The Last Laugh

You know when you go to the circus, and you go to see the clowns…

Wait, scratch that. No one, and I mean, no one, goes to see the clowns. They are just some unfortunate part of the show that everyone is suffering through. Really, we’re all afraid to anger them in case they fly into a murderous rage, which we all know is as much a part of their act as throwing pies at each other.

Well, let’s just talk about the general idea of clowns. Sure, they’re funny…I guess. They fit in a small car, they shoot water out of their flower lapels, and they honk their noses. But have you ever noticed that clowns don’t tell jokes? Usually, clowns are completely silent, acting out their humor by playing tricks on one another. Or making fun of themselves. That’s right, they use themselves as the target for their own act.

So, are you a clown? Then, why are you making fun of yourself for the benefit of others?

Of course, if you’re anything like me, you just try to use humor as a deflector. You usually try to joke around when things get a little too serious. You like to tickle the elephant in the room instead of ignore it.

And, naturally, you try to poke a little fun at yourself so that other people don’t get there first. You would hate to hear what other people really thought of you, so you try to predict it and say it first. Hey, I’m just saying what everyone else is thinking, right? 

Wrong. You have no idea what people think of you, and to be very honest with you, people don’t think very often. So, you are probably several leagues off base with whatever you are going to say.

But if you still feel like you need to make a good impression, don’t show your hand. If you joke around and tell everyone that you’re a klutz, they suddenly become aware of every clumsy move you make. Why? Because you pointed it out to them, for no reason. And why did you point it out to them? Because you were afraid that they would get the last laugh. So, you took it for yourself.

But have you ever noticed that the only people laughing at the circus is the other clowns? Partially because, as we’ve established, clowns are not funny, so they have to help each other along. But it’s also because people don’t know where all of that self-loathing is bubbling up from. It’s the same idea with you. Why is this perfectly nice person calling herself an idiot? they wonder. They just see you laughing at your own “stupidity,” and they aren’t in on the joke.

So, stop trying to get the last laugh because you’re uncomfortable. Be confident in yourself and remember: you are a person, not a punchline.

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