Reader's Digest recently published an article stating humor helps people cope through tough times. If that's true, then why did my girlfriend break up with me after I sprayed her with seltzer water? It helped her get over her grandmother's death and also, free seltzer water, hello?
Arnie Cann is a professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, who studies the role of humor in stress-specifically, how humor helps us cope. He has demonstrated what we all know instinctively: that being able to laugh after a trauma limits the awful effects of the traumatic event. But the question is, What kind of humor helps?
I'm guessing not the kind where you spray people with seltzer water?
…self-enhancing humor, the ability to crack wise and see the humor in a situation when your world is falling apart, protects us from stressful events.
According to the article, "aggressive humor" has no effect on stress levels. Did you hear that, Nancy? Spraying seltzer water on your blouse had no effect! And it made your grandmother's funeral much more interesting!
Self-defeating humor (think Rodney Dangerfield: "When I was a kid, my parents moved a lot, but I always found them") can help make you more popular. After all, most of us like people who are funny and modest. But, says Cann, self-defeating humor "led to higher levels of stress."
Seriously, I get no respect. According to Reader's Digest, the two best kinds of comedy, aggressive and self-defeating, are bad for me or for other people? Let me prove them wrong. Reader's Digest is toilet reading fodder for old people who think that just cause it's called a shitter they have to read shit while sitting on it. See? I feel my stress levels reducing already.