humor

One-Liner Wednesday: Self-Care

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“A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures.”

Irish Proverb

 

* This post was created as part of blogger Linda G. Hill’s One-Liner Wednesday series. I chose to share this quote in the hopes that it’ll help anyone who’s stressed or feeling out of balance. We can all use a friendly reminder to not neglect ourselves or feel guilty for taking some time to regroup. Self-care is a necessity for all of us — and it actually helps us to accomplish what we want and need to do. So, I hope you have a blessed day that includes some humor and adequate rest!

 

 

Absurd Humor

Every now and then a show comes along that makes me laugh out loud, literally. Which, for as common as that expression is, rarely actually happens to me. Not sure about you, but most times when I find a show funny, I’m more quietly amused by it; at most maybe I’ll smile. But a true laugh? Pretty rare.

Here are the few exceptions to that; perhaps you’ll find a new favorite here, too! Most of these shows feature an absurd kind of humor I tend to favor, starting with my most recent favorite:

Drunk History on Comedy Central

I caught a couple of episodes of this show recently and was so amused by it that it inspired me to write this post!

If you haven’t seen the show yourself, the premise is based on people recounting true stories from history — but while drunk! So of course that comes out all crazy and makes for really funny narrations.

The show maximizes its comedic effect by having actors reenact the historical events being described by the drunk narrator, with the actors’ lines being dubbed with the narrator’s delivery. Kind of like lip-synching, only I suspect the actors actually say their lines the way the narrator said them, and then they’re muted with the narrator’s voice dubbed in over them. I find it funny when a male narrator’s voice seems to come from a female historical figure, and vice versa.

It’s especially amusing when the narrator suddenly slips out of the narration, perhaps to say something to the film crew; this is often left in the reenactment. For example, in one story the narrator abruptly says, “Can I get my cheesy bread I brought?” At first it’s confusing because the actor portraying the historical figure is shown as saying that. Then the camera cuts to the drunk narrator who repeats her sudden request and is clearly craving food in her inebriated state.

The whole dynamic is somewhat hard to describe, so it might be better if you just see this brief clip of their episode on First Ladies, from Comedy Central’s YouTube channel; this segment depicts Woodrow Wilson’s wife taking care of his presidential duties once he had a stroke that debilitated him (and yes, that is Courteney Cox in one of the show’s guest-starring roles):

Personally, I think it’s even better when you see a full episode — it’s on Fridays at 2:15pm if you like it and want to DVR it! You can also visit the show’s website here.

A couple of my friends have wondered if this show is a bit controversial, since it can be said to be promoting excessive drinking. I can see that but I must admit, I still get a kick out of it (is that kind of wrong?). Plus, I’ve learned more from the few episodes of the show I’ve caught so far than I would have expected. I mean, did you know that about Edith Wilson? If I ever did learn that, I’ve clearly forgotten it. Either way, I think there’s something to learning in a humorous context that makes it “stick” more — and certainly makes it more fun!

Next up is a show I would have never thought I’d watch if you described it to me, but I happened to catch it when a friend was watching it and ended up really enjoying it! Plus, I have this show to thank for introducing me to Drunk History:

The People’s Couch on Bravo

Have you seen it or heard the premise? If not, here’s what it is:

It’s a show where you watch people watching TV.

Yup, that’s it. But strangely, it’s really entertaining! The viewers they choose to feature make really funny comments on the various shows they’re watching, which is fun to see if they happen to be watching a clip of a show you follow. But even if they’re watching a show you’ve never seen, it’s still amusing.

How could watching people watching TV be amusing, you ask?

Well, first of all, because of the witty commentary. Secondly, for the odd voyeuristic feeling you get watching people in their homes watching TV, eating and just hanging out. And finally, because you’re shown clips of what they’re watching so you’re not lost; plus the scenes are never so involved that you feel like you would’ve had to see the show in full yourself to be able to get the commentary the viewers are making. And, as happened to me with Drunk History, it’s a great way to get introduced to a new show you may end up loving!

