I don’t know and I don’t care.
I saw this joke somewhere on WordPress recently:
“There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who know binary, and those who don’t.”
And this one:
“A professor responds to an incorrect answer from a student: ‘Are you ignorant, or are you just apathetic?’ The student replies ‘I don’t know and I don’t care.'”
I have to wonder why I think the above two are hilarious. I realize that not everyone reading this will share my opinion. I think I like humor with a little “twist” to it. Of course, all humor relies on surprise in order to get a reaction or laugh. These two jokes have that. But they also cause me to think. They’re not immediately obvious. I had to consider the punchline for several nanoseconds before I got it, in these. I realize I enjoy cleverness, pun, and using my native English language in a compelling way.
There is all kinds of humor, geared to almost any kind of demographic we can think of. I tried doing a little research for this topic, but only got as far as a) rather simplistic dictionary definitions; or b) long essays, theses, or dissertations on the scholarly analysis of humor. Neither of these did much for me. I wanted a little more insight than the dictionary gave me, but over-analysing humor leaves me cold…brrrr!
I’ll just have to ask myself, and answer myself. Maybe I’ll get some good insight that way!
One thing I did read is that humor comes out of pain (or humiliation, loss, misfortune, or any of many other so called “negative” experiences). In fact, nearly every source mentions this. The problem with definitive, declarative, perhaps self-congratulatory statements like that is they tend to become an accepted part of cultural reality which then defies people to oppose them.
I think much humor does come from using past unhappy experiences to try to allow ourselves to feel better. In fact, much of stand-up comedy I’ve seen revolves around such themes as “I was such a dorky kid…”, or “My neighbors or my family are such idiots…” This can relieve stress, I suppose, but that sort of humor doesn’t ultimately feel uplifting, long term, to me.
I’m more of a “dry wit” or “goofy, off-center” fan. I think that Monty Python‘s “Ministry of Silly Walks” sketch is just the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I still nearly fall off my chair when it comes ’round. But, people I care deeply about will roll their eyes at the mere mention of Python. Why is that?
Humor is a form of Energy Therapy, just like Emotional Freedom Techniques, or massage, or deep breathing. Careers have been made on this claim (see here, and here, for instance). Authentic laughter releases energy blocks, and restores well-being. It’s highly individualized, though. Each of us has their “funny bone” in a different location. Dr. Norman Cousins says, “Find a way to laugh. Find what makes you laugh. Do what it takes, and you CAN heal.
I may not Know—but I do, in fact, Care.
“…so, this blogger walks into a bar…”