Even Shakespeare’s darkest tragedies infuse comic relief. Can we say Macbeth and the Porter in unison everyone. The town fool supplying tension-breaking buffoonery is a staple in all great drama. Laughter at follies, and especially at others’, is part of our human dynamic. Without it the world would be dark, dim, and morose.
Still, nobody likes to be viewed as the fool or as having done something foolish. In essence, we want ….even need….comic relief; however, we prefer for others to be the butt of the joke. Not ourselves. And there is at times a certain perversion felt when we see ridiculous acts. Even when we commit them ourselves.
It reminds us of our frailties, to not take ourselves or our lives too seriously all the time.
And sometimes the most foolishly seeming acts are at their core the most humane ones, ones fueled by human kindness and deep love.
Recently the internet has exploded with the story of The Pink Tutu Project, a breast cancer awareness philanthropy spearheaded by a man who traveled the globe clad only in a pink tutu in an attempt to make his wife smile during her cancer treatments.
If we just saw the pictures, at first glance, we’d be apt to think—what a fool, such a loon.
At further inspection and upon leaning the impetus behind the picture, and the story, and the project itself, we’d realize this is an act of sheer brilliance inspired by profound love. Bob Carey utilized tom foolery and himself as a canvas for the absurd with the intention and hope of bringing laughter and joy to his ailing wife as she faced terminal, untreatable cancer.
He is the embodiment of what the great artists all know best—laughter is a needed commodity in life. Comedy, the character of the fool, is imperative to craft not only a good yarn but also a relatable, empathetic one. Because in many ways, humor is the greatest tonic for that which ails us. Norman Cousins’ book Anatomy of an Illness is the account of how after a debilitating illness he prescribed laughter as his medicine. It worked.
So lighten up. Don’t judge your mistakes or errors too harshly.
Don’t face life through the Eeyore lense. Many a times we need to adopt the Tigger philosophy, or that of Norman Cousins or Bob Carey. So next time you see a fool or are called a fool, remember this cheery edict—Forget others’ opinions, laugh! So go ahead, and make a fool of yourself. Who cares what people think? Because laughter is good medicine and most often it is the fool who provides the prompt.