There’s a wonderful song and dance number in the middle of the film "Singin’ in the Rain" in which Donald O’Connor sings a song called "Make ‘Em Laugh." I’m in that strange position right now–we have a seriously ill friend far away in another city whose kids are asking us to send her amusing jokes and stories to cheer her up (but I won’t "sic" our Jokester friend on her because that would probably kill her outright!)
The news is so depressing these days that this isn’t an easy task, but every day I try to find something amusing in the newspapers or magazines I’m reading and send her daughters a link to it, so they can read it aloud to her (being modern young ladies, they can all get these–and read them–from their iphones).
I sent her a story from a major newspaper about how, at a recent spit-and-polish military gathering, "Chesty," the marine mascot, threatened the golden retriever of the Army chief of staff, before being subdued. It turns out that the wives of the top Marine brass have never liked Chesty, and want to substitute a more docile English bulldog for him.
Chesty has his own uniform with stripes on it. What did the Marines do after he growled at the other dog? They PROMOTED him–added another stripe to his uniform!
I’m sure our friend’s daughters will read the Bible to her and I’ve always liked to scandalize people whom I think take religion too seriously (which usually comes down to making a bunch of rules for the rest of us to follow) by pointing out that the Bible is actually a very funny book and that Jesus had a wonderfully ironic sense of humor.
If I can’t find anything funny in the reading matter I have, I look for some when I switch on the TV news at night. But what do I see? More bad news about protestors being killed or jailed in other countries. A hurricane in Florida, which is headed for New Orleans–site of the 2005 Republican fiasco of "Katrina." (Florida is where the Republicans are holding a convention to nominate candidates who want to end what he calls the "entitlements" of Medicare and Social Security–hey, maybe there IS a God after all!)
I can’t smile when Social Security is called an "entitlement," when I remember being a young working girl and getting a raise, then getting my paycheck and finding out I’d been bumped into a higher income bracket and was now taking home LESS than I had before. I’ve been paying into that program for too long to let anybody tell me I’m getting any kind of free ride. I PAID for my Social Security and so did you.
And when it comes to health insurance, I’d be GLAD to buy it, but nobody will SELL any to someone my age (I just had my birthday, but I’m not going to tell anyone how old I am. Let’s just say that I’ve left the "enhancement" phase and am now into "maintenance").
Alas, getting older is no joke, as our dear friend has learned (sigh). Well, let me see–didn’t I read something funny in the paper the other day?
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