Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The tragic comedy

Someone once said that life is a comedy for those who think and a tragedy for those who feel.

I guess I fall into both camps. Certainly anybody who has paid attention to the recent Knox County Commission appointments debacle can see the humor in such absurdity, adults acting like children. But anybody who knows about the senseless murders of Halls High security guard Russell Kocur and Halls High grad Chris Newsom see only heartache.

But I'd be lying if I didn't lean more toward the latter statement. My friend Amanda Mohney has a good way of describing it. She says I'm a "Kind of Blue" kind of guy, while she's more of a "Bitches Brew" gal. Maybe preferences for Miles Davis albums aren't the best analogy, but you get the point.

Everything I love affects me emotionally. People, of course. A good song. A great movie. That great American novel.

I've made a vocation out of observing human beings. I laugh a lot. I cry a lot, too, if only figuratively. I've often thought about writing a book on it called "Still Looking." Too bad John Updike beat me to it -- at least the title anyway.

One thing I've never understood is how quickly folks pass in and out of your life. You know what I mean. Those you wine and dine with daily disappear with the morning fog. Good friends become rank strangers overnight. A little part of me dies inside whenever that happens.

Course, you gotta laugh at life, too. Take this afternoon in the newsroom. Emily busts in, tells Shannon she took a classified ad for burial plots that read "5x5" instead of "side by side." I was still chuckling on the way home.

Sometimes there's beauty in tragedy. Listen closely to George Jones' "He Stopped Loving Her Today." That three minute ball of misery is in its way the most beautiful country song ever recorded.

Guess that doesn't make sense, but you know, we humans are complicated folk. Some of us laugh through the pain. Others cry through the humor.

Oh, well. Way it goes, I guess. What is it that ol' Jimmy Buffett says about it?

"If I couldn't laugh, then I would go insane..."


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