by Joe Shea
American Reporter Correspondent
April 23, 2010
GEE, CAN FLORIDA GET ONE OF THOSE?
ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. -- He came out of the men's locker room with such a smile on his face that we all said, "What's so funny, Chris?"
In his fading British accent that made his answer so much more amusing, he said: "I was rinsing my mouth when a fellow said, 'hello.' I kept rinsing, and when I'd finished, I said: 'I'm a Scot and didn't want to waste my mouthwash.' And he said: 'If you were Irish you'd have swallowed it."
This was a man with an acute sense of humor.
Most people understand the five senses as five methods of perception, or sense: hearing, sight, touch, smell, and taste. Yet, these so-named senses seem limited to five when many more are designated: balance, awareness so as not to bump into things, and others - numbering 17 in all.
However, and leaving out reference to a dog's acute hearing, human beings can only receive information through those receptors we know do exist.
The sixth sense is a popular concept, but I'm convinced now that when my mother appears to me in a dream, she is no more than my daytime thoughts jumbled up into a plausible scenario - and my wishing for a message from Heaven or the combination to some discovered safe does not make it otherwise.
Humor, the seventh sense, as I so designate it, is something unique.
You may be born with it or develop it on your own. You can't teach it, having it does not make you a comedian, practice is useless and it usually comes to you at a very early age - around the time you're known as the Class Clown.
Friends and family will say you have a delightful personality. You're too young to know what that means but you continue smiling just the same.
In an article about enhancing your sense of humor, it is suggested you rent funny movies and learn what's funny. I reject that idea. The movie may make you laugh because they know how to set you up.
Take a lesson from watching Ben Stiller in "Meet the Parents" when he accidentally knocks the cremation urn from the mantel and crockery and ashes go crashing and spilling while the dinner guests gasp.
"That's Grandma," one says, while the audience laughs and laughs - well, what would you learn from that? The scene could have happened. Funny? Not if you're at the table.
As Mark Twain once said, "Studying humor is like dissecting a frog - you may know a lot but you end up with a dead frog."
My mother had no sense of humor; my dad did and passed it along to us. I don't have the turn-of-phrase type of humor my brothers did and some of my children inherited. I laugh at and tell jokes and know what's funny when I hear it. Telling my favorites is so funny to me that I'm red-faced and laughing before I get to the punch line. My audience laughs at me and we all forget the punch line. I should work on the delivery.
There is no question that laughter is a great cure-all, if not necessarily the best medicine. Even the proverbial apple a day won't keep the doctor away. But it can't hurt.
My mother acknowledged that to her it would not be a laughing matter - so why laugh? Example: Mama once saw a movie with Guy Kibbee (yes, even before my time) where he was locked out of his cottage in the woods somewhere while running out the door on a cold winter's night to reach the outhouse.
Dressed only in baggy long johns, back flap barely buttoned, no shoes, his hair thinning and uncombed, he scratched his head in wonderment at his dilemma. He was pathetic. The audience howled with laughter while my mother sobbed at the plight of the poor man.
Just this morning in a routinely sent email to my children scattered here and there, I was suggesting that although I like to think I have always been able to bloom where I'm planted, I find myself being out of sync here in Georgia. The weather is glorious after a hit-or-miss, uncommonly cold winter; flowers are in abundance.
And yet, I'm more comfortable in the asphalt jungle I was born into, and every time I read of a show opening in New York, or watch "Law & Order" and "Sex and the City" just to be in touch ever so vicariously to my city, I feel a longing, a yearning to quicken my pulse in New York.
My high school friends will go to Gallagher's Steak House where four or five times a year, the management hosts an "Old Geezer's Lunch" They go to see the guest speaker and other old geezers like themselves.
Tomorrow the guest is Larry Holmes, the former heavyweight champion of the world (1978-1985). I'd like to go there instead of taking a walk on the beach.
My son wrote back to our family Loop: "Mom's an Accidental Retiree." There's a man with the seventh sense. It made me laugh.