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However bad it might get, keep smiling


There’s a possible truism that a life-of-the-party type person – you know, jokes and megawatt laughing at everything – can only be that way if they know diddlysquat about what’s happening in the world.

Let’s face it, anyone who consumes too much daily news will get the smirk wiped off their face quick smart.

But I’m not so sure about this. As one who tends to worry (just a little) about being caught looking a little gormless in idle moments, I’m given to thinking those who consume and observe the least about the world around them, are the gormless ones.

After all, isn’t curiosity, a need-to-know and collective responses one of the big things that sets us humans apart from lizards?

Surely our inquisitiveness and connectedness is what keeps us going as vital, engaged and positive creatures?

Then maybe, I’m getting this all mixed up with one’s level of intelligence, but I do think gormlessness is more likely to be a brain (smart or dumb), that is simply parked up with a whiff of the motor still running.

Nothing wrong with that for moments such as deep sleep or having too many beers, but if we all worried excessively over the state of the war in Ukraine or the lawns in a terrible need of a mow, what the hell are we doing here?

Most of us only get between 70 and 90 years to live – if we’re lucky – so if we don’t find occasional time for a good laugh and escape, our nanosecond of existence is seriously munted.

Take our current prime minister as a prime example of smirking in the face of adversity? How on earth, with floods, Chris Luxon and unsold Auckland Airport shares to contend with, does he manage a chuckle at the drop of a hat?

Not all is explained by the fact he’s an Upper Hutt boy, but perhaps being grounded by humble beginnings has a lot to do with it. One can just imagine little Christopher Hipkins getting picked on by a big kid, only for the bully to be fully disarmed, in a fit of laughter, at little Hipkins’ timing and quick wit.

Of course, in comedy, timing is everything. Little Hipkins would have known a belt around the ears was coming if he didn’t get the moment right.

Speaking of timing, Dame Edna Everage aka Barry Humphries died recently. This was a man (woman) who launched onto humanity one of the most repulsive and offensive human beings, namely Cultural Attaché Sir Les Patterson. With Sir Les no doubt in mind, Humphries once said: “I defend to the ultimate my right to give deep and profound offence . . .  so long as people laugh while they’re being offended.”

On the other side of the coin and to be serious for a moment, we really do need to face up to what’s happening in the world. Some of it is seriously unfunny.

The cascade of news stories about shrinking ice sheets in Antarctica, to the 8-20 million tonnes of plastic released into our oceans each year, to right-wing despots winning elections and using their power to do away with democracy (elections) . . .  it should wipe the smile off all our faces.

But maybe the trick is, as always, to keep some balance. Optimism is our only hope, so don’t be gormless; be engaged. But above all, have a good laugh as often as possible, especially at ourselves.


You can contact Fraser here.

Fraser Carson is the founding partner of Wellington-based Flightdec’s kaupapa is to challenge the status quo of the internet to give access to more reliable and valuable citizen generated content, and to improve connectivity and collaboration.

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However bad it might get, keep smiling

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