To get a better idea of the show’s fun vibe, take a look at this episode from the show’s YouTube channel; it includes the viewers watching a scene from Drunk History (during minute 20, if you want to jump straight to that part):

See? I love when one of the viewers said, “She needs to eat a couple pieces of bread, soak it up,” referring to the narrator’s drunkenness which caused her to say “Burning Man” instead of “Birmingham” during the story of Claudette Colvin, the first person arrested for protesting racial segregation on buses (yes, before Rosa Parks — I told you the show teaches you things!). This clip is actually not only a great example of why I like The People’s Couch, but also another great example of why Drunk History is so funny!

For more videos and information on The People’s Couch, visit its website.

Other absurd shows that have made me laugh out loud have included:

South Park on Comedy Central

When I first watched it years ago, I found the show so bizarre on a regular basis that I was entranced by it. I particularly remember an episode where there’s a monster, one of whose legs is “TV’s Patrick Duffy.” I don’t know how to make that sentence make any sense. That concept and line was just so out there I couldn’t stop laughing — how do they think these things up?! Perhaps you might want to see the full episode on the show’s official website if you haven’t already.

For a shorter taste of the show (or a re-taste if you’re a fan), here’s a funny clip of the show from Comedy Central on Hulu, called “The Importance of Saving Money”  — which many people will be able to relate to firsthand, unfortunately:

While I don’t watch the show as often as I once did, I still get a kick out of it whenever I happen to catch an episode! You can find many other clips and full episodes on the links above for Hulu and the official South Park Studios website.

TMZ on Fox

I feel bad for admitting to this, but I also have a special fondness for TMZ; many of the things said on the show make me laugh in that “I feel bad and should be doing something more productive but I can’t help it” kind of way.

If you somehow don’t know about TMZ, it’s basically a celebrity gossip show. I usually never watch shows like that, but it’s nothing like Entertainment Tonight or any of those other shows. Unlike most Hollywood news shows, this one doesn’t put celebrities on a pedestal and will say things about them you’ve likely thought or would appreciate, versus the typical “this star’s in a new movie which is GREAT” kind of suck-up drivel the other shows mass produce.

Here’s a clip demonstrating the more “real” dynamic I’m talking about, where the show discusses Angelina Jolie’s wedding and the dress she wore:

Part of what I like a lot about the show is how it highlights the staffers and their opinions; the show highlights them as much as it does the celebrities they’re reporting on. I’ve seen newer shows copy that dynamic but I feel like TMZ did it first, or at least better. Makes for a fun, guilty pleasure to watch regardless of whether you’re interested in the people they’re talking about; the staff members’ personalities and interactions alone make it worth it.

Blind Date

This show is no longer on, unfortunately, but it always stood out to me as being surprisingly funny; I felt its comedy was often overlooked and underrated. To me, it seemed like the show was viewed first as a dating show, but I always saw it as a comedy that happened to feature real blind dates, because the commentary the show added to what we were watching was usually spot-on and hilarious.

For those of you who never saw it, the show would film a couple on a first, and blind, date, featuring added-in captions as well as thought bubbles each person on the date was supposedly thinking about the other as the date progressed. I found the writers to be so insightful and clever with their humor; the added music and effects were also great at furthering the jokes between the writers and the viewers.

Here’s a good segment as seen in this video posted on YouTube by magician Murray SawChuck, who once appeared on the show:

I have to say, I miss this show! Luckily, we have people like Murray who post their appearances online!

Mr. Bean

Sadly, this show is also no longer currently on the air except in reruns you may catch here and there, although I haven’t caught one in years; luckily I own the series on DVD thanks to a thoughtful birthday gift from my closest friend!

This show featured British actor Rowan Atkinson portraying a socially maladjusted adult who consistently finds himself in awkward and embarrassing situations. The best way to get a feel for the show is by watching it — the outlandish scenarios and superb, yet almost completely wordless, acting are truly unique!

Here’s a brief clip from the official Mr. Bean YouTube channel, featuring a segment of an episode where Mr. Bean is at church, and having some…trouble:

I couldn’t get enough of the show after the first time I discovered it; if you feel that way too, you can watch many more videos on that official YouTube channel. Or, you can visit the official Mr. Bean website.

