The topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday blog post is from Shackman who actually suggested “You can tell how smart people are by what they laugh at. What makes you laugh?” Since, I flatter myself that I am not among the smart set, I can get away with shortening the title to just “What Makes You Laugh?” I hope that after reading my post, Shackman will realise how smart I am or not. Please do go over to his blog to see what he has to say about the topic.
I am one of those characters who can find humour in the most unexpected situations and burst into laughter. What may be serious to others often appears to be comic to me. Perhaps it is my puckish sense of humour that is responsible but, this trait has landed me in some very embarrassing situations.
Having shared that, let me address the question. The things that make me laugh are;
Comic strips in the daily newspapers. Particularly, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Dennis the Menace, Dilbert and often, single illustration cartoons by Sunil Agarwal & Ajit Ninan. A sample of one from the last, but with a different partner.
Dogs and cats in real life as well as in stories.
Jokes that come to me through Facebook and WhatsApp.
Old movies with Charlie Charlie Chaplin, Laurel and Hardy etc.
My readers are well aware of how much synchronicity plays a part in my life. It should therefore not come as a surprise to them to read this post about another remarkable event.
On Friday last, I had written a post What Did You Gain Or Lose By Taking A Risk?. In that I had written about leaving a long held position, to shift to Pune in 1990 to a new employer and a new life.
After we had moved cities, bought our new home and settled down, we had sent a folding card to all our friends and family giving our new address.
On Sunday, that is yesterday, the son in law of a dear but departed friend of mine sent me a WhatsApp message that, on going through my late friend’s papers, he had found that card. This young man does not read my blog posts and so could not have known about my having written about the move.
The first image here shows the main message that appeared on the first page. Please click on the images for larger resolution.
The inside page showed an interesting message and our new address. I have cropped the address for safety reasons.
Unfortunately, the photographs taken by the young man are not very clear and by the time I had asked for fresh photographs, he had disposed off the card. This is therefore the best that I could get out of the images received in WhatsApp.
Yes, the poignant message “…and we are broke!” brought back a lot of memories. We had put all our savings and also had borrowed heavily to buy and furnish the new home and we were totally broke. We had to start our lives more or less all over again. It has been an eventful life since then and, in retrospect, I have no regrets despite having lost my partner who stood by me then and stayed with me during the rebuilding exercise for another two decades.
Since my retirement, I spend every morning reading five newspapers and solving the seven crossword puzzles that appear in them. As my family and friends say, it keeps me out of mischief.
On the days that the papers do not come following national holidays, I am lost in the mornings and you can easily sense that I am out of sorts on those days as it recently happened on August 16, 2019 the following our Independence Day when two friends who had called me up on the phone were puzzled at my mood till I explained to them my predicament. That experience has taught me to keep a couple of crossword puzzle books in stock so that I can spend some time on them on such days.
A most frustrating aspect of solving crossword puzzles in when I am stumped for answers. I can spend hours on the thesaurus, dictionaries, telephone calls to friends to find solutions. I have known to even make overseas calls to find answers for clues pertaining to the UK or the USA. Often, the last resort, Mr. Google also is of no help. There are some setters of cryptic clues who, in my opinion are simply sadists.
And the relief in finding the answer the next morning when the solutions are published, is only surpassed usually by the feeling that I should kick myself for not having thought of such obvious answers!
This post was inspired by the following joke.
A girl is doing a crossword puzzle…
“What’s a 7-letter word for ‘easily perceived or understood’ that starts with ‘O’?”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
“It should be, but I can’t figure it out. That’s why I’m asking.”
This ‘nostalgia’ forward by a friend on WhatsApp, following my post on Nomophobia, took me back to the time in India when first, they had to advertise to get people to subscribe to the service, then the time when people had to wait for years before they could get a connection and finally the time when cellphone service providers and handset makers are back advertising telephony. A full cycle indeed.
I don’t remember the times when the telephone company advertised for landline connections. We did not have a telephone connection at home till my mid teen years and we were told not to use it unless for emergency purposes. I distinctly remember neighbours pleading to be allowed to not only make calls but, also to receive calls in emergencies. My late wife’s family did not have a phone connection in the early years of our marriage and we would call their neighbour to request someone from there to be called to receive a call after a few minutes. This was when Direct Dialling had been introduced but, prior to that, we used to make person to person calls either from our phone or from post offices. Now, we can not only make direct phone calls, we can video call too using whatsapp! What a change!
Such change however brings with it, its own dangers as well as these two clips show.