November 20 is a day to celebrate the absurd in life. There are two different kinds of absurdity. On the one hand, if something is absurd, it is funny. But if we look at things like the Theatre of the Absurd, it is portraying the meaninglessness of life.
I want to look at the second definition first. The myth that best symbolizes this form of absurdity is that of Sisyphus who is condemned in Hades to forever push a boulder up a hill, only to have it roll down again. The premise is that there is no meaning to human life, that it is simply a series of actions ultimately leading nowhere. This period of drama was particularly popular in the years after World War II, when the horrors of that time were fresh. Samuel Beckett is one such playwright. In his play Waiting for Godot, plot is eliminated, and a timeless, circular quality emerges as two lost creatures, usually played as tramps, spend their days waiting — but without any certainty of whom they are waiting for or of whether he, or it, will ever come.
It is said that, “Language in an Absurdist play is often dislocated, full of cliches, puns, repetitions, and non sequiturs.” To me this sounds like Twitter, as well as certain politicians who shall remain nameless.
The other way to look at absurdity is much more fun. When something is just plain silly, we often call it absurd, or crazy or zany. When I think of this definition, Monty Python’s Flying Circus immediately springs to mind. So many of their sketches were the height of absurdity, such as the dead parrot sketch which you can find on YouTube, and which still makes me laugh after all these years.
So be sure to let out your silliness today.
Just for fun quotes
All you really need is love, but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.–Charles Schulz
As with most fine things, chocolate has its season. There is a simple memory aid that you can use to determine whether it is the correct time to order chocolate dishes: any month whose name contains the letter a, e, or u is the proper time for chocolate.–Sandra Boynton
The closest to perfection a person ever comes is when he fills out a job application form.–Evan Esar
Do not compute the totality of your poultry population until all the manifestations of incubation have been entirely completed.–William Jennings Bryan
Don’t you wish there were a knob on the TV to turn up the intelligence? There’s one marked ‘brightness’, but it doesn’t work.—Gallagher
Every man has one thing he can do better than anyone else–and usually it’s reading his own handwriting.–G. Norman Collie
I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book.–Groucho Marx
I know that you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.–Robert McCloskey
I make it a policy to try never to make a complete idiot of myself twice in the same way. After all, there’s always all kinds of new ways to make a complete idiot of myself. Why repeat the old ones?–Margot Dalton
I went to a restaurant that serves “breakfast any time.” So I ordered French toast during the Renaissance.–Steven Wright
I’d go to the end of the world for my husband. Of course, if he’d just stop and ask directions, I wouldn’t have to.–Martha Bolton
Natives who beat drums to drive off evil spirits are objects of scorn to smart Americans who blow horns to break up traffic jams.–Mary Ellen Kelly
The only winner in the War of 1812 was Tchaikovsky.–Solomon Short
The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.–G. K. Chesterton
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