The Importance of Laughter During Trying Times

Photo by Captain Orange at Flickr Creative Commons

* * *

I dedicate this article to all who struggle to make a better world, and that includes all of us who seek justice, not just for Trayvon Martin and the harmed, but for George Zimmerman and the people who harm others.

As we rise and fall ever turning on the karmic wheel, let us never forget to laugh.

I love the Mullah Nasrudin stories. They make me laugh and comfort me in troubled times.

Watch out! Their deeper meaning reverberates.


The Mullah Nasruddin was invited to deliver a sermon. When he reached the pulpit, he asked the people,

“Do you know what I am going to say?”

They replied “no.”

“I have no desire to speak to people who don’t even know what I will be talking about!” the Mullah said, and he turned his back to the people and left the building.

Feeling extremely embarrassed, the people invited him back the next day. This time, when he asked the same question, they replied, “yes.”

Nasruddin said, “Well, since you already know what I am going to say, I won’t waste any more of your time!”
As he had done the previous day, he turned and left the building.

Now the people were really perplexed. They decided to try one more time and once again invited the Mullah to speak the following week.

As expected, he asked the same question, “Do you know what I am going to say?”

The people were prepared, so half of them answered “yes” while the other half replied “no.”

Without missing a beat, Nasruddin said, “Let the half who know what I am going to say, tell it to the half who don’t.”

Then he turned and left the building.


One day Mullah Nasruddin lost his ring down in the basement of his house, where it was very dark. There being no chance of his finding it in that darkness, he went out on the street and started looking for it there. Somebody passing by stopped and enquire:

– What are you looking for, Mullah Nasruddin ? Have you lost something?

– Yes, I’ve lost my ring down in the basement.

– But Mullah Nasruddin , why don’t you look for it down in the basement where you have lost it? asked the man in surprise.

– Don’t be silly, man! How do you expect me to find anything in that darkness!


A renowned philosopher and moralist, who was traveling through the Mullah Nasruddin’s village one day, stopped and asked him where there was a good place to eat. Nasruddin suggested a place and the scholar, hungry for conversation, invited Nasruddin to join him. Much obliged, Nasruddin accompanied the scholar to a nearby restaurant, where they asked the waiter about the special of the day.

“ Fish! Fresh Fish!” said the waiter.

“Bring us two,” they answered.

A few minutes later, the waiter brought out a large platter with two cooked fish on it. One fish was quite a bit smaller than the other.

Without hesitating, Nasruddin speared the larger of the fish and placed it in on his own plate.

The scholar, giving Nasruddin a look of intense disbelief, proceeded to tell him that what he did was not only blatantly selfish, but that it violated the principles of almost every known moral, religious, and ethical system.

Nasruddin calmly listened to the philosopher’s extemporaneous lecture patiently, and when he had finally lapsed into a ruddy silence, Nasruddin said,

“Well, Sir, what would you have done?”

“I, being a conscientious human, would have taken the smaller fish for myself.”

“And here you are,” Mullah Nasruddin said, and placed the smaller fish on the gentleman’s plate.

* * * *


Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.

29 Responses to The Importance of Laughter During Trying Times

  1. ed nelson says:

    Thanks Fred, ” I don’t like talkin’ to people who don’t already know what I’m talkin’ about too!, haha… But I wish I had the good sense to turn around and leave the building… more often.

  2. Malisha says:

    George Zimmerman used to have delusions of grandeur.

    As of April, 2012, this has changed; now he has delusions of adequacy.

  3. Malisha says:

    There is a certain kind of joke told in South Africa about a fictional character named “Yann Vandermoeve” — I have probably spelled that wrong. Yann VDM is a luckless fellow, not too terribly bright.

    One day he had just HAD IT with life, and was fed up, and couldn’t stand living any more. He always had a loaded gun hanging around because he was proud to be armed and dangerous (like someone we know of) and on this particular day, he grabbed his loaded gun and brought it up to his head, shouting in frustration,

    “That’s it, THAT’S IT, I can’t take it any more, I am going to kill myself right here and right now!”

    Yann’s wife leaped at him and grabbed his arm, trying to wrest the gun away from him or at least to knock it free so it did not aim directly at his temple. She shouted and cried, “No, Yann, No No No, please, NOOOOOOOOOO!”

    Angry at his wife for yelling at him, he threatened: “Just you shut up now or you’ll be NEXT!”

  4. I recently picked a new primary care physician. After two visits and exhaustive lab tests, he said I was doing “fairly well” for my age. A little concerned about that comment, I couldn’t resist asking him, “Do you think I’ll live to be 80?”

    He asked, “Do you smoke tobacco or drink beer or wine?”

