JournalismPakistan.com March 31, 2014
There are so many things to laugh about in life. But, most of all, I laugh at myself. There is so much to laugh about. My bank account. The hug chasm between my expectations and reality. What my thought she was marrying and what she got. The banana skins that have conspired to strew themselves in my path.
But things were kind of spoilt for me the other day when I was doing my usual little let down old Vohra routine and someone said, you know, you shouldn’t do that, you keep making fun of yourself and no one will take you seriously.
That’s much the point, I said bravely, too many of us take ourselves too seriously, migoodness, man, we even take our designations seriously, look around you, it is pure comedy.
He nodded in a sad sort of way and said, you discount yourself, sell yourself short, you think people are laughing with you when you joke about yourself, actually they feel sorry for you.
That’s okay, I say, some days I feel sorry for me.
There, see, he said, you are doing it again, you know you could have been a big success if only you didn’t always let yourself down and be the court jester.
You mean if I didn’t laugh about the state of my bank account, I said.
Yes, he said, you hurt yourself belittling yourself.
How do you explain to people like this that the crisis in confidence is on their side. That by making yourself the butt of your humor you actually inflate your confidence and end up feeling good about yourself. Like so many more of us did not so long ago when we weren’t so divisive and sensitive and seeking slight like we do now. We could laugh at ourselves and our institutions and set them up to funny mirrors and take a joke and feel that wonderful warmth seeping through us as we kidded about.
But now there is so much bitterness and ignorance and most of us are ready to be insulted at the slightest hint of a remark that we believe is aimed at us. On an especially bad day we can even declare war.
Take this gentleman and his good intentions. He actually means well when he advises me to stop with the self-persecution. He wants me to take myself seriously so other people can take me seriously. According to his theory (hugely popular these days) he believes the world will be a happier place if we all took ourselves seriously and paraded about all smug and pompous and full of ourselves. There are far too many of that tribe already.
(The writer is a Senior Editorial Advisor of Khaleej Times and the paper’s former Editor. He has also been the Editor of Gulf News, Gulf Today, Emirates Today and Bahrain Tribune)
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