Laughing At Terrorism
What is the greatest New Year's Resolution you can make?  What if it was to laugh at your Fear, your Intimidation and your Complacency?  What if it was to laugh at the Beast of Terror?    If there is one resolution worthy of your prime attention today, it is to laugh at the Cancer of Terrorism.   Find out why in this compelling story.


Wednesday--January 1, 2003—Ground Zero Plus 476
Laughter--The Key To Intimidating The Beast Of Terrorism In 2003
Cliff McKenzie
   Editor, New York City Combat Correspondent News

GROUND ZERO, New York City, Jan. 1-- A New Year offers new opportunities to fight Terrorism.  One proven way to ban the Beast of Terror from our minds, our bodies and our land is laughter.   If laughter can drive cancer from the bodies of the afflicted, it has a good chance of shooing away the Beast of Terror.
        Terrorism, the sum of one's Fears, Intimidations and Complacencies, is a state of mind.   Terrorists by definition prey on the dark side of human frailty--they seek to take away their safety and security, to hang time bombs over their heads.

       There are two types of Terrorism--physical and emotional.   The physical Terrorism is a gun pointed at your head and the threat of the Terrorist pulling the trigger.
        Emotional Terrorism is thinking about a gun pointed to your head, and living in the fear that one day the thought might come true.
        Today, we live in Emotional Terrorism.   Around us is a dark cloud of threats from bullies who strut about in the dark shadows of the world like cancer cells jostling about the bloodstream, searching for a place to attach themselves and grow.   Terrorism, like cancer, eats away at healthy cells, deforms them, renders them unable to live life, to evolve, to grow.
        Even as we face North Korea's flaunting antics of building nuclear bombs, or Iraq's denial that it is bent on building them, the dangers they pose are far less powerful than the danger of letting our minds fall Complacent to the threat of Terrorism within our selves.    The worst kind of Terrorism is when we think we are victims to life itself, and that when the sun rises each day, we are once again "slaves of the day."
       A vast majority of people awake each morning with a sense of dread about facing the day.   Instead of leaping out of bed, beating their chests and shouting:  "Thank God I'm Alive--I can hardly wait to take on the day!" they crawl out slowly, dreading the vision they see in the mirror, and worrying about all the problems they will face--what to wear?, will anyone respect me for who I am?, will I ever be loved?, will I get paid enough today?, will I be yelled at?, will I find happiness?,  will I look as good as others?, will I be as smart as the other person?, will my ideas and thoughts be recognized or just scoffed at?, will I feel I have achieved something today or just be a nail and everyone else a hammer?, will I be able to look in the mirror and smile at myself as a winner or just see the same loser I saw yesterday staring back?
        Daily life for many people becomes a matter of "making it through the day," a kind of drudgery not unlike pulling a 200-pound block of stone around.   If one were to liken the feeling of "oppression" to a disease, it would be as though cancer had found a host inside the mind and was eating away slowly at the will to live, consuming the spirit of life, making every minute of the day a drumbeat toward futility. Some medical personnel  believe cancer often strikes those who let their daily problems eat them alive.
        A good barometer of the disease of Internal Terrorism are the following questions:  "Are You Happy?"   "Are You Really Happy?"   "Are You Happy To Be Alive Today?"   "What Are You So Happy About?"  "Why Are You So Happy?"
        Think about it.

