This past week I have been challenged to enjoy comedy again, to enjoy being humorous, and to remember that it’s ok to laugh out loud. 

Earlier in the week I was forced against my will to watch an episode of “Will & Grace.” Being no great fan of TV remakes and revivals of worn TV sitcoms, I found myself laughing and enjoying a moment of fun comedy. 

The silly slapstick humor of the character Jack McFarland skyping after having used too much facial numbing cream was just hilarious.  As I laughed more and more, I was reminded of the classic comedy sketches of “I Love Lucy.” This is one of the wonders of television, to make people laugh and escape the seriousness of life for a brief moment. 

In the same episode, the new character played by David Schwimmer was introduced as the Westside Curmudgeon. I perked up to possibilities of stealing the label of Westside Curmudgeon for myself and utilizing it as my new “nom de plume.” 

Just think of the possibilities. 

Fame and recognition as the Westside Curmudgeon of Wilton Manors, writing and bitching about city happenings, elected officials, water quality, and so much more. Belittling someone new each week, mocking lackluster city events, satirizing elected officials, and finding things to complain about throughout our wonderful city.  

Oh no! Can it be that I already am the Westside Curmudgeon! 

After some harsh self-evaluation, I decided that I am not quite to the point of being that cantankerous, full of stubborn ideas and opinions. We will leave that distinction to one of our candidates running for municipal office. Keeping optimistic views about the world around us can certainly be a challenge these days. 

The House of Saud’s bloodied hands from their possible involvement in the murder of a journalist, the real estate tax schemes that keep billionaires like Donald Trump and son-in-law Jared Kushner from paying federal income taxes, the imprisonment of thousands of migrant children in tent camps in a Texas dessert can weigh heavily on one’s sense of justice, fairness, and humorous spirit. However, each of us has a definite choice to make. We can choose to become lost in the downward spiral of Trump-supported pessimism of all that is wrong with the world, or choose to be a beacon of hope, optimism, and laughter, imparting a smile and some assistance to those in need. 

Today, as Trump supporters shout out the all too familiar phase, “Let’s Make America Great Again,” I would like to know how many of them would look to pay their fair share of taxes, or perhaps give up some stock options so that the average worker can be paid a decent wage, or have adequate healthcare, or not have to work two or three jobs just to put food on the table for their children. 

Oh no, that is not what we mean by making America great again. We mean making it white, English-speaking, and Christian. Sorry for the confusion, but we didn’t mean all of you foreigners, poor working folk, undocumented minors; just us angry straight white males who can abuse young women in high school and college and think somehow that’s a normal youthful endeavor.  

Foolish me. 

Here in our Island City we are blessed to have such a strong sense of community. We have vibrant volunteer boards, active community organizations and strong participation in our city government. This is what makes our city a wonderful community in which to live, but we must stay vigilant in keeping out the pessimism and the blame game that seems so prevalent throughout our country. There are rumblings beneath the surface of paying our city workers too much, of having to pay more taxes due to rising cost of city government, of the burden of healthcare costs, of homelessness, of traffic congestion, of water quality and so many more topics. Looking to be engaged, to be part of the process and to offer tough solutions are the qualities that we should seek in ourselves and in those running for office this coming election. An educated choice is yours to make, and hopefully most of you will exercise that right in the coming weeks. 

In closing, I end the day celebrating a dear friend’s 60th birthday. Where has the past 20 years gone since we met that wonderful night in Manchester? Looking forward to the next 20 years and more to enjoy our lives together! Happy birthday, dear friend!

Take a moment to smile this coming week, enjoy silly slapstick TV shows, see a comedian do a live show and remember always to just laugh out loud. Laugh out loud without a care of anyone being around to hear you. Laugh out loud so others begin to laugh. Laugh out loud so we can continue to make life just better and happier here.