When practical jokes aren’t funny and people want to move


~ Saturday was a busy day for me; two airplanes flights in one day, a rental car, business appointment, and had to sign some papers for a proposal I was making. In the midst of all the activity I stopped by a coffee shop to finish an essay for school that was due by midnight; so even my coffee time wasn’t all that relaxing.

While sitting there at coffee, a group of young women sat down at the table next to me, although the one girl, as she was going to sit down suddenly found herself flat on the floor; her chair had been moved by one of her friends and between the sounds of the crashing chairs and the laughter of her friends it became apparent that her friend had been playing a practical joke on her. The three friends thought the joke was funny, but the girl sitting on the floor was not laughing.

The truth of the situation is that practical jokes aren’t viewed as funny by the recipient. When you’re the person with egg on your face or cockroaches crawling all over your bed because your roommate thought it would be funny to unleash a box of store bought critters into your room while your sleeping, it is difficult to see the humor in your friend’s joke.

The older I get, the more I wonder if people were playing practical jokes on me when I was younger. After all, when I was a child everyone made the world out to be a wonderful place; “When you get older Kenneth, you’ll enjoy being an adult, working at a job, getting your own place…” is what people told me. However, more often than not people don’t like their jobs, are under a mountain of debt, are unhappy with their families or relationships, and often think about escaping.

Everywhere I go people tell me they are thinking about moving to another place. This weekend I was along the ocean in South Carolina, it was beautiful weather, people were out biking, drinking coffee, and enjoying the day. Yet I met a couple people at coffee who were unhappy with the warm weather and South Carolina lifestyle, “I moved down here ten years ago and I’m going to move back to New York next month” said a barista I was talking with, apparently the New York she remembers is not the one I am familiar with; high rent, high taxes, high congestion, and a high amount of stressful living.

Don’t get me wrong, I love New York. But compared to the easy going life that people experience along the coast of South Carolina (not to mention the weather which is about 25 -35 degrees warmer year round than New York) it was odd to me that someone would want to move back to a place where the cost of living is suffocating. This young man <video> pays $800 a month to live in the city…..in his 78 square foot apartment! I have a closet bigger than him!!! But the barista didn’t care about the cost of living or the weather; she was convinced New York was where she would find peace and happiness.

As I talked with her, I couldn’t help but wonder how many people are in the middle of moving away from New York because they are trying to find peace and happiness? Although, that is the crux of the issue isn’t it; the grass is always greener. Wouldn’t it be a breath of fresh air to read articles more often by people who enjoy living where they live? Who enjoy the lifestyle they have created? Who have a strong sense of community and positive relationships filled with interesting and creative dialogue and individual expression?

Too often we are overwhelmed with negative imagery. The world is in many ways a dark place; child slavery, war, malnutrition, the list of problems around the world is endless. And I do believe it is important to expose ourselves to reality; closing our eyes to the problems around the world can’t possibly be healthy.

Yet on the other hand, perhaps we have become over exposed to the dark side of the world. Perhaps in our quest for 24 hours NEWS we have overwhelmed our senses with all the negatives, and it has led to so many of us being discontent with our lives. Perhaps, instead of focusing on what is wrong in the world, we should be focusing on how we can make our lives better…right where we live. In our local communities, in our home city, in our home province or state. Perhaps its time to stop complaining and embrace life in our neighborhood.

Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,


Categories: Culture & Society

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10 replies

  1. Practical jokes are funny, if you don´t take yourself too seriously that is. Since I laugh at myself in the mirror before I was my teeth, then I can keep on going on with the day. Although at my age now, I don´t see myself doing that stupid little joke to a friend, it´s just would be off the charts.

    We are exposed to a 24 hour news cycle, and if that brings somebody down, then they should really start thinking about seeing a shrink.

    By the way, I lived in California and way back then Cali had a very high cost of living the same or almost the same as New York. But I loved both States.

  2. I think that lots of people move because they are bored. The reason New York is so popular is the fact that it is exciting, vibrant and unpredictable. While I live almost three hours away in a quiet, peaceful community that is conducive to my writing, I am always excited when I have an opportunity to spend a day in The Big Apple.

  3. I worked for quite awhile in the Wall Street area of NYC. I enjoyed my time there, but since leaving I have little longing to return. I don’t miss the long commute (at that time I was living in central New Jersey), the crowds, or the winter weather. Here in South Florida, where I have lived for many years, half of the population consists of transplanted New Yorkers. Often I hear someone say that they can’t wait to move back. Many have family that they miss, and for others I think they miss the area in which they grew up, which is understandable. I am from the Midwest, and while I doubt I would ever move back there, I shall always carry a certain fondness for the wide open plains.

  4. At the end of the day, we still have to live with ourselves. Where we go we always take ourselves with us 🙂

  5. It seems like in recent times, people tend to focus on the negative. It could have something to do with the the 24/7 news focusing on what’s wrong with world, and so people tend to forget the good.

  6. Great post, Kenneth. I have three thoughts to share, inspired by different parts of your post:
    1) While I love a good laugh and anyone who knows me only a little bit will agree that I love teasing people, I never like practical jokes that made someone look bad. I think it’s cruel to sacrifice someone’s dignity and well being for one’s own amusement, all the more that the amusement is temporary.
    2) I have a feeling that people like to make other people feel bad so that they themselves can feel better. It’s easier and quicker to feel better by making someone else look bad rather than by building yourself up, slowly, one step at a time.
    3) There is a certain cachet to know about what is going on around the world and being able to intelligently discuss it–but I think the problem is that there is so much happening that it takes up a lot of our time, and then we are not left with enough time to make our little slice of the world better–our physical space cleaner and healthier, our mental space, our personal space, our family space.

  7. People don’t want to hear about happiness and contentment. They are miserable and misery loves company. I read an article that got my hackles up recently about a lady who hates photographs of women in white surroundings and calm settings. Obviously the people in those photos are living AT her. If someone sees or hears about content people, those content people are obviously judging everyone else for their non contentment! It’s a problem…

  8. I do think the news media’s focus on the negative has dramatically colored/darkened our view of life. It also encourages copycat activities which would not have been considered without negative emphasis of the media. However, the media can also provide a positive impact if it so desired. I remember a radio station in Chicago when I was a child that ended each news broadcast with a positive uplifting story. I think the reason we don’t have more of the good news is that our culture pays for blood and gore. Thus, newscast sponsorship demands more of the gory details rather than an uplifting encouraging focus so that ratings will be maintained.

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