As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been the class clown.
If I may indulge in a spot of self-psychoanalysis, it’s very likely that my early years as the local comedian was due to the fact that I was quite often a victim of bullies. I was short, skinny and dark-skinned – 3 factors that tend to be used as excuses by young torturers to victimise you and humiliate you.
So I turned to humour. Much of my comic inspiration comes from TV, and since I wasn’t athletic enough to spend my free time playing sports, or popular enough to hang out with the cool clique at the local padang, I would have all the time in the world to watch and be inspired by the funny men and women on TV. Watching shows like The Cosby Show, Perfect Strangers (remember Balki?), Cheers, Family Ties, etc. would form the foundation for my sense of humour during my early years.
I very quickly learned that you could turn a potential bully into a (temporary) friend if you could make him laugh. The trick was keep them laughing at every moment of every day so as to make them forget their duties as bullies. It was hard work, and for the most part I would not succeed – and end up getting beaten up.
But then one day, something really cool happenned. As usual, I told a joke – and turned a bully into a friend. But this time, it was permanent. Maybe he just took that moment to grow out of the bullying phase, but whatever it was, he became my best friend and bodyguard. Suddenly, no one would dare to even look at me serong, for they knew I had a powerful friend watching out for me.
As the years passed, and after I had followed my family in crossing state-lines to settle down in Kay-El, I continued my role as the self-proclaimed Court Jester. Almost every sentence was preceded by, interlaced with and followed by a witty remark or two. My success rate has never actually improved from my childhood days: usually, only about 20% of my sarcastic remarks, witty one-liners and all-out jokes would actually hit the mark. But despite the 80% failure rate, I keep churning out (what I hope is) funny stuff, just for the 20% probability of seeing a person smile and hearing them laugh.
I no longer get bullied nowadays. Humour is no longer a tool I use as a defense-mechanism. I do still use it, however, as an ice-breaker when meeting new people (whether online or offline). I use it to reduce tension and defuse volatile situations. But most of all, I use it to cheer people up.
For truth be told, there is nothing more fulfilling to me than making someone smile and laugh. 🙂
Smile tho’ your heart is aching,
Smile even tho’ it’s breaking,
When there are clouds in the sky
You’ll get by,
If you smile
thro’ your fear and sorrow,
Smile and maybe tomorrow,
You’ll see the sun come shin-ing thro’ for you
Light up your face with gladness,
Hide ev-‘ry trace of sadness,
Al -‘tho a tear may be ever so near,
That’s the time,
You must keep on trying,
Smile, what’s the use of crying,
You’ll find that life is still worth-while,
If you just smile…
‘Smile’: Charlie Chaplin’s Theme Music for ‘Modern Times’
Lyrics by John Turner and Geoffrey Parsons – 1954