Friday, March 8, 2019

International Mirth Month/Women's Day? by Jane Kelley

Smack dab in the middle of International Mirth Month is International Women's Day.

Is this someone's idea of a joke?

Nope. Every year on March 8, we "celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities" -- Women Watch.

These women were marching for food and peace during WWI in Petrograd on March 8, 1917. But women are brave in many other ways. In fact, International Mirth Month itself was started by Allen Klein to honor his wife's courage.

Mr. Klein, aka Mr. Jollytologist, wanted to remind us of, as he says in the title of his best selling book, The Healing Power of Humor. He learned the importance of this because his wife suffered from liver disease but kept her sense of humor until she died at age 34. 

As Klein said, "That's what humor does, no matter what the situation. You get a different perspective with a little bit of laughter. That's why I think it's so important, no matter what the situation, even in the death/dying seriousness of illness times."

Klein is not the only author who believes that. 

Lisa Yee's first novel Millicent Min Girl Genius was given the Sid Fleischman Humor Award. Since then, she has written many many books. She doesn't write slapstick. She doesn't wear a clown nose like Mr. Klein. But as she said in an interview, "There's humor in every book I write, even the ones in which sadness and/or tragedy has occurred. Wait. Especially in the ones in which sadness and/or tragedy has occurred. My outlook on life is that humor helps heal. It isn't a luxury; it's a necessity."

Life is hard. Sometimes it's really, really hard. But humor helps. 

That is a really wonderful thing about books--they are there for you whenever you need them. Even if it isn't Mirth Month. And that is something to celebrate.


  1. Humor is the spice that makes life taste better. Thanks for the reminder Jane.

  2. I especially loved Lisa Yee's line that we need humor ESPECIALLY in the midst of sadness and tragedy. Yes, yes, and YES!