Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen

Every Good Thing Comes to an End

That was the title of the final M*A*S*H episode. It aired on February 28, 1983, and ran for 11 seasons.  I thought about that recently after watching the series finales of both The Big Bang Theory and Game of Thrones. While GOT garnered most of the attention last week, over 23 million people caught the final Big Bang episodes. Big Bang ran for 12 years, and I commented on Facebook the other day, that it’s really amazing to see what can happen when a show is given time to find an audience. This series will forever be linked in my memory to my good friends Larry and Renate. Every week, we would have some laughs as we discussed the latest adventures of Penny and The Guys. The episode where Sheldon hides in a ball pit, while Leonard valiantly tries to find him, was an instant classic. It was the first time I ever heard the word Bazinga!

Initially, I didn’t really warm up to Big Bang. It wasn’t because of the nerdiness of the cast. God knows, computer geeks like us are definitely as quirky as those guys were. For me, it was the awkwardness of the boy genius, grown into a man, Sheldon Cooper. To say that Sheldon is lacking in social skills is a massive understatement. What really made me squirm, was how his first response in every situation was always one of massive selfishness. Like Dr. Cooper, for some reason I am hardwired to react in virtually every scenario with one question, “How will this affect me?” I have recognized this flaw in my character and over the years, I have tried to battle it with self-reflection and empathy. However, Sheldon still has the ability to make me cringe.

As my wife and I sat down to watch the final back-to-back episodes of Big Bang, I thought about my friends Larry and Renate. We had all left the company we used to work for at different times, so we never really had a chance for a group goodbye. As my wife and I laughed and cried at the final episodes of Big Bang, plus the Young Sheldon crossover episode, I thought about my friends and how much I miss them. However, Larry is currently helping me develop the new home for this blog, so I talk with him, via video-chat from time to time. I haven’t seen Renate since we left our former positions. Just like Big Bang, every job comes to an end. However, if we continue to reach out to our friends, it doesn’t have to be goodbye, farewell, and amen.

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The Value of a Good Laugh

There’s Nothing Like It

Recently, I got together with some good friends at a local bar for a few beers and some good laughs. Thankfully, I was able to find a table at the back of the room so we wouldn’t disturb the other patrons too much. Once everyone arrived, we all figured something out. By our calculations, we had not been together as a group for about thirty years. After catching up on how everyone was doing, and how their families were doing, the stories started to flow. A trickle at first, but soon a flood. Every story that surfaced brought along a few other tales as well, to the point where I was making fast and furious notes for future articles. I haven’t gone back to look at those blurbs yet. Hopefully, they’ll make some kind of sense.

At one point in the evening, a story was being told that didn’t cast me in a very good light. As the tale unfolded, it got even worse. When I was younger, I would immediately try to change the subject, and let some other poor sucker be the source of entertainment. However, over the years, I like to think that I have matured a little and developed a thicker skin. Plus, I think I have developed the essential ability to be able to laugh at myself. In my opinion, there are just too many people in this world these days who can’t take a joke. Just yesterday, I read a story about a comedian who told a joke and a couple in the audience called the cops on him. What the heck? Have we come full circle, back to the days when comics like Lenny Bruce would routinely get tossed in the clink for using the F-word? Today, the crime is offending somebody. You know what they say if they can’t take a joke.

Anyway, what was I talking about? Oh, yeah. The tale being told about me was a good one, and I will certainly not repeat it here. At one point, I was laughing so hard tears began rolling down my face. I haven’t split my sides like that in years. It felt wonderful. Generally, I’m the one who brings up the stories that get everyone cracking up. It felt really good to be able to let go, and laugh my head off. Somebody made the comment that we might all need Depends if we decide to get together again. Just as a precaution. We’re all in our late fifties after all. I think a good laugh has a way of cleansing the soul. It cuts through all of the garbage we go through in life and it hits that sweet spot in our being. It taps into our storehouse of instantaneous joy. I’ll have to have a good chuckle more often. Even if I have to go back and watch some reruns of Wipeout and America’s Funniest Videos. I hope you enjoy a good laugh today and pass it on!

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