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Life is the journey to discover yourself.

Friday, August 22, 2008

What is humor ?

As a logical and serious person by reputation, who actually takes pride in her analytical abilities, I found myself getting into trouble and mental turmoil by just relying on assumptions and logic. I was talking to my brother one morning and he very wisely pointed out to me that life becomes a breeze when we find humor in our daily life. Given what I am, it was not surprising that I embarked on my journey to search for humor, logically. A web search yielded a pretty good result. "One’s sense of humor involves the capacity to appreciate incongruity, absurdity, an unexpected future, a pleasant surprise, a startle, getting it and/or emotional chaos remembered in tranquility." My brother had his own explanation. "Humor is triggered when we don't understand something. For instance, we see a fat man wobbling down the street and we laugh. We do not understand why he got fat or why being fat, he cannot walk with a quick upright gait." My interpretation was that the most pathetic moments can actually seem funny when we take a 100 feet view of it.
The other day I was venting out to my friend about all the problems in my life. My eyes were filling up with tears and my nose too with clear mucous. I did not have a tissue around. (Ugh! That's gross. Please stop.) And in the midst of all the sorrow, I thought that I actually presented a pathetic as well as a funny picture. So I told my friend. "Please, don't laugh at me now." Very recently, something happened that made me understand that humor is, in reality, a "logic buster".
I use an email application called "Lotus Notes" at work. Periodically, we have to change our passwords on it for security reasons. I had been noticing lately that when I typed my password on Lotus notes, the picture right beside the text field would keep changing as I went on typing. When I was done typing my previous password it actually had a picture saying "lotus notes". In my infinite wisdom, I assumed that when we are done typing the correct password, the picture always says "lotus notes". My assumption, got me in trouble the day after I updated my password.
I had an early morning teleconference that day. I had carefully remembered to bring my laptop home. My husband, very kindly, volunteered to drop off my kids that morning so that I got my peace and quiet to work efficiently. The teleconferencing details were sent out in a note. I quickly turned my computer on and got into the company network and brought up Lotus Notes, without understanding that all that haste was completely in vain. I typed my password and saw the picture change to a red warning sign. "Oh my God! I could swear that this was the password I changed to and even wrote down. But that note book is safely locked in my office so I had no way to verify it. I tried a bunch of times and so I thought but I just could not get in. I even thought of some possible typos that I might have made when I was changing the password. I tried all of those but nothing worked. I quickly packed my laptop back and headed for my office. Hopefully, I can try out some more things and also verify with my notebook. Something told me I was meant to miss that meeting.
Back at office, it did not get any better. I looked at my notebook to see what I wrote. Alas! I had remembered the password just as I wrote it, all this time. So my conclusion was that I had mistyped twice (the exact same way), while changing my password. Now if any of you know, resetting a Lotus notes password is a really tedious process. The reset password comes to your account, which you cannot access and to your manager's account. Also there is a file that we need to change locally on the computer to complete the whole process. I went ahead and reset my password online. Completely resigned to the fact now I am at my manger's mercy, I for the very last time typed my password as was written on my note book. The red warning picture appeared at the side. I pressed the "OK" button, expecting the pop up message for the "incorrect password", as I had been seeing for the past one hour. To my utter surprise, it took the password and I could see all the new mails sitting in my Inbox.
I had no explanation but I could not help laughing to myself and at myself about this long and agitated exercise in futility.


change_and_grow said...

I personally believe that humor cannot be fully defined, because humor is, as you said, a "logic buster." I never really needed a definition for it either; all I needed was to know was the power of humor. For me, humor and laughter magically releases tension and stress that I may not even be aware of. It has saved me so many times :)

Rachana said...

ahem, I can relate to such close moments many times.... back then I did not see any humor in them at the moment it was happening, but looking back I can laugh aloud. I wonder why? Imagine going for a interview and you find that traffic is crawling at 5 Miles/hr and when you are already risking running late, you find yourself amongst a maze of similar looking buildings and are wondering if you blew up the only chance at a job. I wish I had the ability to have taken it more lightly then, but I was all stressed out. Looking back I can smile... and say oh well!!