It is said that laughter is the best medicine. I can’t recall a time when I have been sitting in a funk or just plain depressed and could still manage a good laugh after watching or listening to some classic comedy. I’m not talking about the latest brand of comedic actors and shows on television (though there are a few good ones on). I’m talking about the shows that many youth of today would turn off as being “old” or “out of date”. Today is marking the 100th birthday of a great comedienne, Lucille Ball. Though she passed at a young 77, her work and talents are still with us today. She revolutionized so much of what we see on television that many of those new comedies still use her innovations, such as filming before a live studio audience!
Decades later, you still laugh. You still whip the tears from your eyes watching the episode with Lucy at the candy factory conveyor belt. Your stomach still aches after the half-hour hoot!
I was fortunate to be able to introduce my children when they were young to some great classic comedy. When all the rage was Power Rangers and super-cheesy sitcoms, I broke through the color barriers and sold them on some black and white funnies. Sure, at first there was some resistance. “This is stupid, it’s not even in color”. “This is so old, it can’t be funny”. “Looks BORING!” (insert eyes rolling here). Enter I Love Lucy. Enter Abbott and Costello. Enter Laurel and Hardy.
SOLD! To the children in the front row!
Proud moments. I generally justified those moments as ‘cultural education’ for the kids’ benefit, but will confess that I enjoyed every minute of every episode or movie just as much. There is something about the nostalgia that seems to take us away for a brief moment to a simpler time. There wasn’t any super computers with super smartphones that were a part of the punch-line. Modern conveniences were plots to science fiction. People had their differences, but also had respect.
We are in a very complex, demanding time of life. We are constantly bombarded with demands and pressures. Issues such as depression and anxiety are common-place. Not that there wasn’t these problems back in the days of simpler times, but it was nowhere near the magnitude that it is today. It seems that as technology increases to make our lives easier, it has also created greater stressors.
Now, social media has taken over and what it really has created is a world of drones. Where the social media has taken us all is online and on our smartphones and pulled us away from the ‘real world’. No longer interacting with each other face to face, everything has been dwindled onto our phones and computers….virtual versus real.
I started this article with the line that laughter is the best medicine. It’s true. As humanity evolves itself into a state of robots taking commands from the social networks, I can’t help but think of the evil creatures of the t.v. show Star Trek: the Next Generation. The race is called the Borg. Essentially are assimilated beings from all over the universe, many looking remarkably human. The ‘assimilation’ is where the human emotions and independent thought are stripped away and every member is now a part of the ‘collective’. Everyone does what everyone else does. No independence, just plugged into the big computer and follow the commands.
This is where we are heading. The modern technology is plugging us into it and stripping away our humanity. With that, comes the emotional dysfunction, the mental breakdowns, and the withdraw from real society and family. Maybe a passionate plea from the world of common sense is in order: Please unplug for a while, take the time away from the stressors, and laugh! If your head is spinning and filled with chaos….laugh! If you are flooded with sadness and despair, take some time to laugh! If you are feeling alone and cold, laugh! If you unplug from the collective, interact with real humanity, watch a little I Love Lucy….you might get your senses back!