i i ■ sn’t that perhaps a trifle I naive?” Jennifer asked me. I “Many people might not I find a single good point to I reflect on for weeks at a I time, let alone every day.” I I was stunned. Jennifer was I a journalist, met people I and could be counted on I to know what she was talking about. But had she erred this time?
Here we were, on a cold snowy afternoon in Switzerland, where I now live, two friends chatting over a cup of coffee when the talk came round to life tips in magazines. In a recent issue of one such weekly, someone
had suggested that recalling the funniest, the happiest or the most moving moment one had had at some point during a day, no matter how hard it had been, would help one fall asleep at night a more relaxed and happy person. Jennifer found it difficult to believe there was at least one fun or happy moment in everyone’s life every day; I found it difficult to accept there wasn’t.
What could be the explanation for such a radical difference in our views? Was it a question of age? After all, she was at least 20 years younger than I was, in her 30s perhaps, but not an elderly person, as I was. Maybe, as you grew older,
you were more grateful for smaller blessings and took pleasure in what younger people would consider banal. The other morning, for instance, a bunch of noisy six-year- olds bubbling over with mischief and laughter had got on our bus to town full of glum faces on their way to work. The children’s sheer joy of life was enough to make my day. Thank heavens for naughty little children who can’t sit still, I remember thinking on that bus that day.
And yesterday, it was a joke my friend told me about the current financial crisis, which, though no laughing matter for those whose jobs, homes, savings and pensions were
at stake, made us laugh all the same at the point of the wit. It seems that we were now expected to bail out these so-called banking professionals (their banks, to be precise) who had blown up our money with more of our (tax) money because, if we didn’t, we stood to lose the money we had entrusted to their care.
Doesn’t make sense to you? Well… ask the professionals! And if you don’t find it funny after they’ve patiently explained it to you, you’ve lost your sense of humour. The day before, it was an article in the reading room of our library that almost made me burst into a loud laugh as it reminded me of a nursery rhyme I used to adore in childhood because it allowed me to slip into a fantasy world full of giggles but now found positively hilarious because of its real-life facsimile right before my eyes. We were all living in a kind of Alice’s Wonderland – weren’t we, where you could at least have the grin whether the cat was there or not?