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Life In The Comic Zone
By:Stephanie West Allen

A Joking Matter

A key element of humor is the unexpected. Look at
jokes. Jokes are often based on reversal. Reversal is
an unexpected shift in the point of view of the person hearing the joke. The listener is led down a path by the person telling the joke and then all of a sudden the joke switches directions -- usually bringing about laughter.


A Garry Shandling joke: I sold my house this week.
I thought I got a good price for it -- but it made my
landlord mad as hell.

A Woody Allen joke: I divorced my first wife because
she was so immature. Id be in the tub taking a bath
and she would walk in whenever she felt like it and
sink my boats.

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You're going one way and all of a sudden you're
somewhere else. Your mind has to jump off the path
you thought you were following to get the joke and
laugh. The unexpected has occurred and the humor
depends on the unexpected.

Sometimes we are going along one way and quite
unexpectedly life takes another direction. A sense of
humor helps you to laugh at unexpected turns in jokes
and life.

Another way of creating humor is to juxtapose
opposites. Recall the movie The Odd Couple; Felix and
Oscar were certainly opposites and did they make us
laugh. Humor comes with the contrast and the

So often, we come upon people in our life who are very different from us. A person with a sense of humor smiles and appreciates the differences.

A sense of humor allows people to think more
expansively; and to associate more freely, both in
relationships between ideas and between people.

Let No Assumption Go Unquestioned

Questioning assumptions is another way to loosen up
the mind. Questioning assumptions gives us more options for behavior and thought because we examine the assumptions and see them for what they are.

For years, couples may be operating on assumptions
they have never checked out with each other.

I hate spinach.
So do I.
Why have we eaten it all these years?
I thought you liked it.
I thought you liked it.

Free yourself from any spinach tyranny in your life.
Ask yourself about everything you do:

Why am I doing it this way?
Does this way make sense?
Is there a better way?
Is there a more fun way?

When we question assumptions, we then have a
choice to perhaps behave and think in new ways.
The more you question assumptions, the more you may
laugh at some silly things you may have been doing.

When a person or company becomes attuned to the
process of questioning assumptions, it will happen
with greater and greater frequency. Those burned-in
thought furrows in the mind will begin to shift, and
change, and the mind will LULU.

Cause and Effect, Or Effect And Cause, or What?

One kind of questioning assumptions is the questioning
of cause and effect relationships. We often have these
unexamined notions that A leads to B; we assume that
B happens because A happened first. We set up these
rules of cause and effect.

Turn these rules of cause and effect upside down get unruly to see if there is any truth, or humor, there.
Where is the cause and where is the effect in these

I yell so my dog gets nervous. Or maybe I yell because my dog is nervous, or a yelling person picks out nervous dogs.

I cannot go out in the world and contribute because I
feel sick. Or maybe I feel sick because I do not go out into the world and contribute my skills and talents. Or the person who is unlikely to get involved outside herself is likely to get sick.

The workplace is frenetic so I feel stressed. Or I feel
stressed so my workplace is frenetic. Or a
stress-prone person chooses frenetic workplaces.

Let us hear it for the assumption questioners. May they live long, loosely, and lightly.

Little Lulu: A Role Model?

Do you remember the irrepressible, feisty, lovable
cartoon character Little Lulu? That girl had LULU
down. She questioned everything. Yes, she had a bit of a rascal in her but most LULUers do. She had a great sense of humor. And did she question assumptions!

Remember what she did with her dads tie? She used
it for the tail on her kite. Her moms lipstick? She
wrote letters with it. Remember Lulu, see if you can
find a Lulu comic book, and let her inspire you to LULU.

Stephanie West Allen

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