The secret source of humor is not joy, but sorrow; there is no laughter in heaven.
Did I really promise in that last post that I was gonna be funny in this one? Damn...there’s nothing worse than telling people you’re gonna be funny...that’s why I hate most stand-up comedy...especially, the I’m just a regular guy who’s gonna stand here and talk to you regular people and make some funny observations that you can relate to about regular day-to-day life kind of stand-up comedy...bleah...it’s much better to be angry-funny like Chris Rock, or horrified-by-the-outrageousness-of-what’s-going-on-in-America-funny like Jon Stewart, or severely-manic-if-not-coked-to-the-gills-funny like Robin Williams (not to be confused with the so-desperate-to-make-you-love-him-that-he’s-not-funny Robin Williams, the actor)...I, generally speaking, only find out I’m being funny when people tell me...see the predicament?
It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever.
David St. Hubbins, This is Spinal Tap
I was talking to somebody about my personal favorite Yoga for Cynics post...god, I also hate it when bloggers are self-referential...then, I kinda can’t stand that in general...even though I’m a huge fan of one of the seminal texts of postmodern metafiction, There’s a Monster at the End of This Book, starring Lovable Furry Old Grover (also a penetrating exploration of modern man—or, y’know, monster—in confrontation with his own id—kinda like Heart of Darkness for kids, and what could be more avant-garde than that?) (never mind that it’s been disgracefully overlooked by the literary critical establishment; so was William Blake)...and now, I’m being, like, meta-self-referential...and horribly ironic in the most pretentious postmodern kind of way...somebody could write a goddamn dissertation on this post...good god...the horror, the horror....
And, if I have been a little malicious, well, one must amuse oneself.
Madame Merteuil, Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Anyway...it was the one called Probably Not the Best Example of Loving Kindness, in which I talked about cursing somebody out—in a bit of rather obviously ill-advised bicycle-on-car road rage—on the way to yoga class. People have suggested that I probably wouldn’t have done that on the way home from yoga class...and they’re probably right. In fact, I may be able to provide an illustrative anecdote...jeeezus, did the pretentious academic in me just pipe up again? Never mind...this one time, I think it was last winter, I’d just gotten home from a class with legendary yoga teacher Jennifer Schelter, and walked, with a spring in my step, feeling optimistic and full of good feeling toward my fellow human beings...really...up to my local coffee shop, the High Point Cafe...now, this place is kind of a center of my friendly little community (West Mt. Airy, State of Caffeinated Stupor, USA). The place was packed. However, just as I got my coffee, two older women were standing, putting coats on and clearing dishes away from the table where they’d been sitting. I asked if they were leaving, and one of them said “yes” as they moved away from the table and I set my coffee down. Seeing a couple of crumpled up napkins left on the table, I decided to be helpful and throw them out. Upon turning back to the table however, I was confronted by the other woman, who, in a voice more like a low, mentally unbalanced hiss, said “you’re a bit of an asshole, aren’t you?” I said “excuse me?” “Putting your coffee down on the table before we’ve left...” she intoned, almost shaking with rage. “But...you had your coats on...you said you were leaving...you were walking away from it...” I sputtered as she turned her back, perhaps with a final muttered asshole for good luck. My good mood kinda dissipated. While my friends behind the counter more than sympathized, and joked about it, I was really really upset—all the more so because I’d been in such a good mood before this little incident happened. Why the hell, I thought, did this have to happen when I was feeling so good?
Then, however, I asked myself the question: how might I have reacted if I hadn’t been in such a peaceful, positive mood? Let’s just say it’s a good thing I went to yoga class that morning....