Never have I ever made as many bad jokes and puns as I have in the past month. People who have had to spend some time with me in this period, well you know what I am talking about. I honestly expected to get beat up by some of you just because of how lame my puns were but seems like people are more tolerant than I thought (or they are scared of hitting me, I don’t know anything is possible). So today I decided to talk about what makes me create all these “jokes” that might actually want to make some people hit me. Humor as an emotion has been difficult to understand even for the greatest of philosophers. There hasn’t been a satisfactory explanation as to why people laugh at some things said in a certain way and not at other times. We have managed to categorize it into 4 divisions though. The jokes we make to create new friendships and other social relations, the jokes we make about life as a whole, the jokes that are aggressive and finally the self-deprecating jokes. People who have gotten to know me in the past weeks know that I mostly make jokes on life and myself. The question that has been bugging me, and may have been bugging some of you as well, is why do I even do this when I am clearly not very good at it? (Is the last sentence a joke? A self-deprecating type, maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. You decide.)
Although there are many reasons which are too long and detailed to discuss with everyone, the basic thing is that it is something I use as a defense mechanism. Whenever something seems stressful, a joke wouldn’t hurt anybody right. Find yourself in a tough spot? Joke your way out of it man, it is all going to be fine. My brain seems to have trained itself to react to stress by making a joke out of it. Even when I acknowledge the fact that I will probably get hurt someday because of making the wrong joke at the wrong time, at least I won’t be ‘not laughing’ about it (Double negative for the extra effect. Take that.) If you have ever felt hurt by a joke I made or wanted to hit me for it, I totally understand you man. I do apologize but it is really something that I can’t help myself with. I have been in really tough places, which you will see if you go through this blog, and just using bad humor as a way to deal with it seems like something that may have a longer lasting effect than other ways. People who laugh at the jokes made about them have been shown to have a negative self image and have lower levels of self esteem. The thing is I have no levels of self esteem so I tend to laugh at things even if they are directed at me. Using aggressive or self-deprecating humor has been known to have an ill effect on our psychological health and well being as people who use sarcasm or other forms of aggressive jokes often are more likely to have trouble dealing with anxiety and suffer from depression. This is what has made me lean more towards the self-enhancing jokes which focus on making jokes about life.
Various characters in TV shows have used humor as a defense mechanism as well, Chandler from FRIENDS who used sarcasm and self-deprecating jokes and Gregory House from House M.D. who used purely sarcasm and aggressive humor to deal with his misery. They are some of the most loved characters even after all the shortcomings of these characters. This shows the power humor has. It changes the way people look at others and it is something that reflects what our society has well. I think people only make jokes about something if it happens in the world they see. It has been a really long time since the last joke about sati was made so when I hear people complain about making jokes about one issue or the other, it makes me think whether the joke would be made if the problem didn’t exist in the first place. Humor knows no boundaries or limits. If something is relevant, even for a small group of people, it will be made jokes about. Humor isn’t something that is absolutely necessary for society to function but it makes all our lives easier to deal with.
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