The list of lamentable losses lengthens. One now teetering toward endangered status is the tendency to laugh at ourselves.In a century ending a few moons ago, we more willingly wore horse collars for our foibles and blunders. Self-deprecation was “in;” now, it is circling the drain toward “out.”Several entertainers, determined to be brunt of their own jokes, made millions. You have your own list; mine includes William Bendix (Chester A. Riley on “The Life of Riley”) and Carroll O’Connor (Archie Bunker in “All in the Family.”) Rodney Daingerfield made a tubful of money “getting no respect;” Jackie Gleason was cut from the same cloth….*****Not to be overlooked is a cadre of men whose countenance remains cheery—even celebratory—about a shared condition they can do little or nothing to change. I refer to adult males who need not buy shampoo, or ever again visit barbershops. And most of ‘em have given up on “creative combing.” By their own admission, they are “baldies, chrome domes, hairless wonders, shiny tops,” etc. Usually, they laugh at themselves, perhaps believing that they’re going to be derided anyway, so why not lead the way? Sort of like, “If you’re tarred and feathered and run out of town, grab a baton, race to the front and make ‘em think you’re leading the parade.”…*****Our preacher, billiard-ball bald for a full decade, references his condition frequently. He also smiles as much as anyone I know. (Maybe his humility and humor are key reasons that he’s been in the same pulpit for23 years.)A while back, he mentioned his “heavenly hairdo.” Breaking into a smile, he anticipated the inevitable “What’s a ‘heavenly hairdo?’”His answer: “There will be no dying or parting there.”…*****One guy short on follicles enlivened a party with boasts about winning a masquerade contest.“I painted the top of my head blue and wrapped myself in aluminum foil,” he explained.You guessed it—he passed himself off as a roll-on deodorant….*****We gray-haired guys fall short when we compete with the hairless in attempts at humor, almost always failing.Scientists have explained that the older we get, the deeper our hair follicles grow. When they reach the brain, there are two possible results.If the roots strike gray matter, the hair turns gray; if they strike a vacuum, they turn loose.”…*****A long-ago pastor stifled laughter upon noticing associates joining him on the podium for Sunday worship. One whose hair usually was gray had turned to the dye bottle—with burnt orange results. The other, adorning a hairpiece for years, sported a new one. (Still a “cheapo,” but styled differently.)“My soul,” the pastor exclaimed, “One dyes it, and the other buys it!”*****Most speakers often seek good-natured folks in the audience to be humor objects. Early on, I discovered a sobering reality—to make certain that they enjoy such treatment.On one occasion, I asked the “make sure” question about a man with the shiniest scalp in the room. “Better not,” my host cautioned, “Chemo.” ‘Nuff said….*****A few days ago, I gathered with a couple of dozen classmates to receive “golden anniversary diplomas” from Howard Payne University, where we were awarded sheepskins 50 years ago. I saw no oxygen bottles and heard minimal groans. Mostly, good humor reigned. One honoree thanked the chef for “cutting up the chicken for us.”Someone mentioned that this time, we got diplomas without cheating. One guy was showing off his “rainbow tie,” claiming “a pot at the end of it.”…I think he was the bald-headed man who dreamed of his youthful crew cut. “The crew bailed out,” he moaned. He then couldn’t remember if he’d taken his morning medicine. This reminded me that I had forgotten my morning pill ritual, so I hustled—okay, meandered—back to my room. As I departed, they were talking about earlier resolve to pick up pennies spotted on the pavement. Nowadays, there’s no bending over for anything less than a silver dollar, and not even then for sure. A few minutes later, I gulped down assorted pills, thankful I am still able to gulp….*****
Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com.