So, if you’re ever in need of a real laugh and share a similar appreciation for the absurd, I suggest you watch these shows if you haven’t already! And another great batch of shows can be found on my previous post, here. Enjoy!

Things That Upset Me but Shouldn’t

I try hard to be a positive person. I really do. I read books on peace and happiness. I watch inspirational TED Talks and PBS specials. I sometimes send uplifting greeting cards for no reason. See? Impressive, I know.

But despite my desire to be patient, wise and kind, the slightest things can easily upset me out of nowhere. And I mean the slightest things. There’s no reason I should get as perturbed as I do about them. I try to hide my reaction to these trivial matters from others, but I’m not always successful; even when I am, I’ll still feel unreasonably annoyed on the inside.   Here are the dumb things that irk me way too much, and why they shouldn’t:

What channel did you want? 2? Nah, let’s stay on this one. No? OK, let me take you to 22. Or how about 222?

What channel did you want? 2? Nah, let’s stay on this one. No? OK, let me take you to 22. Or how about 222?

When my TV remote’s batteries are dying. Virtually every time my remote begins cooperating with me less and less, it seems to escape me that the batteries could be the cause — no matter how many times I’ve had to change remote batteries throughout my lifetime. “Why isn’t it doing anything? Why won’t it go to channel 2? Oh, there it goes. Wait, why is it on channel 22? Let me redo it. It did it again! NOW IT’S ON 222! WHAT IS HAPPENING??”   By the time the remote pretty much stops responding all together and I finally make the brilliant deduction that it needs new batteries, I get unreasonably mad all over again. “Didn’t I just replace these?” I’ll think to myself, not taking note of the fact that as I think this, it’s 95 degrees outside, yet there was snow on my windowsills the last time I changed the batteries. You’d think I’d realize that perhaps it’s time. Besides, maybe that rerun of Frasier can wait a second.

When my printer can’t print because it’s run out of paper. I singlehandedly control the amount of paper in my printer. It’s not magically placed there, nor can I load an infinite supply into the printer. So it’s going to run out and I’ll have to reload it. Why, then, do I react like someone has purposely sabotaged my efforts to put information onto a page? And will a momentary delay printing whatever I’m printing be a life-or-death matter? It makes no sense. Sure, I get up and refill the tray and proceed as planned, but I’m far too resentful about having to do so.

When my printer runs out of ink. Yes, my printer appears on this list twice because this issue usually happens separately from running out of paper. I mean, are you usually out of both at once? Me neither. Hence, two opportunities for me to get weirdly upset over nothing. It’s typically because I’m working on something that I think is much more important than it really is. And again, it’s not so time-sensitive it can’t wait a second while I put in a new ink cartridge; what would be that time-sensitive, anyway? So I really can’t explain why this bothers me so much.   I could understand if the printer was constantly jamming or malfunctioning in some other way; then I’d want to reenact the scene in Office Space where they take the printer outside and break it. But no ink? I can fix that.It’s not a mysterious defect with the printer. I rarely print anyway, so it’s not even a chore I have to do often. A real chore is laundry — not replacing printer ink. What’s the big deal, then?

You think I’m full of staples, don’t you? WELL, I’M NOT!

You think I’m full of staples, don’t you? WELL, I’M NOT!

When my stapler runs out of staples. I hate, hate, hate when I confidently pick up my stapler to staple something and only hear the hollow crunch of an empty stapler and see the sad little outline on the paper indicating where a staple should have gone. Why it irks me so much, I don’t know — I have more staple refills than I’ll ever need right there in my desk drawer. (Seriously, where do they all come from?) Plus it takes almost no time or effort to reach in, grab a strip of them and pop it in. It’s even easier than replacing an old ink cartridge in a printer, since there’s nothing to remove first! “You just have to pop the new strip in, you freak,” I’ll think to myself while at the same time being overly upset at having my workflow interrupted by this silly task. I think I get so annoyed because this is something that rarely needs to be done, since a strip of staples will last me a long time. So when they do finally run out, my mind finds it unnerving. This sudden, unexpected delay just does not compute for a second.

