: all humor is based in sorrow :

And I’m the funniest person I know. That should tell you something. That should tell me something, but it hasn’t. Mine is not an examined life; I don’t look too closely. Not because of any dark, sinister pathology, but because it doesn’t occur to me. My mind is busy with other things. Fun things, compelling things. Okay, nonsense, mostly.

I came close to self-examination once, in my early 30’s, but it was short-lived. I went to a therapist for help sorting through a personal mess, decided the guy was a dope, and quit going after five weeks. He doggedly insisted my difficulties stemmed from my parents’ divorce; said I needed to go back and forgive the 13-year old I’d then been. Huh? My parents calling it quits was a non-event, if anything it was a relief. I’d barely noticed a difference.

And so here I am, long years later, still oblivious, still stumbling through a shambolic world. But my normally quiet landscape is shifting and it’s scary. In the last few months, I’ve been beset with personal insights and unwelcome epiphanies of all types, from all directions. I’ll be thinking about pirates or socks when I’m assaulted by a personal revelation. You think you know yourself, right? Well, heh, don’t count on it.

When I try to frame a thought in conversation, I’ll get swept away in an undertow of emotions and wind up floundering, visibly struggling to hold myself together. Some people, albeit mercifully few, can drop me with a look or a word, a gesture or a touch — they’re my kryptonite. My heart swells, tears brim, and I’m terrified a sob is going to burst forth, so I panic and close up tight. It’s mortifying.

Earlier this summer, I was gobsmacked by a stunning epiphany: I’m Boo Radley (from To Kill a Mockingbird). That was a jaw-dropper, but now it seems like a glaring truth. See, I’d imagined myself as Super Girl or Wonder Woman, someone powerful and invincible and fearless. Boo Radley was never on the radar. Which proves what an absolutely top-notch whiz I am at self-deception.


How could I miss that? I have all the earmarks: I’m awkward, I’m reclusive, make no effort to fit in, have the emotional I.Q. of a melon, and I hide things, little tokens, for people to find — just not in tree trunks. The one stark difference is, I’ve never stabbed anyone — not with scissors and not with a kitchen knife. I’ve impaled a few with a pretty sharpish look, though.

After the shock wore off, I remembered an unresolved and ongoing disagreement with a friend of mine over what film deserves Best Movie Ever status. He went with The Wizard of Oz — a notable choice — but I held out for To Kill a Mockingbird. I’ve seen it probably 50 times, read the book a dozen, and each time I’m engulfed with a deep, abiding homesickness. The fact I’m at home provides no mitigation whatsoever; something basic and ineffable is missing. I’ve no idea what.

Do you know where I found hope and solace? In the wise and immortal words of Whitesnake:

I am, and will always be, the girl hiding in the corner. I’ve come to accept my fate. I don’t necessarily embrace it, but I’m fine with it nonetheless.

copyright © 2017 the whirly girl

60 thoughts on “: all humor is based in sorrow :

  1. I wish I could write something to make you feel better but I just don’t have that talent. I’d typed up something but it just wasn’t the right thing to say.


  2. Thanx Whirly girl.
    Humor is a coping meganism. Alice in Wonderland would have been my choice still helps me in every problem. When ever trying to solve a problem START AT THE BEGINNING.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First time here, but I like your humor. it isn’t in your face, outlandish, and laced with profanities like a lot of humor is these days. It was pleasant, and made me smile. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is great, so eloquently described and extremely relatable at least for me. I’ll meet you in the corner!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I found your post a breath of fresh air. It seems that we live in a world today where people are not only concerned with others’ personal business through social media, but also overwhelming wrapped up in their own superficial nonsense. I’ve not come across many that openly show they value self introspection. It’s not always fun to self examine and work on your self. It takes a lot to get your self to a therapist or at least some sort of counselor. I, just recently, started to going to one of my own to figure out why I’m such a negative person. I tend to back away from opportunities instead of rise to them. I become overwhelmed with laziness or lack of motivation due to, what I presume is, fear of some sort.

    My counselor is working with me to help me pinpoint where my motivational issues are stemming from so they can be extricated from me; inevitably allowing me to live a happier and more full life. But before decided to seek outside help, I was conducting years of my own self examination and reflection trying to grasp on any thought I could that would give me answers. It can be pretty daunting, if not terrifying; especially when you stumble onto a thought you didn’t realize was there that reveals something startling to you about yourself.

    So cheers to you for confronting your self realizations and good luck finding your answers. You’re unique in the fact you care about the deep stuff.

    Also, one thing self introspection has provided me: being able to have a deep conversation with your own mind gives you insight into having deep conversations with other people. Maybe every interaction doesn’t have to be just garbage small talk. Maybe you can work out your own thoughts with another person. Ask the same questions to others that you address with subconscious. Its a wonderful conversation tool and an attempt to open up other people to self introspection without crowbarring it down their through. Some may even appreciate the efforts of going below surface level with them. Forget the hey, how’s your day goings or the way-too-easy “what’s up?” Get deep with someone. Ask them the last thing that truly made them organically grin ear to ear and start going down that rabbit hole and see where that happiness stemmed from.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m pretty familiar with rabbit holes. In fact, much of my time is spent jumping down them with both feet! It’s fun!

      Thanks for the advice and good luck!


  6. I was NOT expecting this post to resolve with ” the wise and immortal words of Whitesnake”!! Love that. This made my whole day. Thanks!!!! :)


  7. So…
    A person with the IQ of a melon (I notice you don’t say what KIND of melon (a crucial distinction)) thinking about pirates, or socks, or pirates in socks (Arrrrr!) would obviously confuse the greatest movie ever…
    Everyone knows it’s The Princess Bride, which has both Pirates and socks (after a fashion…)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I recently heard a comedian say something similar about humor’s foundation in sorrow. (Most likely an interview on Fresh Air with Terry Gross :) It gave me pause…

    Oh, and I remember Mel Brooks talking to an interviewer about his Hitler slapstick – making those jokes allowed him to express his outrage.

    Humor can be a healer, I think.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Those little drawings are an absolute delight always.Just want to let you know, think whatever you want to think about yourself,I am so delighted to be knowing you and the beautiful person that you are and it always strucks a chord whenever I see your post on the reader.And to all those good for nothing tiny section of kryptonites send them a ferocious glare and the next instant amaze them with your powerful words.You will do much better than those.I can tell you that.Sending virtual love and respect.Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, you’ve warmed my heart :o)

      One thing, though: the people who drop me are the ones who matter. They’re the ones with direct access to my carefully hidden soft spots. That’s why they’re my kryptonite.

      I know, it doesn’t make any sense 🤷‍♀️

      Liked by 1 person

  10. But that’s the wonderful thing; you’re not hiding in the corner, are you? You’re out, sharing wonderful stuff like this with us.
    Or, maybe, the internet has become the tree in which you hide stuff?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re very kind :o) And incredibly perceptive. I hadn’t thought of the Internet as another knothole, but, yep, it sure is.

      I do get out and I can pass as normal for short, limited periods. Once the baffled expression appears, I wrap it up and pretend I’m late for an appointment 💁🏻

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I know exactly what you’re talking about! I…I usually just push it way out of my mind and try to go back to thinking about cool thimgs. Like music or socks or pirates or whatever.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Your sense of humour (OK, humor, it’s your post!) allows you to tackle deeper issues with aplomb. Which reminds me, the tap’s dripping, must phone a plumber! No, seriously, enjoyed it!

    Liked by 1 person

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