Laughing at January’s Little Joke



It’s about contrast I suppose. I was driving this morning looking up at the sky, crystal clear and boldly blue, and I was thinking how does something so vibrant feel so oppressive?

Yes, it has something to do with the -17 degree temperature in contrast with the deep blue and the warmth of the sun through the window. My mind tells me it should be warm. My body tells me it is not. They are at odds.

Yet strangely enough I felt oppressed and not depressed, which is the normal reaction to a midwinter deep freeze. I think maybe it is a pressure thing. The blue sky and warm sun lifting my spirit only to have sub-zero temperature push it back down. Pressure. The weight of oppression on your shoulders. You can feel it just as if you were wearing a 75 pound back pack, tugging your shoulders down.

January thinks the polarity is pretty funny. A practical joke of sorts. Hmm.

I think I have a pretty good and open sense of humor. I tend to be able to find humor in many things, maybe too many things. Irreverent, I suppose, at times. I like lots of different forms of humor as well. There is one, however, form of humor I have never much enjoyed.

Practical jokes. Or pranks. Or punking is I guess what they call it now days. I’m not saying there is not humor in practical jokes. I’m not saying practical jokes are stupid or you shouldn’t like them. They just don’t make me laugh.

I think I know why. It’s a combination of three things. The first is about my being easily startled, really easily.  So the idea of someone going through elaborate measures to startle me doesn’t seem remotely funny. Second is the element of discomfort a prank places on someone. I’m an introvert. Social discomfort is not funny.

But obviously the pranks I am witnessing are not occurring to me so what’s the big deal, right? Well, it’s the third factor. Empathy. Just watching the pranks makes me feel their discomfort, makes me feel that moment of startledness. Not pleasant. Not funny.

So what do I do with January’s little joke. The sky and sun say come on out, it’s fine out here. Then I go out and the air temperature goes, ha, got you and laughs. That’s not funny.

But you know what  January? I’m going to laugh. I’m going to laugh and enjoy the warm sun through the window. And I’m not going to go outside. Because I know. Oh, I know.

I’m going to let the warm sun hit my face and I’m going to smile. The oppression will slip away. And I’ll laugh. And January will laugh. Because we both know we’re playing a game.

About joegergen

To evoke a smile. That's all. Author of "Methane Wars: A Fable" and "Lear's Fool" as well as various poems and some these painting things as well.
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