C.J. Marshall: Significa: A good laugh is priceless
Many years ago, an event occurred that suddenly made me realize a very precious bond that I share with my dad.
I was in my teens, and Dad and I were in the living room, watching television. I even distinctly remember the program - it was a Bob Hope special. Anyway, my brother Clint came downstairs, went into the kitchen and starting talking to Mom. After a few minutes he asked what we were watching, and she told him. Then I heard Clint ask why were we watching that particular program. To which Mom replied, with obvious disapproval: "Aw, your father and your brother will laugh at anything!"
As you can tell I heard that clearly, but I just smiled at the time. And it brought into focus something I had sensed for years, but until that day had never fully realized - that Dad and I just love a good laugh.
That doesn't mean Mom and Clint were serious fogies who had no sense of humor. Quite the contrary, there were many times when we would all enjoy a good comedy as a family. But in the family, only my dad and I really savor the gift of humor and fully appreciate its value in life.
From the time I was very young one of the highlights of growing up was watching TV with Dad in which some good funny entertainment was on the tube. I recall as we both roared with laughter at the antics of Bugs Bunny, the Three Stooges and the various sitcoms - the good ones - of the day. It always made me feel real good when we would laugh in unison - probably because those who laugh always appreciate having someone with them to share the laughter.
This bond we share is even more precious to me because throughout our lives Dad and I have often walked different paths in other areas. It's nobody's fault - it is just he likes certain things, and I have other interests, and that was it. For example, my dad loves sports, as does Clint, and many a weekend throughout the years they spent glued to the television, cheering on their favorite teams in action. Me, I couldn't for the life of me understand what those 22 idiots were doing fighting over that odd-shaped ball on the field. My idea of a good time was a good hokey monster movie in which some guy in a rubber suit with the zipper clearly showing in the back threatened the hero and heroine. Trouble is, Dad always looked at me as if I was brain-damaged when I asked to watch that stuff. What can I say, I always have had a taste for cheesy entertainment.
Oh well. One of my most cherished memories with Dad also involved my brother. Clint and I decided one day to go see the movie "Blazing Saddles" and Dad offered to drive us to the theater. He had a lodge meeting that day, so we picked the early show, giving the three a chance to see it. And I'm very grateful we opted to take that course of action, because what a fun event it turned out to be.
The movie is now considered a comedy classic, but at the time it was still mint-fresh and largely unknown. In fact, the three of us had little idea what were in for - all we knew was what we'd heard via word-of-mouth. But from the moment the movie started, it was just one huge giggle-fest for the three of us, as well as the rest of the audience. That of course made it even better, because laughter always works best with a crowd. The nature of much of the humor restricts me from going into too much detail, of course, but I can say that when Mongo rode into town and got the candy-gram from Bart it was at that moment the film solidified into a golden moment for the three of us. Funny the movie was, but the three of us experiencing it together made it priceless.
Humor of course is very subjective - not everyone laughs at the same thing. Another movie that came out a few years later was "Smokey and the Bandit." Clint and I saw it in the theater, and enjoyed it, but this time Dad was not with us, unfortunately. He saw it with Mom a few days later, though. When I spoke to Mom and asked her how she liked the movie, her reaction was "Eh, it was all right, I guess, but I didn't think it was that funny."
I digested this for a few seconds and then a thought suddenly struck me.
"I'll bet you Dad was really laughing at it," I observed.
"Yes," she replied in that disapproving voice of hers, which once again brought a big smile to my face. Because it proved once again that Dad and I are always on the same page as far as gift of humor is concerned. We've had our differences over the years, to be sure, but the fact that we both love a good laugh is the ultimate bond people can share, and something I prize most highly of all.
Happy Father's Day, Dad.
C.J. Marshall is a writer/columnist for The Daily Review. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; or (570) 265-1630.