Literature of a Low Order


“I never had but two powerful ambitions in my life,” confessed Mark Twain in Helpful Hints for Good Living. “One was to be a pilot and the other a preacher of the gospel. I accomplished the one and failed in the other, because I could not supply myself with the necessary stock in trade—i.e. religion . . . But I have a ‘call’ to literature, of a low order—i.e. humorous. It is nothing to be proud of, but it is my strongest suit.”

Alas, I’ve also run short on religion and aspire to write literature of a low order. My heroes are the likes of Mark Twain, Garrison Keillor, Woody Allen, Dave Barry, Jon Stewart and Soren Kierkegaard.

I write to make people think, but I also want them to smile. And a genuine laugh is a better reward for my efforts than fame or fortune, although some of the latter wouldn’t hurt.

Life is serious business—certainly mine has been the past few years—but we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously. We need the skewed perspective humor provides, even in hard times. Especially in hard times.

Prepositions are the key to laughter: Laugh out loud, at yourself, with others, under the circumstances, over mistakes, in trouble, off the cuff, between tears, through difficulties, until it hurts—when it hurts. (“When” is an adverb put here to tweak the grammar police.)

If this post didn’t make you smile or laugh, find something today that does.

“God writes a lot of comedy … the trouble is,
he’s stuck with so many bad actors
who don’t know how to play funny.”
—Garrison Keillor

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