Bee in the Bonnet: NATIVES, ARE NOT FUNNY: AT ALL!

By B.H. Bates

There’s an old Native legend that goes something like this: Many, many, many moons ago, when animals could talk, a frog was hopping toward the water – when out of the sky came a mighty Eagle and gobbled down the poor frog. But the frog was smart and he held his breath. He slowly made his way to the back of the Eagle. He popped his head out of the Eagle, and looked way, way down at the ground below. He turned to the Eagle, and said: “How high are we?” The Eagle looked back at the frog hanging out of his ass, and replied: “About a mile!” The frog said, “Wow! Really? You wouldn’t shit a guy, would ya?”
The reason I’m writing about humour and the Native, is because I’ve noticed a lot of people walking around with their brows furrowed and a frown stretched across their mugs … “What’s wrong?”

I’ve often bragged to non-natives that we non-whites love a good laugh. If, for instance, we were to see Chief Sitting Bull, slip in some buffalo shit – the whole tribe wouldn’t stop laughing until the snows came again. Have Natives lost their legendary: Ha, Ha, He, He, Ho, Ho?

Let’s start in the beginning: when our four fathers and one mother first arrived in North America. Natives had very little to survive on; primitive weapons, large packs of hungry animals and if that wasn’t bad enough – toilet paper hadn’t been invented yet! Could you survive under those conditions? What would you do? What could you do? Have you ever heard of the old saying: “Just laugh it off”?

When things are out of your control, and you couldn’t do anything about it, even if you wanted to, it’s like seeing Chief Sitting Bull, laying on the ground, moaning and groaning – all you can do is laugh at him every time he wipes more buffalo pie off of his butt. Well, my Bros and Sis’ – that laugh, it’s a coping mechanism. Laughing relieves stress and allows the mind (if only for a short period of time) to accept the moment and to move on.

If we go back even further in time … when the first Native monkeys climbed out of the trees. There was a great deal of stress involved in leafing the safety of the branches. Can you imagine having all the ‘wood’ you wanted, and then nothing at all? Wouldn’t you, too, be stressed? If you couldn’t laugh at it, all that’s left … is to beat yourself!

Be truthful, have you ever beat yourself up over something … or someone? Be truthful, did you get the joke in the last paragraph? The innuendo? The suggestion of a sexual nature? The references to; wood, you, beat, yourself?

Now! After reading that last sentence – If it didn’t even invoke, at the very least, a ‘Mini Haha,’ you’re not only a sad Indian, you’re a dead Indian! Humour, is one of humanities greatest attributes: appropriately positioned right between her two brothers, love and hate! I love to laugh, and I hate to think of humour’s enemy: Mr. Sad. Which brings us right back to all those unhappy faces I’ve been seeing. What’s wrong? Do you feel; different, separated, unwanted and unappreciated? What are ya goin’ to do about it; Beat yourself up over it? Laugh it off? Or are you just going to be, like, Sad?

I once heard a Native comedian making fun of Natives – it was so funny it would’ve made you pee in your pants. And I’ve also been deeply touched by Natives who made jokes about where they’d get their next meal. I know as Natives, we have some unique problems – but everyone has problems, no matter what colour your skin may be.
I’ve bragged to people: “Natives have a great sense of humour!” I want you to prove me right. I want you to create a punch line to this joke: A Native and his friend Chang, walk into a bar and setting at the bar is a hot blonde being served by a black bartender … etc, etc! Come on, my Brothers and sisters, get your wits together and email me your twisted Native thoughts. Come on … give me your best ‘punch!’
Whatever we do, we shouldn’t let the ‘politically correct’ half-wits stifle our ability to laugh at ourselves; it’s either that or people will be laughing at us and not with us! There are many things in life that we must take seriously, but to let them encroach into the rest of our lives is not funny: at all!



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