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You are here News Editorials Alex Baer: Santa, Fox News, and the Pope Walk Into a Bar...

Alex Baer: Santa, Fox News, and the Pope Walk Into a Bar...

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relaticityTime, like year-end commentaries, are convenient constructions to help us make sense of our lives.  In the great scheme of things -- or, in The Great Scheme of Things, as you prefer -- both make little difference.  It's not that they don't matter;  they do.  Both require great patience to endure, and both direct our wooly thoughts here and there, willy-nilly.

Distractions explode, pop, and stutter in the mind.  This is especially true if, like me, your concentration and mental discipline are not what they once were.  Digesting a few recent tidbits in the news has proven tougher on my stomach than freeze-dried ostrich or owl jerky.

For example:  In the last week, via media reports, I've bumped into various aspects of God, Santa Claus, Fox News, Albert Einstein, and Pope Francis.  In a move displaying little to no apparent evolutionary advantage, my mind insists on turning these random exposures into patterns -- in this case, jokes of the sort which always begin with a long, convoluted list of people and animals all walking into a bar...

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To demonstrate how far afield I shamble these days:  It makes me wonder what humor's role or purpose may be in our lives.  Like some primates twisting and scrunching up the face, and baring the teeth, these are all perfectly acceptable activities, providing a certain set of unthreatening, intention-signaling noises accompany the facial display.  These signs can indicate playtime.  In humans, these same displays can indicate stress relief, an imbalance of personal chemistries and/or medications, or just be a sign of the annual rounding-up of documentation in preparation of filing one's taxes. Humans complicate everything they touch, I suspect.  Sometimes we even remember to add laughter.

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