When I turn on a lamp and its bulb blows right then. My anger in this situation is partly due to the little flash the bulb often emits as it blows, which surprises me more than it should. I love fireworks, but my light bulb blowing? Too much! “You jerk, I wasn’t prepared for that,” I’ll rail to the bulb in my mind as I begrudgingly walk to get a new bulb, now angry that the bulb blew in the first place. Meanwhile, in those petty moments, I overlook the fact that bulbs today seem to last longer and longer. No, that’s irrelevant to me while I lament the fact that I’ve now been delayed for a whole minute from whatever I wanted the light for in the first place, like polishing my nails. You know, something incredibly important. And yes, I do have other lamps I could use. But I wanted that one, dammit.

When I’m using a rubber band and it snaps. Part of why this bothers me is because I swear I never see this happen to other people as much as it seems to happen to me, despite the fact that I buy new rubber bands pretty frequently. I even store them in a container or plastic baggie to minimize them drying out — in fact, I even check a rubber band for its pliability before I use it! You know, I do a little stretch test before I decide to let down my guard and trust it to do its job. But inevitably, when it breaks (again, way too frequently, in my opinion), I am more shocked and upset than I should be — more so than when a light bulb blows on me, since the feel of the rubber band snapping in my hands is very jarring. The sound it makes doesn’t help, either. The combination makes me jerk as if I’ve been shot. For a passing moment, I’ll feel betrayed. Here I’d been innocently trying to contain something with a rubber band I’d thoroughly and neurotically vetted before use, only to still be unpleasantly jolted! It’s gotten to the point where I handle rubber bands extremely gingerly now, and far from my face — you’d think I was disarming a bomb or something, and not just wrapping a deck of cards with a rubber band.

Come on, use me for that pretty birthday card. I promise I won’t mess it up…*SNICKER*

Come on, use me for that pretty birthday card. I promise I won’t mess it up…*SNICKER*

When the pen I’m using runs out of ink. Pens are as plentiful in my desk as those staple refills are — I literally have dozens. (Yes, I do mean “literally.” I can do an exact census of my pens if you want.) But if the one I happen to have chosen that moment goes dry while I’m writing with it, I am not happy. “Don’t talk to me! What was I about to write? Now I can’t remember!” I’ll fume, as if I’d been about to jot down a detailed prophetic vision and not simply a post-it reminder to myself to buy eggs.   In some cases, though, the suddenly-inkless pen has made it hard for me to continue a special task even with a new pen; let’s say I’m filling out a cute card for a friend’s birthday. I know it’ll be hard to find another pen whose ink closely matches the pen I’d just been using, plus the old pen likely left odd-looking marks as it ran out of ink while I valiantly tried to reach my goal before it was officially dry. So now I’ll have to camouflage that mess while methodically tracing over the faint words with the next pen.   I know I could just use another card, since I tend to have a random collection of greeting cards on hand. (I store a few spares for multiple occasions the way some people wisely keep canned food for an emergency. I wouldn’t have much food during a blizzard, but I could write a great “Thinking of You” card to help get my friends through it.)   Instead, I’ll stubbornly cling to the current card, which I’d picked solely for that person as if it will change her life.“Oh, Sonia will just love this card! It’s so her! I have to give it to her!” No, replacing the best-card-ever with any other birthday card isn’t an option for me at that point — I’m just too invested. Nor is using correction fluid, which I don’t like; it just looks ugly to me. And in the few cases where I’ve thought to buy it, it always gets as hard as a rock way too quickly. Luckily, I’m not so reliant upon it for that nuisance to also make this list.   So, I bitterly do my best to salvage the card, quietly seething about the pen that betrayed me and quite possibly ruined my friend’s birthday — yet also knowing this can’t be a healthy reaction.

 —

OK, I think this concludes my list of the most common culprits for my unreasonable, momentary anger in day-to-day life. What’s odd is I can be really patient in more legitimately-frustrating situations, like when someone grabs the cab I just hailed or spills something on me by mistake. I don’t like it, but I deal with it calmly and rationally, even in my mind. So what’s the deal with these petty things which can be quickly resolved and are part of normal life? Why do I momentarily overreact to them so much? I know they’re not major, but in the moment they happen, I can’t help but be peeved for a bit! Maybe I need more PBS specials….assuming my remote will cooperate.