The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Deep thoughts with Dave Barry

davebarry.jpg“The truth is, if you’re a conscious human being, you are conscious more and more of two things.

First, you’re going to die.

Second, while you’re alive, bad things are going to happen to you and people around you, and there’s nothing you can do about it.

And I don’t think we’re good at that. We pretend, day to day, that it’s not the case, that it’s a rational world and we can control it, and we can stay healthy and happy, and our loved ones will be around us. The truth is, none of that’s going to happen. You will die, and the end, even if you live a long life, is not going to be pleasant.


I formed a theory a long time ago that there are two reactions to that. One: religion. You create an afterlife. Now I think it’s a good idea, it makes people calmer. And then there’s humor. At its basis humor is a very strange, nervous reaction to, you know, death. To me that’s the only explanation of why so much of what makes people laugh really hard is scary. There are so many death jokes, so many movies where the humor situation is based on great danger–just a slight twist and it would be a horror movie. So to me that’s how we’re coping with it. We see right through our own narrative that everything’s OK, and the way we handle the resulting anxiety is to make jokes about it.

That’s an not original insight on my part. But the longer I live, the more I’m convinced that that’s why we have a sense of humor and dogs don’t.

I don’t know why we have music, though. That’s another issue.”

— Humor writer Dave Barry, The Atlantic (the magazine, not the ocean).

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posted May 18, 2010 at 11:23 am

Andrew Sullivan recently did some interesting pieces on what athiests think about death. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems to me that people who never really thought much about death, are more open to talking about it these days.
And that’s a good thing, because sure enough, we are all going to die. The first words of my Holy Spirit Novena sure got right to the chase: “Only one thing is important — eternal salvation. Only one thing, therefore, is to be feared–sin.”
Here’s the link for anyone interested:

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Dcn Scott

posted May 18, 2010 at 10:19 pm

Dave Barry is still great, thanks for the reminder.

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posted May 19, 2010 at 7:47 am

Thanks Klaire for sharing the link–it is the prayer of my heart. Please all, read and pray!

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posted May 19, 2010 at 11:10 am

Dave is wrong about one thing: many dogs demonstrate that they have a great sense of humor.

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posted May 21, 2010 at 9:36 am

KLAIRE, allow me to share a scripture with you that i hope will increase your understanding of who to fear.
luke 12 : 4 – 5 god bless !

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