How I Found My Humor

“What monstrous absurdities and paradoxes have resisted whole batteries of serious arguments, and then crumpled swiftly into the dust before the ringing death-knell of a laugh” ~ Agnes Replier

How my life has been shaped by humor.

And to think how close I came to losing laughter forever.

As a kid our home was filled with laughter. My dad was a laugh factory and his antics would keep us in stitches. Both my brothers had a great sense of humor and we could sit for hours recounting funny stories. I remember after I left Seattle for Chicago I couldn’t wait to return home to my brothers and their incredible humor. How they could make me laugh.

Laughter is not the same for all of us; we each acquire a taste for our own brand of humor. But whatever it is and whoever it is that makes us laugh, they are gifts of gold.

And to think how close I came to losing laughter forever.

At the tail end of my drinking nothing could make me laugh. I had completely lost touch with my sense of humor. And when an Irishman loses the ability to laugh you know he’s damn near the end.

When I sobered up and took the plunge into 12 Step recovery I was actually concerned that I’d never, ever find my sense of humor. I seriously wondered if I’d ever laugh again.

Well, I did find it. It all began on a trip to take out the garbage.

I was living on Queen Anne Hill at the time and I’d just completed my 5th Step. It was a Monday morning and I was preparing for an important call with a group of bankers in the board room of First National Bank.

  • I had worked all weekend on my presentation
  • I wanted to be seen as an expert in my field
  • I was determined to make the right first impression

When it was time to leave for the call I grabbed the bag of smelly garbage from my kitchen thinking I would dump it into the garbage can on my way to the car.

I sped off with my mind in a whirl with what I intended to say. I rolled off the I-5 freeway directly into the bank’s parking garage and parked in a space near the executive elevators that would take me to the top floor.

  • I felt like a lion ready to roar
  • A bull ready to charge
  • A tiger ready to spring

Upon exiting the elevator I was greeted by an executive assistant who ushered me into the boardroom where I found four bank executives already seated. I was led to the front of the table where I there was an overhead projection screen and everything I needed to make my presentation.

It’s then I took note of the puzzled, quizzical looks as on their faces.

I looked down, on the beautiful mahogany conference table where I had neatly placed my garbage.

It had never left my hand.

I looked up – caught the eyes of all those present – looked back at my garbage – and a broad grin came over my face. Then they all burst out in laughter in unison. This went on for a minute or two before I asked permission to leave to dump my garbage.

When I returned to the boardroom, it was clear that I had inadvertently stumbled onto the ice breaker to end all ice breakers.

When we got to the Q&A all anybody wanted to talk about was my bag of garbage and to relive the moment when I deposited it on their beautiful conference table.

I thought how many times I’d carried my thought garbage with me, always hidden away but nevertheless ready to contaminate the moment with an angry response, unkind remark, or cynical comment. How good it felt to be out front with my garbage where everybody could see it, laugh at it, and recycle it all with good hearty laughter.

Just A Thought…


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Copyright © 2017 by Patrick J. Moriarty. All rights reserved.

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