HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR HUMOROUS MUSCLES (title of a workshop I used to facilitate)

HOW TO DEVELOP YOUR HUMOROUS MUSCLES (Note: There is a bone in the upper arm which is called the humerous bone. It connects the shoulder with the elbow or “funnybone.”)

Why Humour is important in Today’s World: Humour is an important communications tool. It helps us to enjoy the company of other human beings.  It can bridge the generation gap, the language gap, and I believe, even the species gap.  Your dog (and perhaps even your cat?) has a sense of humour. (If it is a pitbull it might not?)

I used to think that people who laugh and joke a lot were born that way. I envied these happy carefree likeable folk who were so lucky because they didn’t seem to have the problems  I had.  I now realise that those who experience long-term physical, mental and/or emotional distress learn to develop their ‘humorous muscles’ as a method of coping with their situation. A sense of humour has become for them, a survival tool. Without it they may fall into the depths of despair.

It has been discovered that humour can strengthen the immune system to help fight off disease. Laugh rooms have been incorporated in cancer wards. I believe this concept will be instituted more and more in the future to help ease symptoms of physical and mental distress. I clipped an article out from the newspaper about how Japanese scientists are studying this phenomena.  Comedians and those who write humour material may one day be hired as health service providers. 

Throughout the nineteen-seventies and early-nineteen eighties, I composed a weekly humour column entitled “Sense and Nonsense.”  for local newspapers. Some weeks I incorporated nonsense poetry into the material to complement the happenings of the times. By 1983, while my son was at home and working at the sawmill, I had accumulated quite a collection of poems. Much of it was satirical, which was popular in those days.

 Bruce was a big fan of political cartoonists such as Roy Petersen, whose witty artwork graced the big city newspapers. I was amazed at how well my son was also able to caricaturize Pierre Trudeau and other politicians. We decided to combine our talents to put together and publish a chapbook entitled “The Pumpkin Eaters”. The publication received enough accolades to greatly inflate our egos, but not enough sales to defer the costs of printing 1000 copies. (1000 copies is a whole lot of copies!)

A cartoonist is described as a writer who can draw. Over the years Bruce’s interests and talents have veered slightly from being an accomplished visual artist and illustrator, to creating volumes of poetry and prose at the Gallery Gachet in Vancouver, where he spends much of his time. He has self-published books of poetry and prose. And in September 2018, his graphic short-fiction collection “I Threw a Book Through a Window” was published.

Bruce suffers from schizophrenia. Even so he often inserts humour into his writings and artwork. “Humor is therapy”, he once told me. “It helps to neutralize the pain.

Good for you, Bruce! Humor can change the world!

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