokes about our differences. I gave my opinions on too many hours spent online gaming and the harm I thought it was doing. And my stepson understands this. He knows I was doing my best to help him make healthy choices. But it hurts that I can’t write either my Wednesday Vine Report or my Wicked Stepmother Chronicles because I’m somewhere else.

So today I’m writing something that isn’t hurting me.

daring courage

daring to be courageous

But it’s still from the heart. According to Brené Brown writing from the heart makes me courageous in the original sense of the word. I feel the things I write. And that makes me vulnerable. Here’s what Brené says:

She is FABULOUS. Watch all her videos. We can all learn from them. We can learn that it’s okay to be vulnerable. That it’s a necessary part of being human to feel our emotions. It saddens me that there are people who don’t have the opportunity to feel; people who are not only wearing shields or armour to protect them from their emotions but simply do not feel them in the first place. Or they experience emotions only in a shallow and fleeting way and to them vulnerability is the greatest weakness of all.

When I’m not writing posts for my website I’m writing about the people I’ve just described. I’ve known one intimately. He almost destroyed me. I thought I was weak, faulty, deficient in many ways. I was not enough of the things he wanted and too much of the things he came to despise. I know different now.

daring vulnerability

daring to be vulnerable

But I’m keeping my silence on the subject here on my website. For now. The book is coming along nicely and one day I’ll publish. Writing the book is giving me an inner strength and, encouraged by Brené Brown’s research, I know I’m doing the right thing.

daring strength

daring to be strong

It takes nerve to be vulnerable. It makes you nervous. You’re taking such risks in being human. Opening yourself to all manner of manipulation by deceitful people. But I have always been one who could cope with whatever life throws at me. I just wish it wouldn’t throw so much my way. Well, I’m still here. I’m still writing.

And now I can stop beating myself up. I’ve made my decision. I’m more informed. I’m not walking away from all the things that ‘give purpose and meaning to living’. I give of myself. It’s who I am. I want to continue loving life. I want to continue loving people.

daring to love

keep on loving

And keep on daring to be vulnerable.

 

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Silence is a dirty Yellow

Silence is supposed to be golden. Golden implies something of worth: a treasure. And I do think of silence like that, sometimes. I appreciate the quiet of a shady forest and a few snatched silent moments with a cup of tea at home after a busy, noisy day.

But there’s a place for everything. Staying silent when you ought to speak out against a wrong is cowardly in my opinion.

silence is dirty yellow

should you always keep quiet?

I don’t like having to keep my silence. But at the moment it’s probably the best way to go. I’ve taken down some of my previous posts in an effort to do what I hope is the right thing. At this moment.

silence is the best answer

keeping it simple

Words are powerful things. And you never know how somebody else might twist your intent. Words taken out of context are tricky. It’s quite possible that someone could make it look as if you said exactly the opposite from what you intended.

It’s so hard to stay silent when you’ve so much to say.

But needs must.

silence

Oh, I have plenty to say . . .

I have to carefully consider my options. Things are afoot. The very thought of those things makes my throat tighten. My stomach churns. My guts are all in a twist. I want to shout stuff from the top of the world. I want everybody to take notice and hear me. I want them to understand.

But I have to stay silent.

silence scream

I’m screaming, I’m screaming . . .

Please know that I’m not a coward. There is a very good reason for my silence at this time. I’m taking informed advice. I have to admit, it’s good advice. I can’t have things my way. I must do what’s sensible under the circumstances.

silence not a weakness

be patient

I’m exercising more strength in remaining silent than climbing to the top of the world and screaming my head off. You cannot begin to imagine what a hardship this is for me.

But I’m trying to find the positives in my new stance.

silence instead of rage

enigmatic silence?

I’m going to be very beautiful indeed, in that case.

There are a lot of lies being bandied about. My immediate reaction is to put people straight. Why should I have to suffer in silence? Don’t I have the right to tell the truth?

Yes. But not now. And not here.

silence and lies

the silent lie

I would rather have the freedom to tell my truth. Writing, as you know, is what I do when I feel well enough. I need the cathartic effect of writing my truth and it’s been taken from me. For now.

silence and struggle

writing as catharsis

My day will dawn. This I know.

I’m good at waiting. I’ve had a lifetime’s practice.

And when that day comes I’ll break this enforced silence on the subject at the heart of all these vague references. Friends and followers, bear with me, please.

I will not be silenced forever.

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