        The opposite to these questions include:  "Are you sad?   Are you lonely?   Are you disappointed?  Are you empty within?   Are you dreading another day?   Are you expecting the day to drag by as it did yesterday, the day before?"
         If it is easy to answer the sad and lonely questions, the questions of despair and depression, and a struggle to answer the questions of happiness and joyous receipt of the day, the odds are you have woken up with the Beast of Terror whispering in your ear:  "Loser. Failure.  Nobody."
         The Beast of Terror consumes happiness, joy, purpose, expectations, our sense of value, our belief in the day as an opportunity to grow and prosper from within.   Like an errant cancer cell, it takes host within and gnaws at our dreams, our beliefs, our Courage, Conviction and Right Actions until we sense the constant dread of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
         If you've ever felt you were a puppet, and someone was pulling strings making your arms and legs move, your head nod, your lips move, but you wanted to run away and couldn't, or quit the job but weren't able to muster the will to leave, or you found yourself kowtowing to someone you couldn't stand who abused you verbally or physically--then you know the power of the cancer cells within.
         They steal your power of Life.   They drive out your Power of Vigilance to make lots of room for the Beast of Terror to control and manage your thoughts, to drain you as a vampire of your sense of worth and your individuality.
          This is where laughter comes in to play.
          One of the recommended therapies for cancer patients is laughter.   Numerous cases of spontaneous remission, where cancer has been arrested once it has virtually consumed a major host in the body, can be linked back to laughter.    One patient doomed by doctors brought in films of Charlie Chaplin and watched them, laughing so hard that over a period of time his body healed, the cancer shrank, and he lived out a life cancer free.

                     SmileCart at UCLA

       At UCLA, a three-year-old program called Rx Laughter was founded by Sherry Dunay Hilber, a former ABC and CBS prime-time entertainment programming executive.  Working with UCLA cancer researchers, psychiatrist and pediatric oncologists, the program aims at helping seriously ill children and teens.  
         The children watch funny shows during treatment.  The laughter, Hilber says, helps improve their immune functions and speeds healing.
         Supporting the theory that laughter helps cure the Fear, Intimidation and Complacency that attacks cancer patients is Dr. Candice Pert, a research professor in physiology and biophysics at Georgetown University.   She says the chemical messengers released into the body when we laugh are directly related to our emotions and our health.

         One of the great paradoxes regarding "laughter therapy" is the question:  "Do people laugh because they are happy, or are they happy because they laugh?"
         Laughter, researchers note, prohibits--even if temporary--obsessive worry, feelings of depression and hopelessness, the fuel of Terrorism.
         Guidelines offered to promote laughter throughout the day include:

          --have a good laugh at least once a day;
          --rent or see a whimsical movie;
         --listen to your favorite comedian on audio or video tape;
         --chat with a friend who has a good sense of humor;
         --read the comic pages in the newspaper every day;
         --cut out and post comic strips you find humorous;
         --create a "humor room" with gag items, cartoons, humor books              and tapes;
         --assign a relative or friend to reinforce humor in your life, particularly during low times when keeping your sense of humor might be challenging;
         --get creative--come up with ideas to help yourself infuse each day with humor.

        I like what Groucho Marx said:  "A clown is like an aspirin, only he works twice as fast."
I'm a cancer survivor.   I had a big bout with colon cancer.  For a year after my operation I underwent chemotherapy.   At each session I invited a group of friends to sit with me and talk.   Sometimes there were only a couple, sometimes up to ten.  We laughed a lot as I sat there letting FU-5 drip into my veins, seeking out any recalcitrant cells that might be bouncing around my body.   In a way, I owe my life to my funny friends who made me smile and laugh as we all talked how silly I looked sitting in a lounge chair with toxic waste dripping into my veins. 
        Over these past seven years, I have looked upon the Beast of Terror as a giant cancer cell.   He finds hosts like North Korea, Iraq, or in the form of an Osama bin Laden or a John Malvo, the young sniper who shot and killed innocent people in and around Washington D.C.
        I know people who wake up each morning and dread what they see in the mirror, or feel the weight of Life's burdens on their shoulders buckling their knees.  They are infected with the Cancer of Terrorism.

        I also know parents who shout at their children, tell them "not to bother them," or physically abuse them, or emotionally neglect them by buying them things instead of spending quality time with them. They too are infected with the Cancer of Terrorism.   Most have no idea they are seeding the cancer cells of Terrorism in their children, or that they are to their children the Osama bin Laden's of the world, or the Saddam Hussein's.  They carry on a legacy from their parents, and their parents' parents who treated them with indifference at an emotional or physical level.   They are the al-Qaeda of family Terrorism, unknowing carries of Terror genes they pass on without a second thought, a second glance.
        "That's they way I was brought up, and what was good enough for me is good enough for my kids."   Little do they realize they are fostering Complacency, assuming that there is no better way to grow, no better way to evolve.  The vast majority of these people aren't into laughter.  
        Then there are the Citizens of Cancer.  They have stopped standing up for what is right.  "That's somebody else's business not mine," they say.  They abdicate their rights to self-government by accepting laws, regulations and policies issued from above with a sense of futility.  While they might oppose the policy or law, they don't write a letter, or refuse to vote, or, simply just don't care. 
        Complacency becomes Terrorism's greatest ally.   It makes us vulnerable to Terrorism's cancerous infusion.  It chews away our Shields of Vigilance.
        But laughter can bring us back to the positive.

