Why I Do What I Do

October, 2000

A short explanation.

       Most people who see me once or twice, or read my "newsletters" know me as a comic, perhaps a humorist, or more realistically--- a wiseguy. I can't help it really - it's just that I see life as naturally funny. I firmly believe that God made me this way for a purpose. I have no clear idea why that is, but I don't think that a day has passed in the last twenty-five years that I didn't make somebody else laugh. It is the challenge that I seem to enjoy most in life, because I believe in the healing power of laughter.
      A few brave souls have ventured to ask me why I bother to send my humor out over the Web every month.
     "Because it's there," I reply-- with a straight face.
     "The jokes or the web?" they follow up.
      "Yes," I answer as I walk away, leaving them to wonder how they could expect a straight answer from me about anything with regard to humor.But as of late, a number of people have asked me seriously just how I can make fun of my own misfortunes. (I guess they are referring to last month's Read & Delete, in which I could have qualified for the U.S. Olympic 'bad judgement' team.) They wonder how I can laugh about my getting injured and nearly killed in the process of trying to catch a train. They think I am
not taking my problems seriously enough.
       Well, I have a story to tell, and it is a true story. It may explain some things. Some of you have already heard it, so if I am boring you, I may just be getting even.
      This is a story about a boy and his mother, a street corner mailbox, a strange man and an angel.
Many years ago, there was a boy who was wild in his ways, and his mother had the hardest time keeping him under control. They would argue and fight, and often the boy would storm out of their house and leave the mother wondering where he went. One day, after a particularly vicious war of words, the boy stomped out of the house, yelling at his mother, telling her that he wished to go where nobody could find him. The mother let her son go, believing that if he went away for an hour or so, he would come back in a better mood. 
                                                                                                                                                About half an hour later, the mother felt a touch on her arm, and a voice whisper in her ear saying, "Find your son." She looked around, but there was no one in the room with her. She was about to shrug it off when the voice said more insistently, "Find your son! He is in trouble!" Fear gripped her and she rushed out in a car to look for her son.
When she found him, her son was out near a busy street corner, sitting on top of a mailbox and talking to a strange man. Again the mother felt a touch on her arm, and the voice told her, "That man is evil. Take your son home." She pushed the boy into the car and brought him home, the boy protesting all the while. The mother never heard the voice again, and for the rest of her life she was sure that she had saved her son from certain death.
This story won't make sense until I tell you a little more about it. The boy was me- at age fourteen, when I was my most rebellious. The mailbox was located on a busy street about four blocks from my boyhood home in Park Ridge, Illinois. The strange man I did not recognize --until some years later, after his arrest. He was John Wayne Gacy, who had murdered at least 33 young boys-- burying most of them under his house, which was located less than a mile away from the mailbox I was sitting on. The voice my mother
heard--- well, you draw your own conclusion. She swore it was an angel, and I have no cause to doubt her.
      I guess I can laugh because every misfortune that has happened in my  life is a mere trifle next to what could have happened to me on that day. 
God spared ---- me. I don't know why. It is both the greatest earthly mystery and the silliest joke I've ever seen. 
So now you know.

     With regard to the web, I have no idea how far the "Read & Delete" goes when I send it out in its E-mail form. I send it out to a hundred or so recipients, and it gets forwarded on from there. I have received some second-hand or third-hand responses over the years, but for the most part my words pass outwards into the ether, where they probably belong. All I know is that I like to send it out, be it to one person or a million, and I will probably never know on this side of the Kingdom, as to where it goes or what impact it makes (if any). Maybe this is a good thing. My ego is overweight as it is.
     Actually I receive some good response from the readers, along with the occasional spamnation or dire threat. But that's how it goes out on the web-- in cyberspace no one can hear you laugh.--- unless you type it in. 

Stay tuned.

Neil