Sherae_O'ShaunessyThis year, my 28th on planet earth, was far more difficult than the other 27. A lot of the difficulties were my own doing. Others were done unto me. And as a result I have been deeply sad and confused. All the while trying to maintain my professional responsibilities and a happy home for my daughter. But if I find myself with a minute without a task to accomplish or the company of someone to distract me from myself, I immediately feel this dull ache in my gut. Like someone took the wind from my lungs and the reasoning from my brain. Then one day I was at work at Lost Coast Communications, a building filled with talented, kind folks who also work in radio, and we were all just sitting around “working” and laughing. Talking about nothing in particular and making light of it. For the rest of the day I was in good spirits, I felt slightly optimistic about the future and instead of wallowing in despair I began to problem-solve.

That evening I realized the day had been a lot easier than days previous. But why? Maybe it was because I spent a large majority of it laughing like a lunatic with happy people. That day I remembered my roots. I am a comedian. I became a comedian because laughing has sometimes been the only thing to deliver me from pain. This, I believe, is the perfect time to rediscover my love for the ha-has.

Erma Bombeck once said, “There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.

When I was 5, my parents split. My mom took my siblings and left my dad and I to fumble in the dark and start from scratch. He never exposed me to what I am certain was his horribly broken heart and fear for the future. Instead, we laughed. He would playfully embarrass me with “date nights” where he would hold open doors and order “A Shirley Temple for the little lady.” We would watch “Howard the Duck” over and over and he would make up absurd tales that were so well worded I would have a hard time deciphering their validity. But we never cried. We never spent time worrying. We moved forward and we laughed. There was a night when I was being unruly and we were headed out to rent movies for what he affectionately called “Meyers Family Fun Night.” He told me that if I didn’t lock it up and behave I’d be forced to rent movies from the Eddie Murphy video store which specialized in all Eddie, all the time. I suppose the thought of watching “Beverly Hills Cop” on my favorite night of the week was a rude enough awakening to force me into better behavior. This is one of my favorite stories and a shining example of the humor I was raised with that I think set me on the path of stand-up comedy.

I do stand-up a lot less these days. I’ve become rather busy and at some point (I can’t recall exactly when but it definitely happened) nine o’clock became “late.” But that shouldn’t suggest I intend to live without humor. I am rich in very clever friends and if all else fails, I pop in a Louis C.K. DVD and boom goes the hilarious.

My stress level is astronomical lately and to make matters worse, I watched a video about how stress can actually kill you. I’ve learned to stay away from Web MD so I don’t think I’m dying all the time. But the video was pretty clear about your body having an inability to moderate hormone levels when you over do it. Whether you’re working yourself into an early grave or having a period of Bruce-Almighty-everything-is-going-wrong-and-it’s-not-my-fault. You can still do major damage to your vital organs and your life expectancy will plummet. What can you do? Chill out. Work less, eat well, exercise, rest appropriately, don’t hang out with dirtbags and laugh! (Laughing can also kill you, but let’s ignore that for now.) I recommend choosing a comedy over a horror film, looking at funny animal pictures and getting out to see a comedy show in Humboldt. There are many to choose from in Humboldt. (shameless plug!) Bottom line, laugh more. Laugh at nothing and everything. There is humor in everything.

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