        Laughter can be the first line of defense against Terrorism.
        Laughter is not a trivialization of Terror, but a reminder that Terror lives in the absence of laughter.   We laugh at Terror, at the presumption that Fear, Intimidation and Complacency are eternal rocks we must carry on our backs.   We laugh at the idea that we are nothing, nobody.  We laugh at the idea our lives are meaningless drops in a bucket.  We laugh at the idea we are not worthy, smart enough, rich enough, good looking enough, gifted enough, tall enough, fat enough, skinny enough, loved enough, respected enough.
        We laugh at the Beast of Terror's cancerous images he tries to cast back at us in the mirror of Life, the mirror he designed that reveals us a nail and the world a hammer.

        We laugh at the idea that we are not Children of Vigilance who have been given a great gift of protecting the Children's Children's Children of Vigilance from Terrorism's harm, from his countless forms of Fear, Intimidation and Complacency that swirl around in the whirlwinds he creates that suggest we are nobody important, just fodder upon earth who must look up to others for our grace.
        We laugh most earnestly at ourselves.  We laugh at idea our Beast of Terror is self imposed, that we have allowed the Beast to range in our spirit, to consume our special purpose on earth and reduce us to slaves of time, beasts of burdens who must pull heavy weights of guilt and shame and impotency behind us, as though these burdens were some penalty for existence.
         We laugh at the idea we cannot make a difference, for the greatest difference we can make in the world is how we view ourselves.
         If we see ourselves in the mirror as Beasts of Burdens, forced to "merely exist" in the confines of "ruts" we have dug for ourselves, unable to climb out of them, then we have surrendered to the Beast of Terror for the rut and the grave is only separated by the depth.
        But if we laugh at the rut we think we're in, and realize that we have dug it with our unimagined minds, that we have chosen to surrender to the Beast of Terror's eagerness to fill us with Fear, Intimidation and Complacency, then the self-imposed rut disappears.   We laugh it out of existence.
        As we laugh, we bring back the power of Vigilance in our lives.  We fuel our Courage to face life as life is, not as we think it is, or have become inured to believe it is--a rock around our neck.  Life becomes opportunity to grow, to prosper, to evolve.    We laugh at our Fears as the Lion did in the Wizard of Oz who found that his Courage was always within, and that only when he became more concerned with another's safety and security did it pop up and take command of his self-imposed Fear.  Only when he went to Dorothy's rescue did the Cowardly Lion realize he wasn't a coward at all.

