For Me, Laughing At The World Is Great Therapy


“Just Ice for Buddy” — that’s what was written on the roadside cross. Even though it was all in capital letters, it took me a moment to figure it out. They meant “justice.”

I don’t know the history of the sign, so I don’t know if Buddy was killed by a drunk driver or shot on the site or what have you. I prefer to think he was a recovering alcoholic attending a family picnic and, when asked if he would like a refill of his drink, he finally drew the line and requested, “Just Ice.”

But I doubt it. Mr. Google suggests that Buddy was a dog that met an untimely end. Sigh. Writing about humans is easier than poking fun at animals, at least to me.

So much can happen to us after we’re gone. Even the biggest control freak among us will no longer have any control. I don’t want to be puzzled over by strangers because of a “Just Ice” sign. I want to die with dignity and then quietly fade from memory. I don’t want my relatives to suffer even the tiniest twinge of guilt, thinking they ought to visit my grave in the cemetery or get a nicer urn for my ashes. If I leave a legacy at all, I’d like it to be decent offspring and maybe a couple of humor columns that are still considered funny when they turn up decades later.

People always ask me, “Where do you get the ideas for your columns?”

Oh, man. Just look around. If I couldn’t laugh at the world, I’d probably crawl under a rock and stay there. Last week, the air conditioner went out at my store, and it was 85 degrees in there. We’d just replaced the other unit to the tune of $2,500. Funny, huh? It better be.

And the ways of the human animal are mystifying. The occupants of a nearby store decided to host their Independence Day party under my store’s back overhang. They moved in an entire picnic table and a barbecue grill, then got out the lighter fluid. The overhang is wood, but no matter. They lit up that charcoal anyway. And, yes, these are the same people who set the trash bin on fire on Memorial Day because they “were pretty sure” the briquets were out when they threw them in there. Funny? I try to look at it that way.

Sometimes even relatives force me to count to 10 before I reply. I went to see my ailing Uncle Jack last week. He has cirrhosis of the liver even though he has never had a drink in his life. Funny? Not to him. At any rate, he was telling me a story about the good ol’ days when he owned Broward Motorsport in Fort Lauderdale. He loved his time in that shop, yet he was complaining about an “old man” he had hired who couldn’t do anything but complain. (I’m sure you see the humor in that.) I asked, “Well, how old was he, Uncle Jack? Was he my age?”

“Oh, not that old,” Jack replied.

It’s funny if you can bite your tongue fast enough.