Humour in Dark Times

Last night, after a long semi-stressful day–one of the craziest that I can recall in recent memory–my wife and I decided we needed to wind down with a movie.  Even though Erin, no doubt, would fall asleep within a few minutes, she rebuffed my suggestion of The Blob. Too scary. Night of the Living Dead was a no-go for her, too.  I perused my selection of (mostly) classic films. (Yes, I still buy physical discs. I’m just like that, okay). Alright, well, what sort of film might be appropriate? The Seventh Seal, the Bergman film about a knight coming home from the crusades during the Black Plague and facing off with Death in a game of chess? Maybe not tonight. Eventually I pulled out a couple selections: Dr. Strangelove and The Big Lebowski.

Erin pondered the options and chose the supremely funny and quotable The Big Lebowski.  As predicted, she fell asleep pretty quick, even before the nihilists threaten to cut off the Dude’s “Johnson.” But while she was awake she laughed till there were tears in her eyes and, later, when she fell asleep, I carried on laughing without her. And, you know what? For two solid hours I didn’t think once about the coronavirus. I didn’t even grab my phone to see the latest death tally. I just watched…and laughed.

We need humour in dark times. It’s not the only thing we need, of course, but it’s something. It’s healthy.

Back in February I spoke about “Humour in Dark Times” at the Ottawa Mennonite Church. Of course, for us in Canada, the coronavirus wasn’t really on our radar yet at the time, but I was reminded of that lecture title again last night.

There are a lot of things we need right now. Community. Faith. Science. Leadership. Level-headedness. And, no, not toilet paper. However, maybe, we also need some humour once in a while. As long as I can, and as long as I think it’s helpful, I will try to provide that on the Daily Bonnet.

And tonight I’ll probably throw on Dr. Strangelove while my wife sleeps in my arms.