Gelukkige Verjaardag aan mij

Today I am closer to sixty than fifty. The cynical young man some of you never knew rarely peeks out anymore, it’s the amused fatalist who drives this ship most days. I’ve made my mark on the world, but unlike Hunter S. Thompson I haven’t stopped finding the world remarkably fun. There are dark days, but there is always the promise of sunshine ahead.

I have found that the way to keep laughing is to find the humor which clings to every event. I know that sounds cliche, but just like silver linings there is something to laugh about in every disaster. Of course, people will think you’re unbalanced, but the truth is balance is in seeing the light in the dark.

Today we’re going to MoMA, the Museum of Modern Art, to see an exhibition of the artwork of René Magritte. Magritte’s “realistic surrealism” has always been a source of joy for me. More so than the work of Salvador Dali, Magritte is subtle. From my point of view, life is surreal, with subtle touches of realism providing anchors to reality.

Magritte's mermaid

Magritte’s mermaid

This is the world I would portray when I would sit in on my girlfriend’s art class. Her teacher would insist that I create as long as I was there, so I would draw a landscape with a few odd features, such as a light bulb instead of the Sun. Mr. Czajkowski said I’d never be an artist, which any artist would find hilarious in itself. I found it difficult not to laugh out loud as he tried to emulate Pollock by pouring paint from a six foot ladder, insisting on reverent silence during his “artistic moment”.

I received an email from Godiva wishing me a happy birthday, if you’ve been following my rants about Godiva’s “ghost store” at Quakerbridge Mall you’ll know why this one made me laugh. I’ve printed out the email and will either be using it at Quakerbridge or I’ll be taping it on the window if the store which was supposed to open in October is still not open.

Outlook - 2013-11-12 15-33-36

There is always something to laugh about. A number of friends with Multiple Sclerosis have adopted the motto “You can either laugh or cry in response to any situation, I prefer to laugh”. I’m not talking about pseudobulbar affect, I’m talking about making the conscious decision to laugh at life’s circumstances. It’s not difficult to do, and it helps growing up with Ed Wynn.


One comment on “Gelukkige Verjaardag aan mij

  1. Mike Reith says:

    Your post brought back memories of Mary Poppins and the wonderful scene, “I love to laugh.” I recall being in 4th grade and participating in the class Christmas gift exchange. I received a Mary Poppins coloring book. I was so disappointed. Who would know that later I would treasure that movie more than most? I was also led to think about the Preacher in Ecclesiastes concluding that there is nothing more that can be had in this life than to work and eat and enjoy the days as given by God. That being true,there are times when grief turns us to seemingly-endless sorrow. Yet if we consider that all of the hairs on our head are numbered by the Lord, we know that he is absolutely sovereign in our affairs. His will is certain to be done for there is no higher power. We can rest in this. We can cry in this. Or we can laugh at the irony of it all, and in doing so are not being disrespectful to God. So let us drink and be of good cheer!


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