Are You Having A Laugh?
21 May 2024

There must be a thousand stories to be told on this very spot. Some deserved, some not. We fear social rejection, shunning, shaming and mocking a great deal. So much so that in crueller bygone days, it used to be a punishment. You’d be taken out, put in one of these… and people you know would behave like apes, and hurl insults your way… and if you were like most people you’d feel a sense of shame (there’s always that small percentage that would only feel intensifying hate – and once let loose – we’ll see who laughs then, won’t we?)

I stand here looking at this device, designed and built just to mock people… and I am reminded of two simultaneous stories.

One is where some civil rights black pastor gets arrested and thrown in jail by some rabid Jim Crow Sherriff. His second in command – shocked at the clergyman’s arrest – rushes to the jail and demands to know from the pastor: “Brother Martin… what the hell are you doing in jail?” To which the good pastor replied: “No, brother, what the hell are you doing out there?”

I am also reminded of the old Confucian tale… Lao Tzu said: When the wise man learns the way, he lives by it. When the mediocre man learns the way, he lives by only part of it. And when the fool learns the way, he laughs at it. Yet, if the fool did not laugh – it would not be the way. Indeed, if you are looking for the way – listen to the laughter of fools.

And here I stand, left to wonder, if those in the stock deserved mockery, or those without. Like the walls of a mental asylum (to keep the right folks in, or the wrong folks out?) – the stocks may be a bigger indictment of those who take pleasure in taking free shots at those tied up by them.

Then again, some folks must have deserved it.

Thing is, ‘social’ media revised the practice. And now abstract stocks are made for those silly fools, those evil creatures, those soulless bastards, who disagree even in the slightest.

I listen still for the laughter of fools.

And ask of my brethren what the hell are you doing out there.