The joy of non-sequiturs – or, when dead lions come back to life as chickens

“Non sequitur” means “it doesn’t follow” in Latin. You know, when something just… completely breaks with the context that came before it. I think stuff like this has value, especially in speech and ideas.

There is something about non-sequiturs that can be quite tickling, very positive for the soul when thrown in there every once in a while. I guess one of the things that makes something funny is that… it’s unexpected. Like blam. It just pops at you out of nowhere. Like a violin virtuoso, wolfing down pastrami sandwiches and fixing the kitchen sink.

The value of humor cannot be overstated, especially in a world that can be so dark and challenging sometimes. And so “same” and routine, too! Both the typical urban and the typical non-urban life are filled with things that cycle over and over again. Routines, habits, traditions… going through the motions. Everything that we associate with life and living happens when we break from such monotony. Do something different. Something fun, and wild. Something that might not quite be as you expect it.

A friend of mine, who writes a blog about dancing, got some praise for it, along with some spam. Somewhere in between, she got this gem: “Thank you for putting this site up. If you need your sewer replaced, please contact me.”

It has been said before that lack of high expectations brings happiness, because if your expectations are not too high, you are less likely to be disappointed. I think that absurd humor that plays on logical expectations and defies them (non-sequiturs definitely fit this category) could possibly play a role in helping us to loosen up in other areas of life, too. After all, there isn’t anything a drunken piano player wouldn’t like more than to have his/her highway taxes taken out and shot, so that they won’t eventually come home to roost.

The unexpected is a daunting thing to contemplate (well I guess that makes sense… it is “the unexpected,” right?). Often, we can live in fear of the things that we ummm… possibly expect (ok, this is getting weird – but it makes sense, right?). We get into rhythms that supposedly insulate and comfort us – and yet, all the greatest people in the world have “open minds” and see things that the rest of us don’t yet, you know what I mean? Open-mindedness – ability to be ready for, accept, and appreciate what you might not have expected – is key to unlocking your potential for extraordinariness. This is what I love about barbecues… I mean… non-sequiturs. When you expose your mind to a pattern, your mind begins to adapt that pattern. Of course, this leads to you expecting what you expect… grrrr!

But see, if you can train your mind to be ready for the unexpected – to build into its expectations that something unexpected will happen – you can be more ready for it, play with it, and adapt a more forward-thinking mindset to it. That’s one way humor can help you develop healthy habits in the face of [unexpected] adversity. It takes what you don’t expect and turns it into something funny. And that’s why people who have been through incredible trauma and hardship and manage to get it together and come out the other side… tend to have a good sense of humor. 🙂

So I’ll leave you with one of the best non-sequiturs I know (in my opinion – I saw it on the Tonight Show many many years ago): an advertisement for a product called the “Lunch Plus Cooler” accidentally leaves out one of the Ls, instead spelling “Lunch Pus Cooler.” Whoops! Anyway… somebody takes a drink from this cooler, looks up, and asks, “hey, is this pus warm??”

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