Monday 24 October 2016

John Masterson: Laugh and the world laughs with you

Working it Out

John Masterson

Published 28/12/2015 | 02:30

Have a laugh: Brendan O'Carroll as Mrs Brown.
Have a laugh: Brendan O'Carroll as Mrs Brown.

I took the easy route last January and only made one New Year resolution. It probably doesn't even qualify as a resolution as it is fairly devoid of life-enhancing qualities. Or maybe not. I had for years let many summers pass without sleeping in a tent and was determined to stop the rot. There are those who might say that I set the bar very low. But at least I did it. Not in a howling gale. Not by the sea. But in a friend's garden on a sunny night after a delicious dinner. I woke up refreshed and delighted with my 'adventure'. Plus, I had learned a lesson. Do not bother with any self-improving resolutions. I have never kept any and am unlikely to begin now. Yes, there is plenty of room for improvement but I know that I am a frail human.

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When people set goals, we always hear that they should be achievable. I, for one, forget about the achievable and focus on the desirable.

That is, I focus on the 'most likely to fail' column. Having succeeded last year, I think I should take another baby step.

I enjoyed sleeping in the tent so much that I could up my game and do it by the seaside. It would be nice to wake up and look out at a beautiful view. But that might be a step too far.

I suspect I would sleep with one or both eyes open and every sound would be interpreted as some vandal about to do me irreparable damage. And I could wake up in the middle of a storm beginning with T as we are having so many of them these days. I have no desire to be wet, cold, miserable or injured.

I have for years been saying that I wanted to visit Cuba while Castro was still alive. This is not any political lunacy but a desire to sit in the sun, drink rum, smoke a cigar and look at cars from decades gone by without any rust. As things stand, by the time I get there, Castro will be in a mausoleum and they will all be driving new Toyotas run on batteries, rum will be on prescription only and cigars will be in museums. I do try to visit a new country each year and have never been disappointed. This year was Ethiopia and it was a magical time.

Not having made a resolution is a very liberating feeling. There are no 'are you still off it?' or 'how many miles this week?' or 'what does the weighing scales say?' conversations.

There will be none of the self-loathing that accompanies failure. I can ignore the truth teller on the floor in the bathroom and only hop on when my belt notches are giving cause for optimism. With a bit of luck, the battery will be dead by then.

I will not make any resolutions but I do have one aspiration and that is to laugh more than I did this year and to increase my laughter with each succeeding year. Laughter lines make people look younger. We like people better who smile. And a laugh exercises a lot of muscles. That is achievable and worthwhile. Get a boxed set of Mrs Brown's Boys to start.

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