A sense of humour.... my questions

August 23, 2011

On my Facebook page, I posted a joke that was sent to me by a friend, and talked about one of the first jokes he'd enjoyed...and that set me musing about that sense that seems fairly rare in the animal kingdom...the sense of humour.

All babies seem to start laughing and smiling quite early, but at some point in their lives, it’s not just happiness that prompts the smiles or laughter, but “funny” situations. When we pull faces at them, or make “funny” noises, they react with laughter.

But unlike other milestones, the development of one’s sense of humour seems to pass almost unnoticed. When does one learn to appreciate absurdity, irony, and parody? When does one learn about the fun of wordplay and puns? Humour, to a great extent, is the putting together of unexpected elements…when does one learn to do that?

Often, a sense of humour also means, being free of ego and being able to laugh at oneself. Is this the same as laughing at other things in the world?

We all know some people of our acquaintance who are more “humourous” than others. They can say things which set people laughing. What sets these people apart from those who don’t have the ability in the same measure? How are they able to spot the humour in a situation, and articulate it, in a pithy few words or sentences?

What makes people suddenly come up with very humorous words? Why is a sense of humour sometimes cruel and biting as well? How often have I seen someone taking a witty dig at another person..who is discomfited at the ensuing laughter! What distinguishes “cruel” humour from “kind” humour? Why is unkind humour still so funny?

I don’t find that a generally happy outlook in life is a pre-requisite for a good sense of humour; sometimes happy people are so contented that they don’t seem to need a great sense of humour. But I do know that the nicest people can sometimes be without a sense of humour, and that can make them utter bores!

Then there are the people who can appreciate, and crack, jokes about everything else under the sun…except themselves. Would I be able to say these people lack a sense of humour, when they can obviously laugh at other things?

What would be a more “adult” sense of humour, compared to a “schoolboy” sense of humour, with its implied crudity? How would I say that someone’s sense of humour is “sophisticated”…especially when such persons can enjoy the “slipping on a banana skin” joke as much as ever?

A sense of humour is one of the “subtle” senses that a human being has….I think it’ the best “sixth sense” that we have!

Oh..the “schoolboy humour” joke that set this train of thought chugging from the station?

Teacher to student: “Who is Gandhiji’s son?” Student: “Dineshan” Teacher: “What? That is rubbish” Student: But sir, you taught us that Gandhiji is the father of Dineshan”

I don’t know if my sense of humour has stagnated…but I had a hearty laugh at this!