Monday, August 30, 2010

Finding the Funny in Small Pieces

Today's Thought:
Some of the funniest moments in life are found in the small pieces of your day, the unique little moments that you can't predict.

ChipperMuse Extra:
I love the small surprises that make each day unique. It's how my brain works. I notice the oddities, the funny moments that make me laugh. When I share my observations with others, they laugh too. It seems my sense of humor is rooted in my affection for the unexpected, coupled with my ability to laugh at myself for my own reactions to the unexpected.

This weekend was a great weekend for laughs, even though none of the places I went were associated with laughter. No funny movies. No comedy shows. Nope. I went to a live music performance, the farmers market, Shakespeare in the park, the local coffee shop. I didn't go looking for humor. But humor found me in small pieces.

Here's an example:
The best farmers market in town is located in a tiny artistic neighborhood, known as the Cherry Street District. On Saturday mornings, the street is blocked off for about two blocks so vendors can set up their booths. This Saturday, as I walked into the blocked-off zone, a spray-painted sign caught my eye. The blue writing read "Porch Music," followed by an arrow pointing toward a side street. I wondered what it meant, but I didn't stop. I did my shopping.

When I was done, I headed back the way I came, and sure enough, I heard music. So I headed down the street to find three college-aged men in t-shirts and jeans, their hair unbrushed and frizzy-wild, playing some cool music. They were good. If they were older than 21, I'd be surprised. They didn't look completely "out there," but they looked out there enough that I suspect if a doobie got passed around, they wouldn't say no. You know what I mean?

There they were on their porch, playing music. Porch Music. Yup. I got there just as the guys finished their song. Another woman was standing a few feet away, watching. Two girls were sitting on the grass across the street. I joined in the tiny, barely audible smattering of applause. The lack of a crowd didn't matter to these guys. They were full of the self-delight and confidence that men seem to have at age 21. It probably helped that the crowd, small as it was, was made up entirely of women.

They addressed us with amusement: "Thanks for all your applause. What a great audience! We're here every week." I thought, "Of course you're here every week. You live here. It's your porch."

I had to laugh because it was so unexpected. How often do you walk by a sign that says "Porch Music?" This was a first for me. The boys were clearly having a great time with a situation that would have damaged a more delicate ego than theirs. An ego like mine, for example. I don't know if I would have had the guts to play on my porch and then address my miniscule fan base as though I were Bon Jovi. But I admire people who can do it. Boys aged 21 probably excel at that better than anyone else I know.

I laughed all the way around the block back to my car. Two days later, I'm still chuckling at the whole moment. It was wonderful. Small. But very wonderful. A reminder that life is great, when you look at it the right way.

Ciao for now!

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Tiger Woods and the Art of Using Humor Wisely

Today's Topic:
"The Tiger Woods jokes don’t seem quite so funny now that Elin Nordegren has let us in on her pain." (quoted from Jason Whitlock's article "Elin's Interview Should End the Jokes", posted 8/26/10 on MSN/'s sports page, link to follow:

The ChipperMuse Extra:
Huh? Since when was Tiger Woods' infidelity ever funny? Infidelity is never funny. It wounds hearts, damages intimacy (sometimes irreparably), and causes havoc in a person's marriage, finances, job, relationship with their kids. Et cetera is an understatement of what gets affected by a decision to betray someone's trust.

Trust can take an incredibly long time to repair. Sometimes it is never repaired. Tiger has done something to his wife and kids that may never heal fully. And it wasn't their choice. Especially the kids. They never asked for this. Yet they have to deal with the repercussions of it.

And that was funny to people?

I'm not saying we can't laugh at the world we live in. The Chipper Muse is all about laughing at the absurdities of life. There are things we all need to laugh at, in order to make life better for ourselves and others. And then there are things that are tragic and full of grief, and not at all funny. It's important to know the difference...and to honor that difference with wise choices and wise words.

I respect author Jason Whitlock for confessing his complicity in the joke-making. This kind of honesty is refreshing when we see it, especially when it sets things in proper perspective. That's what true comedy, and especially satire, exists for. Humor helps us keep life in proper perspective. We make fun of things that we have given too much attention to. And we highlight things that need more attention.

Humor has its proper goals and proper uses, and I'm in favor of using it right...because that's what empowers humor to its greatest effectiveness. Wise usage.

Thanks for "humoring" my seriousness. I'll get back to mocking bad MSNBC writing or sharing my foibles soon enough!

Copyright (c) 2010 by Michele Chiappetta. All rights reserved.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Real Entertainment...

It's been a while since I've been able to post, so I thought I'd start out with an easy softball to hit...

Today's news (see MSNBC) features an article on a canceled pig wrestling event at a county fair in Montana. Apparently, the group of wild pigs kept eluding capture by the fair officials and never made it to the wrestling event.

I say this: Give the pigs some credit. They know how to generate entertainment. Their antics were the stuff of the greatest pig wrestling event of all time. Plus, they made the national news. Those are some media-savvy pigs. I'm impressed. I need to hire them to promote my blog...