The Funny Bone

The Funny Bone

Joke – Something said or done by a person or group of people with the objective of eliciting laughter from the spectator or audience.

Most of us have heard that laughter is the best medicine. This is completely true in my opinion. The problem however, is making the right joke. What any person considers funny varies depending on the person’s interests and surrounding environment. But one common thing that we can find is the object of interest. This object of interest is normally a person who is put in a particular scenario. In other words, it is very difficult to make a joke without hurting someone’s feelings.

We have heard our parents say – “Make sure your friends laugh with you and not at you”. This is a feat that is impossible to accomplish because we have also been told not to torture a person for the amusement of others. Those statements contradict each other. We frequently choose to ignore the latter while latching on to the former with zeal. We always try to make fun of others while trying to someone laugh. Any simple joke we make about a person is an attempt to ridicule them. This includes everything from the way someone talks to racial stereotyping. But why is this still being done?

We need to learn how to laugh at ourselves. When we laugh at our mistakes, we have dealt with the fact that it was a mistake and we have also learned from it to the extent of making it sound silly. There are still jokes that involve harsh stereotyping of people; racial, gender, sexual, financial, religious and so on. The list is endless. When we consider this, a few questions come up:

  • How can we laugh at something that is part of our identity?
  • Does that mean it is alright to make fun of people’s characteristics?
  • What is the limit to making fun? Are there any boundaries?

Don’t laugh at something that is part of your identity, which you value a lot. If someone makes a joke about it, tolerate it once and communicate it to that person that you are not comfortable making jokes about it. If they still continue, avoid engaging in conversation with them. If it is not possible to avoid them on account of them being your business acquaintance or similar, try to keep the conversation to the point and professional. Casual conversation might not be something that might ever work out if they are too rigid. Another option which I have found that works for me is a come back. This shows the person that you tolerated the joke they made and also that you were not comfortable with it. Hence you responded with a joke of your own. Unfortunately, not everyone is as witty as Jerry Seinfeld or George Carlin.

Moving on to the next question, it is never appropriate to ridicule people based on their characteristics. But if the person takes the joke in stride and doesn’t feel offended it might be tolerated for a few times. A general rule of thumb that I follow is that if I make a joke about a person’s characteristic I prepare myself for a joke that will be made on one of my own. It doesn’t always work because the comfort level of people towards various topics varies vastly.

The last and most important question is about where to draw boundaries. This is something that should be remembered by everyone. Don’t take a joke to a point where it becomes humiliating. If the person you’re making a joke about is not laughing when the others are, it is generally an indication to stop. Everyone likes a funny person. But not everyone can take being made fun of. To this I say, “Know your audience”. Some examples are : Don’t make fun of vegetarians at a Jain household. You can expect trouble if you make fun of religion in a place of worship and so on.

Finally I would like to say one thing about making jokes. There is a time and place for everything. Know this and you are good to go. Keep laughing and stay healthy! Cheers!

PS : I wrote this post because of a conversation that I recently had with a close friend. I also write this post to symbolize my long overdue return to blogging. It’s good to be back.

-Anniyan

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Ghostly Encounters

Hello readers! I am here to recount what happened in my hostel whilst we were celebrating a hostel-mate’s birthday at 12 AM today.

It all started when I was leaving to office on Tuesday morning. I thought I saw a group of people piling up pieces of wood in the open ground that is diagonally opposite to my hostel. In the midst of this peculiar pile of wood, I spotted something that was wrapped in a white cloth. As I stood there observing this scene, One man lit up a torch and set fire to the wood pile. It was then that I understood that a poor man’s funeral was under way.

I was completely unaffected by this incident and went on my way. The day drew on as would any other day and towards the evening, I returned from office a bit early in order to plan something for our friend’s birthday. Me and another friend went to the nearest cake shop and bought a birthday cake. On the way back, my friend chose to relieve himself in the open ground behind some bushes.

After he was done, I mentioned that there was a small funeral taking place in the morning very close to where he attended nature’s call. The look I saw on his face can only be described as one of pure terror. His pace increased and asked me to walk faster and get back to the hostel soon. This was at around 10 PM. I didn’t pay much heed to this and walked back with him to the “safety” of the hostel.

The rest of the time was pretty uneventful. We had all gathered in my room and talking about general stuff when my friend nervously narrated what happened on our way back. This seemed to make almost everyone uneasy. Then I remembered that I had forgotten to buy a knife with which to cut the cake. So I asked a friend to join me to the kitchen downstairs to get a knife. The kitchen was completely dark except for the street light pouring in through the small window.

I found the knife and turned to leave when my friend screamed out. I was a little confused and thought he took a tumble. But he then pointed to the shadow on the wall that looked very much like the one from the thriller movie Psycho. I smiled at him and said it was just a shadow. We then made our way back to the room and celebrated our friend’s birthday in the highest of spirits.

Although, I was wondering all the time why people are so afraid of ghosts? You might ask me, “Aren’t YOU afraid?” To that I say, I don’t believe in ghosts. I can’t be afraid of something that I don’t even believe in. That said, I am still wondering what makes even the most macho man tremble like a cup of jelly on mention of ghosts. Any answers?

Mudhal Ezhutthu

Hello blogosphere! AnniYan here. I have been dormant for quite some time now. I had a small thinking session at office yesterday and chose to end my dormancy and get back into the blogging world. That said, let me get on to explaining the title; both of the blog and of this post.

I am a Tamilian by birth. However, I did not write my first words in Tamil. So I want to take this opportunity to attribute this post to the first words I wrote. Hence the title – Mudhal Ezhutthu. It means “First alphabet”. Now let me come to the title of the blog  The title is not something new. Most of my old visitors would remember it as the title of a page in my old blog Care to take a Look? I have explained it there. But let me still give you the meaning of the title. It means “The handwriting of a Stranger”.

The reason I started this blog is to make an identity for myself in this world. I started blogging 4 years. I compare between myself then and now. And I realize that I have changed significantly. Most of these changes are positive. There are a couple of negative (according to society) changes too. However, I consider them assets to my personality. This blog is going to be my signature; my identity.

That said, I would like to wrap up this post by making a small disclaimer. I will not post anything new in my old blog. So for all my regular(still??) readers, join me here. Signing off, AnniYan.