Sense of Humour

Well, I should have fixed the subtitle.

We have a lot of different senses. My favourite is the sense of humour.

Here are a few things I know about humour:

It’s personal

We all have our own sense of humour. There is no objective truth about funny. And? Humour appears in every culture. In fact, the world’s oldest recorded joke is a fart joke from 1900 BC. With that in mind? Pull my finger…

It’s better in connection

If something is funny for you and not for me – That doesn’t mean that it isn’t funny. It means we missed each other. That is a loss. Pull my finger

All in the timing

When are you engaged with your sense of humour? How is your timing? Everything humourous is about timing. Where, when and with whom determine humour. Pull my finger


Compassion and empathy are key when connecting with someone else’s sense of humour. Pull my finger

Humour is anarchic, aggressive and destructive

Paradoxically, sometimes humour is completely insensitive. As humans, aggression is part of who we are too. There are times when aggressive humour is a great tool to ‘get shit done’. Pull my finger.

Humour doesn’t always work

Frequently , we believe that our joke is good, funny and going to kill before we speak. Our certainty allows us to speak up. The others? They’ll tell us if we’re funny to them or not. They get to decide if we’re funny to them. We’re always funny to ourselves. Pull my finger.

Humour can be painful

For some, playful, light hearted joking isn’t available. For others, past experiences of ridicule can emerge in the present when joking, or engaging in light play. Because humour can be a conduit to past hurts, it can be a great way to access and explore shame with a client. Pull my finger.

Humour can help us survive

As the son of a retired firefighter, I’ve never met a group with a better sense of humour than emergency responders. When my father worked, practical joking, funny movies and general silliness pervaded the fire stations. Given that at any moment he and his colleagues could be faced with danger, death or dismemberment, humour was safe haven amidst this uncertainty. And like any survival tool, humour can become a crutch, or an armour if overused. Pull my finger.

Humour and wellness

Finally, a well-balanced sense of humour can be an indication of wellness, confidence, attachment and personal security. This to me is essential. The word, humour, comes from the latin root of “umor” which means “body fluid“. Of course this initially referred to the four humours or bodily fluids of humorism. The belief that these fluids, blood, yellow bile, black bile, and phlegm, needed to be in balance for a person to be healthy, while off the mark, was the basis of most western medicine from the time of the ancient Greeks until the advancement of modern science during the Enlightenment. Pull my finger.

The body fluid/ the fluid body

So, I rather like this notion that humour comes from the words body fluid. Simply reverse them and there’s what I’m striving for as a therapist. I work to help people to become more fluid in their approach to life. In doing so, I help people have better humour. Fluid, not frozen. Fluid, not steamy, pressured or explosive. Fluid. Consistent. Constant. Powerful. Resolute. Pull my finger.

So, how’s your humour?

One Derful Thing

Some, like me were lucky enough to grow up in a household where fart jokes were happily encouraged. Others? This was likely ‘mannered’ out of you. Fart jokes transcend social class.

If you haven’t watched this video yet, do it now:

So good.

In my book? (and this newsletter is becoming my book) Farts are always funny.

Even when you poop your pants its funny for someone somewhere.

Despite this? We don’t own our farts. The teacher here who clearly strains, pushes, then is surprised by her own Bronx cheer, tries to deny that she farted.

The one who smelt it dealt it

This is a game. It’s a more difficult game to play via zoom. And fart denial is a great game to play. It’s part of the foundation of a fart joke. It’s a matter of flirting with shame and embarrassment.

Today? When it comes to your farts? Don’t loan it, own it.

Find someone who wants to play. Boldly announce your farts.

I know what you’re thinking: EW.

I know.

So. Make it easier on yourself.

Find a partner.

When you need to fart

(and everyone needs to fart sometime)

Recruit a friend to share in your shame and embarrassment.

Issue the primary fart joke directive:

Pull my finger.

Once they do this?

It’s almost automatic.

The fart will come out.

Try to make an event of it.