“Why so serious?” It’s not just a great saying from one of my all time favorite comic book villains but it also sums up my outlook on… well, almost everything.
As I write this I’m reminded of a family member making the comment that I’d sell more books if I were more serious. While that could be the case I also have to say that just isn’t me.
Let me explain. All my life people have informed me that I am a “very personable person”. That’s in quotes because that’s how friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances have described me. Time and again I’ve been informed that I “have the gift of gab” and that “people just like you”. Apparently that’s just how I am… likeable.
It goes beyond that though. I enjoy making people smile because I like it when people smile. Hell, I like, no, LOVE to entertain. Sure you can be serious and entertain but not very many people can get a smile from a straight-faced, serious person.
I also love to write horror and in doing so I’ve come to see that life is stressful like it is in a horror novel. Everyone worries or is fearful about something in his or her daily life. It doesn’t matter if it’s something as simple as what to have for dinner, or middle ground stressful like a child’s messy room or extremely stress like being short on a mortgage or rent payment. Whatever your life is like we all stress over or fear something everyday. Even I’m not immune to this.
Recently I’ve been diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and that shocked the daylights out of me. “Shocked” is putting it lightly. “Terrified” was more like it. My mother was 63 years old when she died and it was Type 1 Diabetes that took her. Sixty-three is a young age in my mind so how could I not take such news seriously?
Though I have been given this serious diagnosis I know that it can be reversed and it could be much worse. I could have been diagnossed with cancer or something just as devastating. Still, I laughed. Save for my wife, my extended family was shocked and slightly dismayed that I’m still joking about everything around me.
My response to them was, you guessed it, “Why so serious?”
I’ve been asked, “Why aren’t you taking this seriously?” Yes, I know some will ask that and my answer is this… I am.
I see it like this; you have multiple choices in life when faced with such a situation. 1) You can furrow your brow and say, “I’m beating this” and then get grim and tackle it, which is a solid option. 2) You can shrug it off like an idiot and say “What the Hell do they know.” I know people even today with this attitude. 3) You can make the changes and laugh at your own stupidity. Three was my choice. I knew my family history and I ignored it. That in itself was utterly stupid. But still I laugh as I evolve.
Once informed I smiled, laughed, and started listening to my doctor and nutrionist and following what they recommended. Why I have even began doing what my wife tells me to do. Now, that’s a change! See? I made a joke; a clichéd one but a joke nonetheless.
What few in my extended family fail to realize is this; will being serious all the time sell more books or help my health? Maybe it will but laughter and a postive outlook are strong medicines indeed. First and foremost I want to be, and will strive to remain, approachable, personable and friendly to all. In my life I’ve come closer to death than I’ve ever cared to get and I was fortunate that God allowed me to walk away. I understand that how I’ve touched people’s lives is just as important as selling any book I have written or ever may write.
So my question to you is “Why so serious?” Be fun, be kind and treat others with the respect and gentle smile that you would want. A smile and a laugh can save someone’s life, I know it did mine :).