If you’re a Baby Boomer then you know what I’m talking about when I say funny things back in the days of the dinosaurs were funny in a completely different way.
Comedy was simple. Long on slap and short on nuance. Folks in the good old USA viewed everything in black and white. At least until the mid-Sixties. Wow, color television. Think about it folks. Getting to see all your favorite comedy acts in living color. Wouldn’t that be cool?
It was, trust me.
Growing up and watching comedy back then was pure and simple, hilariously funny and easy on the brain. You really didn’t have to think about what was playing out in front of you. You just needed to get lost in the crazy antics and forget about things for awhile. In a lot of ways that never seem to change, life and earning a living was just as tough then as it is now. Then, just as much as now, we needed distractions to get our minds off of things.
Of course, there were fewer things to worry about. All you really needed to do was focus on the basics. You know, keeping up with the neighbors; making sure your house was larger, your grill was bigger and your car newer.
It was an awesome race of materialism.
Yes there were fewer things to worry about. The only thing back then that really troubled us was that pesky little bother known as the Atom Bomb. If you’re as old (and decrepit) as I am you remember that don’t you? The ICBM(s) our friends the Russians were about to rain down on our heads?
I recall the ridiculous attack drills at school where we crouched in long lines in the hallways or practiced getting under desks. It wasn’t ridiculous to each of us then. Hey, every single kid participating in those drills believed that tiny sliver of wood above them would keep them safe.
We believed it because our teachers said it would protect us and back then we didn’t question authority, we respected it. It wasn’t until later in life I discovered the horrific destructive power of an atomic blast. It was funny when I thought about it. Our teachers knew. They knew those desks wouldn’t help a damned bit. They knew that when — back then it wasn’t if — the blast hit we would all be kissing our asses goodbye.
I suppose that’s dark humor right?
Here’s another hilariously-funny- in- a- not- so- ha- ha way statistic. On October 1st 1957 the Strategic Air Command issued a twenty four by seven nuclear alert which lasted until 1991 in anticipation of a Russian ICBM surprise attack.
For over thirty years our country prepared for something that never happened. Guess the old saying about better safe than sorry applied to us back then. The thing is when my children were in school I don’t remember them ever having drills where they crouched beneath their desks waiting for an atomic blast. Tornadoes yes, nuclear attack no. But those tiny desks won’t help much when a tornado strikes either.
Think direct hit, F5.
In retrospect, though the atomic blasts may never come, at least I hope they don’t, I’m pretty certain mankind will most likely find a unique and oh so torturous method of exterminating themselves. But until we do, we need to keep laughing. We need to remember all the outlandish things about us that is hilariously and ridiculously funny and we need to roll with it.
For those of you that didn’t get the chance to enjoy the antics of comedic geniuses such as Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett and Tim Conway and Harvey Korman, then scroll back a few years and enjoy. We need to laugh until we almost pee in our pants watching shticks from Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy and George Carlin. We need to roar and slap our thighs as we escape into comedy land with Gilda Radner and the merrymakers on Saturday Night Live. Each and every one us needs to laugh, at ourselves and others.
We need to do it you guys. We need to because we’re all starting to take things way too seriously these days. Wouldn’t you rather laugh along with Ricky and Lucy and Ethel and Fred than spend your days crying over your own misfortune or the sorry plight of the world? There will be time enough for sobbing and bitching later.
For now, let’s all have glass of Vitameatavegamin and learn to laugh again.
You’ll be glad you did.
P.G Barnett is the author of the Gifter’s Ring series. His works, A Balance of Evil, Return of the Brethren and The Power of the Three are available for purchase @ Barnes and Noble and Amazon. You can view comments on his blog at pgbarnett.com