          That's why the Pledge of Vigilance is so vital a tool for us to overcome Terrorism.   It requires of us the selfless pursuit of the security of the Children's Children's Children.    It forces us to laugh at our selfish, self-centeredness when we compare it with the selflessness of protecting the innocent.   We can only laugh at Terrorism when we compare it to something greater--and there is no greater comparison to our selflessness than to stand by and do nothing while innocent children suffer.    The weakest, most fearful human being who skulks about dodging the cracks in the sidewalk or avoiding the eyes of others because they feel like Lowly Worms cannot stand by and watch an innocent child being beaten by a bully and not react.   Inside the most cowardly of us all is a spark,  a dull flickering flame that demands we stand up to oppression, that we protect the innocent children from the Beast of Terror.   The greatest hero of all is the one least expected to leap into the burning building to save the child from the jaws of death.  
        Our Intimidations fall into the same humorous category.   If we look at those to whom we cower in their presence, fearful of their shadow, unworthy of their presence, and remember that they burp and fart just as we do, the gap between their holiness and our lowliness evaporates.   I often imagine anyone who Intimidates me as sitting on a toilet stricken by diarrhea.  No human being is exempt from that potential.    None of us is God.   None of us has any authority as a person over another.  The Kings and Queens, the Tyrants and Gurus, all are subject diarrhea, to passing gas, to making mistakes. 
         This means that all of us carry equal importance and authority, and that none of us can justify Intimidation by another except to attribute it to a choice we make to diminish ourselves, to lower our rank on the evolutionary scale to that of a worm, and to allow others to assume the grandeur of a giant who steps on us.    This is just Terrorist Thinking on our part.   This is the effect of a Cancer Cell on our being, reducing us to the lowest level, to being a doormat while others are elevated to lofty kingdoms.
        When we truly think of our Intimidations, we must laugh at them.   They are felonious at best, nefarious efforts by the Cancer of Terrorism to gnaw our self worth to the bone, to strip of us of our rights as equals to all other human beings who have ever been or ever will be.    Such rights do not require legislation by law, or society to recognize them.  They are born to us and no human being can grant equality for it exists in and of itself.   Those who seek to demand such equality only fuel the Beast of Terror's flames, for by doing so they admit equality is granted by one human being to another rather than existing by itself, independent of affirmation.
         We must laugh at Intimidation, for it will not disappear until we do.

        Finally, there is Complacency.   This cancer cell sucks Life from us.   It tells us " to mind our own business," and to "keep our noses clean," and to believe "we can't make a difference so why try."   It nails our feet to ground so we can only walk around in circles.   It makes us believe we must live our lives in the "rut" of who we are and that we cannot "change" so why try.  Complacency makes us believe yesterday will be like today, and today will be like tomorrow, ignoring absolutely that each dawn is a new era, and the world spins at 1,000 miles per hour at 221/2 degrees, constantly wobbling and changing despite our contention we are now, and ever will be, relegated to who we are, fixed beings who cannot evolve beyond our limitations.
          Thus, we stop dreaming.  We stop believing we can become the man or woman we want to be.  We stop at the crossroads of the path less traveled and take the worn-out routes that everyone else travels, never looking for new adventures, new evolutions that spark our imaginations to explore the unknowns, to face new Fears, new Intimidations and New Complacencies with Courage, Conviction and Right Actions.
          If we think today is like yesterday, if we think we are impotent to change our own lives, we have little hope in changing anything around us.   And, we pass on such Complacency to our children, and Loved Ones.  
          We must laugh at any thought we will always be the same.
          We must laugh at the idea we cannot change, no matter how many times we have tried and how many times we have failed, for the day we succumb to the idea we will always be what we are, we stop living.  We are dead, our spirits have been eaten to death by the Cancers of Terrorism.

          So on this New Years Day, as our pencils scribble out our New Years Resolutions, let us put on the top of the list:  Laugh!
           Let us learn to laugh at ourselves.
           Let us learn to bring humor into our lives, not matter how old we are, or how downtrodden we think we have become, or how empty our lives have become, or how futile our efforts seem to rise above the muck of Complacency we have found ourselves bogged down in.
            If we were all stricken by cancer and sent to the cancer wards, we would be searching for any cure possible.   Our will to live would be sparked by the nearness of death.   We would rally all our energies to find ways to squeeze out another moment of life, to see another sunrise or sunset, to hear a child's laughter, or a friend's smiling face.
            So, we must look at the Cancer of Terrorism in the same light as we would a doctor telling us we had terminal cancer.  We must treat the Demon of Terrorism with the same respect we would a diagnosis of cancer.
           In such a case we would must newfound Courage, newfound Conviction and newfound Right Actions.   We would see clearly the joys of life and strive to achieve them as never before, and we would want to pass on to our children and their children and all our loved ones all tools to help them fight the cancer we acquired.
           One of those ways would be to teach the children to laugh at Fear, Intimidation and Complacency.
           So, today, start laughing at your Beast of Terror.
           Laugh at him morning, noon and night.
           The more you laugh, the more Vigilant you will become.
           Happy Laughing New Year!

Dec. 31--The 2nd New Year's Eve Of Vigilance

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