The Function of Humor in the Neighborhood
News from the Hill
Harrison Elected Pope of the Sister Bay Moravian Church.
After a contentious campaign, Harrison has been elected Pope of the Sister Bay Moravian Church. His first proclamation as Pope is to call him “Archduke Harrison, the Better, Chief Pontiff of All of the Moravian Churches in Liberty Grove”.
KDK: That is an impressive title.
ADH: Well, I’ve always said more is more.
KDK: Why ‘Archduke Harrison, the Better’?
ADH: Greatness is a relative concept. I know I’m good. I know I’m better. But am I great? I don’t know that. There may be a better Archduke than I will be. To tag my name with ‘great’ before we’ve considered all of the other Archduke Harrison’s seems shortsighted.
KDK: What do you think you’re first miracle will be?
ADH: That’s a great question, thank you for asking. I’ve been practicing with a mixture of flour, butter, sugar and chocolate chips. I hope my first miracle is to somehow transform those elements into gold.
KDK: Oh, like alchemy.
ADH: I don’t know any Al’s, but if he steals my idea, I will rain hellfire and brimstone on him.
KDK: What kind of goals do you have for your tenure as Pope of the Sister Bay Moravian Church?
ADH: As far as I know, this job has a title with no responsibility and no accountability. I’ve been watching my dad do this for years. I got this.
KDK: Any parting shots for your people?
ADH: No. I hate guns.
Other headlines we’re following today:
· Jackson Sees Shadow. Jackson emerged from his room today, saw his shadow and retreated. This means three more weeks of Safer at Home.
· Karen Read a Book. Along with the COVID-19 virus, Tom Brady signing with the Buccaneers, this should be considered the third horseman of the Apocalypse.
· Kerry’ Office Declared ‘Clean’. The two priests who performed the exorcism said, “That place was a mess! It looked like a cyclone met a hurricane and converged with a blizzard in there.” No deaths have been reported…neither have any reports of survivors.
April Fools’ aside, April is also National Poetry month.
The Function of Humor in the Neighborhood by Allison Pitinii Davis
Humor functions in the neighborhood as it functioned in the shtetl: the
only way into a world insistent on your pain. Something
you’d be shot for. If they want you to cry, tears are evasive;
if they want you vulnerable, vulnerability’s a cop-out; if they
want a confession, your confession is cheap. “When I
speak passionately, / that’s when I’m least to be trusted.” A
privilege to weep when to laugh is to choke on history. Oh
diaspora: seventy-five years ago I’d be gassed beside my
sisters, yet here I am, running out for milk in a heated car.
Does a funnier joke exist? Yet there’s so many jokes in this
neighborhood, that one barely gets a laugh.
You’re telling us.
Allison says of this poem, “I wrote this poem in response to criticism that my work is ‘too funny to be taken seriously.’ I wanted to explain that I am writing in a Jewish tradition where nothing is more serious than humor.”
These days are sobering, troubling, and dangerous. They are also days for mirth, laughter, and joy. The two sides can co-exist. As the writer of Ecclesiastes encourages, ‘for everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…a time to week, and a time to laugh.’ It seems these days are ripe for both.