November 20, 2006

The Gift of Laughter

Its strange how the impact people have on your life often has no relation to how often you saw them or how "close" they were to you. I learned today of the passing of someone I can only, technically, refer to as an acquaintance. Mike Young, an owner and player at ComedySportz improv in Philadelphia, was diagnosed with a brain tumor last year and left us in this past July.

My wife and I met Mike on numerous occasions as fans of the show. I recall Mike once noticing that my wife couldn't navigate her wheelchair to a seat, as there was a piano in the hallway between the ticket counter and the stage. He wasted no time in gathering other players and hauling things out of her way. 'Not the kind of guy to waste a moment or see something as beneath him. (I might have complained more about the piano, but saying "Why do you have a piano in the hallway?" isn't a complaint to Mike - its the setup for a punchline.)

I don't know Mike or his family very well. I've been thinking about why the news put me so deeply into tears this morning. I shed a few tears for anyone's passing; as John Donne wrote, "every man is a piece of the Continent, a part of the maine". Mike was not just another piece of the human continent, but one that had personally touched me. Mike made me laugh - directly, personally, one-on-one.

Laughter is a demonstration and form of love. To make someone laugh is charity, in its original meaning, and as Paul wrote, charity - love - is the one thing that endures forever.

Mike's wife Danna has kept an amazing blog at: 185craniopharyngiomas.blogspot.com.

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