Gallows Humor Swings

Fearless Frontiers Of Ventriloquism

“Be nice to your enemies; you just might be one of them.” Taz Mopula

If you’ve been blessed/cursed with Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder) you’ll be spending time off the beaten track, in some cases, far off – for example, you might find yourself lying face down in a drainage ditch paralleling the beaten track, being pecked on the head by an irate duck.

At moments like this you can weep and shake your fists at the sky, or you can scratch your head in wonder at the dizzying, diverse smorgasbord of experience life has set before you, and laugh with bemused disbelief. Both options have merit, but healthy bipolar bears benefit from developing a resilient sense of humor predicated on perspective.

“The world is most certainly not a fair place, which, for the vast majority of us, is very fortunate indeed.” Taz Mopula

Laughter sheds light on a dark situation, creates distance, and generates power. Indeed, seeing the absurdity and irony of threatening situations is a great way to make them less intimidating. Courtrooms, prison cells, mental hospitals, distraught loved ones, and the offices of therapists are not intrinsically funny – however – the most beautiful lotus emerges from the darkest mud.

“People are always finding God in prisons and mental hospitals; but try finding a gift shop.” Taz Mopula

Becoming better at doing this means developing an ability to find humor in the most unpleasant, disagreeable situations life has to offer, because these will be the moments when it is most desperately needed. This may serve to further estrange you from those who have never strayed onto the shoulder of the beaten track, much less off of it. At this point you can pretend that your view is not as wide as it is, or acknowledge the distinction and let them deal with it.

“Pretending not to know the obvious is exhausting.” Taz Mopula

In a politically correct environment like ours, where the consensus holds that pretending a duck-billed platypus is a swan will make it so, there are those who believe Tourette’s Syndrome is comedy gold, ripe with satiric potential – and those that believe it is always wrong to make fun of the disabled.

“Political Correctness: An experiment in social engineering which holds that renaming dung mousse au chocolat makes it edible.” Taz Mopula 

The problem with this, dear reader, is that bipolar bears ARE disabled, we have already learned that, when it comes to comedy, all of life is fair game, especially ourselves. Indeed, we know that being able to see the humor and absurdity in our own pain, our bizarre affliction; is a key ingredient of healing.

“The better your vision becomes, the harder you laugh.” Taz Mopula

Heard This One?

If You Cannot See Yourself As Others Do You Will Never Understand

Life is not funny; indeed, life repudiates all attempts to describe it.

People, on the other hand, with their vanities, hubris, delusions, and complete inability to accept existence as it is, are endlessly funny. The closer you get to the dark, corrupt heart of humanity the harder you laugh.

For me; truth, art, humor and pain have always been like four compass arrows at the North Pole; they seem to point away from one another but do just the opposite, and circumscribe all we have, and are, in the process.

I have never succeeded in teasing these elements apart. All three of my books look mercilessly at painful subjects: mental illness, evil, and addiction. Yet, all are outrageously funny – in the words of one reader – “wickedly funny”.

My cartoons, which pair found art & photography with created captions, are oddly entertaining, but rarely yuck yuck stuff. In them you often see the razor’s edge of satire, an author disappointed by humanity.

Taz Mopulisms – those Twitter-friendly snippets of faux profundity – are usually absurd, at least in part.

The harder I work to be honest, the funnier my output becomes. There is no changing that now. But understand; cheap laughs are not my quarry. I started down the road to madness over 40 years ago; since then Manic Depression (Bipolar Disorder) and chemical dependency have followed me like a curse.

Amazingly I have defeated them, but I am one of the lucky few.

I am a foot soldier in a war. I have lost so many dear friends and even family members to suicide of all descriptions – and I myself have peered over the ledge more times than I care to remember. I write for me, of course, because that is what I do. But I also write on behalf of the ones who didn’t make it, my lost brothers and sisters, for the benefit of those who need to see the other side.