If you are reading this, and consider yourself a supremely serious person, then I have a thing to say to you.
Honestly, just smile.
Here, I’ll help: look around and make sure you are in a good place to do this (free of prying ears or eyes) and smile super wide. I don’t care if it is the fakest smile you have ever smiled. Do it even if the act makes your skin stretch—unless that would be legitimately harmful to your face, then don’t.
Now, hold that expression, and bark out a laugh. Echo that fucker.
Good, you look like a psycho. But I bet you cheered yourself up a bit. Or, at least, the mental picture I conjured in your head for this shenanigan did.
It is, after all, a silly thing to do. To imagine doing.
But whoever said being silly was bad?
Because it’s not.
Let me say something, a digression: I write dark things. Not new news if you read my flash fictions.
In fact, I create dark enough stuff that people challenge me to write full-on happy stories. My response: “sounds boring.” But, even still, with all my macabre fixation, that does not mean I won’t occasionally write romance stories. Or bittersweet human drama stuff. It also means I can and will try to interject some humor into what I do.
When you talk about writing bleak worlds and people, when you say a summary of the plot of a dark story, it does not always come across that though the subject might be heavy the delivery doesn’t have to be.
Let me put this in another way: the end of the world, when you really think it over long enough, is kind of funny. Or it can be. I listen to enough comedy routines to know the entire spectrum of human misery and strife can be presented in a way light and airy and flippant.
And sure, if done wrong, even a little wrong, you stand to offend people who have had their lives destroyed by these terrible things. People who have every right to not find morbid jokes funny. But, for the rest of us, there’s use in funniness among the darkness and seriousness.
It’s a curious thing. I could show you stories about what might happen if a nuclear bomb was ever allowed to go off on this planet again. Burning bodies—I could describe it to you in detail.
And for a little while that will horrify. But, assuming you don’t go insane, you will become desensitized to it. Because the concept of nuclear annihilation is not something you should hold in your head for too long.
And apathy is not a recipe for preventative action.
But if I make the same sort of story just a bit funny. If I make you laugh and then the implications sink in, I think it will change something in you, in a healthier way.
Like I said, the end of the world can be funny—yet, of course, still poignant as hell. Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy proves this idea left, right, sideways, and upon the fourth-dimensional axis.
So, lighten up, if only to make your point sink in more. And, also, because being grim all the time isn’t good for your health.
There’s a reason a person is bright and flush with life, while a corpse is gray and pale and dull.