I wasn’t going to write anything today, as I couldn’t imagine sending out a humor piece right now, when we’re all mourning and trying to comprehend such unfathomable evil, and having enough trouble sending our own babes back to school. But, then it dawned on me: This is why I — we — many of us (bloggers, humorists, comedians) write.
The other day I wrote a rant about someone cutting me off in the carpool lane. It was for a site I love, TheStir, where most of the readers don’t know me my motivation, sense of irony, and penchant for poking fun at cliches and stereotypes. As any blogger knows, the comments on major sites can be pretty harsh. Some of them mentioned how trite my article was, “The polar ice caps are melting … and people starving in our own backyards?” “Why did I even waste time typing this response to such drivel.”
To which I replied,
“Frankly, I regret you commented as well, and if you wanted to read about polar ice caps, why read a column titled “Did That Really Happen?” with an “LOL” label next to the title?
Also, I checked in my backyard and thankfully no one was out there begging for food. This is good because I probably would’ve tried to feed them jokes, since that’s clearly all I can comprehend (being I write them, rather than reporting on what’s wrong with the world). And, as everyone knows, jokes are not nutritious!”
I’d like to say that’s how I responded, because that would’ve been the deserved reaction, but instead, I took a moment to consider the comments. “Why does anyone care about this frivolous rant? Does a sarcastic article about minivans (or any of the topics humorist expound on) have any place in a world where horrible things are happening all around us? Have I somehow stolen moments of people’s precious lives with my ‘drivel?’”
Then this incomprehensible tragedy occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and I spent much of my weekend mentally wrestling over whether I need to protect my children more or drop my anxious over-protective tendencies (because they’re futile). I thought about copy cats, I kept my son out of religious school, I cried as each name was read aloud, I forced myself to read about each child (as heartbreaking as it was) because I thought I owed that to their memory, I considered becoming agoraphobic and taking my family down into that DSM diagnosis with me.
And I thought about not writing anything humorous until we could all come to grips with this injustice (So, like, never!).
But, I will and I hope other humorists do, and I hope people read their work and laugh. We aren’t stealing moments from unsuspecting readers, we’re providing levity, distraction and sometimes the most amazing respite from the obsessive and depressing thoughts (of our readers and ourselves).
I will post my column tomorrow, even though polar ice caps are melting … and it will be totally pointless and absurd. I promise.
I will also mourn with our country, I will hug my children tighter, I will obsess over their safety and I will struggle with how little control even the most over-protective moms, like myself, truly have.