The here and now and a bit of way back then

I relived my journey to 40 and found there's so much more to say

Laughs in unexpected places

on September 20, 2016

Jimmy Carr played a gig in Singapore last Tuesday. Ticket prices were slightly on the inflated side, especially when the last time I saw him live was at the Hen and Chicken theatre, Islington for the princely sum of £10 with Ms Beefy back in 2007. 

But you know, sometimes it’s worth paying a premium for some home comfort laughs. Like the time John Cleese and Al Murray came to Singapore and I belly laughed the whole way through until I felt a bit dizzy. 

Who doesn’t love a pee your pants laughing session? Which one of us doesn’t need one from time to time either. Especially being the responsible Grown Ups that we are.

However, I never got the chance to belly laugh with Jimmy Carr as I had to take a work trip to Sumatra and drive through miles and miles of palm oil and pulp and paper plantations to get to a very small patch of natural forest where you may still find the odd wild elephant and tiger. If you’re lucky.

See what I mean about needing a good old belly laugh. 

But you know, when you book tickets for a comedy film or show then you sort of expect a laugh or two along the way. As I said earlier, humour is quite unique. I think of the people I hang out with the most and it’s the people whose humour I get. Or they get you. 

There’s nothing more painful in good company than not finding the same things funny. Or cringing at something totally unfunny or inappropriate from someone trying too hard.

Truly funny people love storytelling. They are natural entertainers. Sociable people who enjoy making others feel good. 

On a very humdrum Tuesday afternoon in the middle of working day, I book a cab to head to a meeting. Mind full of checklists and wondering where it is I’m heading to. I don’t often catch cabs in Singapore. Sometimes I try and make conversation. Other times I’m too concerned with the cab driver’s interpretion of road safety rules. 

On occasion you come across a real gem of a character. Inspiring accounts of personal struggle, patriotic pride or like today, pure comedy genius. 

It all started with one question. One that he probably hears all the time. “So Uncle, are you not ready to retire and enjoy yourself?”

Which results in him lamenting the need to work and work in Singapore. How he has worked and worked to raise five children. That he intends to work and work for a few more years and retire in Japan. 

But his is not a tale of hardship. He brushes over the difficult years when the five children were young and times were tough. Now, he says, they’re all grown up with the eldest being a year younger than me. 

I don’t know how much time he actually spends ferrying fee paying customers to support his retirement as he talked about fetching his children and grandchildren here and there. An act of kindness that must be a bone of contention with his wife who he says is always on his case about why he doesn’t charge his children and grandchildren a fare. 

He says she always going on about it and I say what to do it’s our son/daughter/grandchild. She says you ask them to pay like everyone else. Then I say to her ok the next time you ask me to collect you then you pay, she yells at me “what? I’m your wife and you’re asking me to pay?”

He continues in entertaining fashion for the remainder of the journey which sadly was all too short. As we pull up to my drop off point, I thank him for such a funny time. He rounds down the fare because he doesn’t want any coins. For that I round it back up to give him extra notes. 

Laughter is afterall priceless. 

As I head out to find where I’m going I feel so much lighter which puts me in a much clearer frame of mind ahead of my meeting.
If only that happened everyday, how much happier we would be. 

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