I wish you could read my mail from time to time to hear what people who listen to Laugh Again are saying. Here’s one: “You are wonderful, wonderful, wonderful. And handsome. Please send money.” That’s from my wife. But most listeners are not related to me at all, and they love to laugh. But not everyone is thrilled.
Sometime ago I told a joke about a dear lady who was single all her life. When she passed away she asked that there be no male pallbearers. “They wouldn’t take me out while I was alive,” she said, “I don’t want ‘em taking me out when I’m dead.” Immediately I received a two-page letter. “Shame on you. You’re a bully. Your joke embarrasses and humiliates us single women.” Sadly she didn’t sign her name or address, so I couldn’t tell her about our program where my son talked about the blessings of being single. The greatest man who ever lived was single. Maybe some of us are too easily offended about the wrong things.
Humour is an increasingly dangerous business. There’s no story or joke I can offer that won’t invariably offend someone somewhere. A few months ago I told about a baffling sport called ferret legging where competitors tie their trousers at the ankles, insert ferrets into their pants and time each other to see who can last the longest. But I made the mistake of referring to these animals as vicious carnivores with claws like hypodermic needles and teeth like razor blades. I was exaggerating to make the point that most of us don’t go looking for pain; it finds us, so how do we find joy in the midst of it?
Last week I received a letter: “Phil, I was disappointed that you called ferrets “vicious.” They are every bit as loving and sweet as any dog. Ferrets have gotten a bad rap. Please don’t contribute to the massive amount of disinformation about them. Most of the letter was very kind and it had a point. Thankfully Marlene Blackburn, who works with The Ferret Rescue League, ensures us here at Laugh Again that no ferrets are harmed in the sport, and that in her area no contestant has ever been bitten, although [quote] “some may get a few scratches.”
Well, we all get a few scratches along the way, don’t we? But I trust our sense of humour won’t be scratched away. Listeners who laugh in the face of difficulty inspire me. God bless each of you who listens to this program. Julie and her kids on the drive home after school. John who listens in the bathroom so he can be uninterrupted. Parker, and all the other truckers, who turn up the laughter each day. And Thomas, my new friend who has invited me to his ferret farm. Thanks for the letters. Let’s celebrate and pass along the joy that only Jesus can give us today.
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