I’m sure we can all agree that 2020 wasn’t anyone’s favorite year. It wasn’t our collective finest moment in time and many people talk about pretending the year never happened. Wherever you stand on 2020, it’s over and what we have left to take into 2021 are many lessons, some trepidation, and hopefully a little purpose.

So far, 2021 isn’t looking much different, with the crazy mass bans, censorship and shutdowns on social media (at the time of this writing), and the vitriolic comments I am still seeing on friends’ innocuous posts. Apparently, the anger and frustration from 2020 has indeed spilled over to this year and people are having trouble letting go. I can certainly understand… many have lost a lot—some have lost everything. There are folks who will never come back from the damage done to our economy. Unfortunately, attacking each other (especially from behind a monitor) does nothing to remedy the situation, and mostly highlights and exacerbates one’s own negative situation, which is not only unproductive, but terrible for a person’s health. People need to lighten up with one another. Everyone has their own opinions on things, but it’s not ok to shove those opinions on others. Tolerance and kindness are what will propel us toward healing, and I believe people can attain that by taking themselves a little less seriously. I’ve found that laughter is one of the best ways to reset when I need to.

I am one who was raised on a steady diet of sarcasm, as were many of my generation and before. I actually think it might be in my DNA, but those of us who watched Archie Bunker or Don Rickles-type humor grew up learning to not take sarcastic jokes personally. A present-day comedic correlation would be Ricky Gervais, and I absolutely adore him. I also consider the TV series “House M.D.” to be one of my all-time favorites for the same reason. There is nonstop, sarcastic hilarity. However, and this is a big however, sarcasm isn’t understood or appreciated by everyone, and I’m guessing probably less so with each new generation. More importantly, it doesn’t always translate well within text communication. It depends a lot on gestures, timing and expression, and since we are now communicating more and more via electronic avenues, those things are missing. I have often lamented that there is no “sarcasm font.” There really should be for those of us who still appreciate this sort of humor. 

But, on to my point—and as Ellen Degeneres says, “ …and I do have one”—perhaps now isn’t the time for sarcasm. Humor is often used to diffuse anger and conflict, but since sarcasm isn’t relished by everyone, that’s probably not the best type of humor to choose at this time. At least not the insulting, scathing kind. I’m thinking we need a little more kindness and forethought with our words and humor to help bridge the gap in our nation, at least with our electronic communications moving forward. Of course, there are those who are just lacking a sense of humor altogether, and to those people I say, please just find an outlet of some sort. We can’t remain at each other’s throats forever. The only way to heal this crazy world is if we all work together to lighten up, be kind and find some patience in dealing with each other.

I’ll be doing my part which, trust me, will be a tall order, because sarcasm is how I hug. “I thought I was in a bad mood, but it’s been a few years, so I guess this is who I am now.” Ha!

A few examples of funny sarcasm: “Sorry for being late. I got caught up enjoying my last few minutes of not being here.” Less funny, more mean or insulting sarcasm: “Someday, you’ll go far, and I hope you stay there.” “Some people are like clouds. When they disappear, it’s a beautiful day.” 

If you’re going to be sarcastic, don’t be mean. But by all means, spread some humor!