    “Oh no,” I replied. “I’m not doing drugs, either.”
    Then he asked, “Do you eat rib-eye steaks and barbecued ribs?”

    I said, “No, my other Doctor said that all red meat is very unhealthy.”

    “Do you spend a lot of time in the sun, like playing golf, sailing, hiking, or bicycling?”
    “No, I don’t,” I said.

    He asked, “Do you gamble, drive fast cars, or have a lot of sex?”

    “No,” I said. “I don’t do any of those things.”
    He looked at me and said, “Then why do you give a damn?”

  5. grahase says:

    I will save these stories because I know I will find them useful many times along the road. Thank you.

  6. Xena says:

    My contribution for the importance of laughter. As a dedication to “Trayvon’s Cupcake,” I was going to ask LLMPapa if he could excerpt the portions of Dr. Phil’s interview with Sybrina where she talked about Trayvon calling her “Cupcake” and Dr. Phil subsequently saying that was the only time she did not show stress, and add that to the beginning of the following video.

    Trayvon’s parents are believers. Hopefully, the spiritual message will not offend anyone here.

  7. Malamiyya says:

    The only trouble with the statue is that Mulla Nasrudin is seated the wrong way. He was noted for riding his donkey facing backwards. Someone said to him, “You’re sitting the wrong way.” Nasrudin replied, “How do you know it’s me that’s wrong and not the donkey?”

  8. Malisha says:

    I should notify folks, part of the FOIA response is in; check it out at the prior thread, the LLMPapa/Part III thread from yesterday. There had been NO SHOOTINGS at RTL prior to George killing Trayvon. All the news sources got that one wrong OR misled us, referring to the killing of Trayvon Martin as if it were referring to a shooting in that neighborhood BEFORE Zimmerman went out hunting that night.

  9. cielo62 says:

    That Mullah is a rascal! 🙂

  10. Two sides to a story says:

    : ] Lovely! May you all be liberated from suffering, and rest in equanimity, free from attachment and aversion . . .

  11. Digger says:

    Professor and Crane, I would love to be your neighborhood friend because I can imagine anyone who has the pleasure of knowing you more personally enjoys many good times. Thanks for this lift.

  12. Rachael says:

    Great stories Professor!

  13. bettykath says:

    Professor, love the stories. thank you.

  14. Malisha says:

    I LOVE IT! So here’s my contribution, an imaginary conversation between an interviewer named Shmannity, and George Zimmerman.

    Shmannity: George, many people think you killed Trayvon Martin because you had ill will for him, is that true?

    George: Nosir. [shaking his head ever so earnestly]

    Shmannity: Did you perhaps have just a bit of ill will?

    George: No-hoe! [disdainful look, slight chuckle]

    Shmannity: Officer Serino wondered why Trayvon Martin would have attacked you viciously when you were doing nothing wrong.

    George: I can only imagine he had a bad personality. If I were walking through the neighborhood and saw another person I would not have reacted like a criminal.

    Shmannity: Where do you think he got such a bad personality?

    George: [shrugging] I really can’t tell you. Maybe nobody mentored him.

    Shmannity: If Trayvon Martin had not viciously attacked you that night, would you have been willing to mentor him?

    George: Oh yes. He could have been sentenced to a few years of mentoring and I could have done that as a public service. If only he had not tried to kill me.

    Shmannity: So you think he just used poor judgment and made some bad choices?

    George: That could be.

    Shmannity: What makes people do that?

    George: I don’t know. I pray for them constantly.

  15. Brown says:

    Here’s one I hope you will crack up to like I did. : ^ )))

    An old Italian man lived alone in the country. It was Spring and he wanted to dig his tomato garden, as he had done every year, but it was very hard work for the aging man as the ground was hard. His only son, Vincent, who used to help him, was currently in prison. The old man wrote a letter to his son and described his predicament:

    Dear Vincent,
    I am feeling pretty bad because it looks like I won’t be able to plant my tomato garden this year. I’m just getting too old to be digging up a garden plot. If only you were here my troubles would be over. I know you would dig the plot for me.

    Love Dad

    A few days later he received a letter from his son:

    Dear Dad,
    Not for nothing, but don’t dig up that garden. That’s where I buried the BODIES.
    Love Vinnie

    At 4 a.m. the next morning, FBI agents and local police arrived at the old man’s house and dug up the entire area. However, they didn’t find any bodies, so they apologized to the old man and left.

    That same day the old man received another letter from his son.

    Dear Dad,
    Go ahead and plant the tomatoes now. That’s the best I could do under the circumstances.
    Love Vinnie

  16. Brown says:

    Much needed, thank you

  17. rayvenwolf says:

    I really needed a good laugh today. Things have been rough lately and what humor I can find has been my little get away from it all.

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