I don’t know if it’s just because I was such an impressionable young kid, but I always thought that pipes were so cool. Not smoking pipes, or smoking tobacco in general (of which I have a rather mixed and confused opinion–but that’s fodder for a later day, I suppose), just pipes. They’re retro and sophisticated and remind me vaguely of Sherlock Holmes. Yes, they slowly kill you off, but so does everything else in this world–fatty food clogs your arteries, cell phones give you brain damage, children murder you so they can gain their inheritance, and sharks (while lovable) have a nasty habit of eating people just because they have open wounds and are in the middle of the ocean floating like a sea turtle. What’s up with that?
I have a theory about why everything kills people so easily: Because if people didn’t die, then what would we laugh at? As I recently said in an award-winning blog comment: It is in the nature of human beings to laugh at the misfortunes of others. Sure, it really sucks for people we know and love to get cancer and die because they were bitten by a radioactive shark, but at the same time, you just have to laugh at it–because you aren’t the one dying. Laughter, one might say, is the over-the-counter-with-some-really-effed-up-side-effects-medicine for immortality in the human race. By trivialising death and suffering, we deny their power over us.
So next time you laugh at a video of a man being hit in the groin by a football, remember: There’s nothing to be ashamed of but human nature. And, if Christianity has taught us anything, it’s that there’s no reason to be ashamed of our own humanity.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go flush some things down the toilet.