What happened to me?

The jokes just aren’t funny, anymore.

A priest, a Rabbi, and a Reverend walk into a Polish gay bar with a black transvestite bartender and a blonde dyslexic waitress…

I had a regular bar, once, where I would sit on a stool after work and buy my drinks with jokes. A regular life of the party, I would tell joke after (inappropriate) joke, bask in the laughter, and pickle myself in the free drinks. Thinking back, most of the jokes just aren’t funny, anymore. Well, they’re not funny, to me. What the hell happened, to me?

I’m happy with the person I’m becoming — someone who is more empathetic and wanting to see the world as a single, human race — but I wasn’t raised that way. Seeing the differences in religion, skin color, ethnicity, and sexual orientation is still on the minds of most of my fellow Americans; however, I see a time coming when the differences will diminish, as well as the scrutiny. It’s been a long row to hoe, though. And, while I’ve been becoming more humanitarian, I find myself offended by the person I used to be.

There is an uprising because it seems like everyone is offended by everything. I get it, and it upsets me, too (sometimes). But, there also needs to be a recognition of how we are growing into a more civil society, and with such a change comes intolerance for what was once considered okay. When one of my all-time favorite movie stars tells us to “fucking get over it,” and refers to us as the “pussy generation” because we are offended, he only loses cool points because he’s reached a place where he’s afraid to change. Is it possible we are more offended, now, because we’re ashamed of how we treated others in the past?

I’ll admit, I still have a flicker of misunderstanding or misguided opinion when I see a mixed-race couple. It’s nothing more than years of conditioning, though, which keeps me from having an opinion at all. Hell, I still take a smoker’s breath when I see someone light a post-meal cigarette (despite being smoke free for six years), and I still cringe when I see 666 anywhere (that’s another story, altogether). It takes a lot to break a cycle of thought which has been embedded in our hard drives, but it’s certainly possible to change. What’s more important, though, is trying to ensure the next generation isn’t plagued with the biases we have. Sorry, Mr. Eastwood; I will not fucking get over it. I will be the change my son needs me to be.

I still have that wellspring of jokes which used to fill my ears with laughter, but I just can’t force myself to tell them, anymore. Our differences no longer appeal to me as a means to deride, rather a way to embrace the humanity we all share. I guess it’s time to pitch the jokes from my yesterdays and not make fun of the differences, ever again. You know what? I’m pretty great with that decision.

Well, pitch all of them except the blonde jokes.