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Are you taking everything too seriously? Find a way to lighten up
It’s April Fools Day as I sit here and stare at my computer. One of composer Franz Schubert’s symphonies is playing on the radio. It may be the one he didn’t finish, the “Unfinished Symphony,” we music aficionados call it.
Schubert composed only two fully orchestrated movements of Symphony No. 8, and then lived six more years. That would be plenty of time, you’d think, to complete a traditional symphony — two more movements.
I have a theory about why he didn’t finish it.
It was a joke.
But few people got it.
Here we are, 188 years later, wondering why ol’ Franz stopped in the middle of a symphony, went to the bathroom, read the morning paper, and never returned to his work.
Some people just don’t understand a joke.
Emory Jones of Cleveland, Ga., can attest to that. Several years ago, he wrote a column claiming that the state planned to dig up Yonah Mountain near his home and move it to Atlanta because the big city didn’t have any nice mountains and needed one. Well, some people took him seriously.
With the newspaper in her hand and tears in her eyes, a teenager in Cleveland whined, “Daddy, they’re going to move Yonah Mountain to Atlanta.” The father grabbed the paper and said, “Honey, look who wrote that article.”
I wrote a tongue-in-cheek column saying that Rich’s, a huge department store, had decided not to build a high-rise store in Lula, Ga., my wife’s hometown, because the Lula Area Business Association thought the competition would hurt local businesses. Lula, with a population at that time of about 800, had maybe five businesses. But some woman took me seriously and called to ask if Rich’s was still looking for land. She had some to sell.
Former radio personality Ludlow Porch had some people convinced that Montana did not exist. It was given to Canada as part of a settlement after North Dakota lost a war with the country to the north. “Have you ever seen a Montana license plate?” Porch would say.
Even city employees like to joke around. Longtime newsman Myles Godfrey’s mechanic friend Curtis waited innocently in his truck one day while a sanitation worker went to pick up a dead dog on the side of the road. But the dog wasn’t dead, just sleeping. Curtis knew that. The worker didn’t. It didn’t take him long, though, to turn loose of the dog’s hind legs.
During my physical the other day, my doctor talked about counseling people who are depressed, and some of them are listening four hours a day to talk radio. “Don’t do that,” he tells them. “Don’t listen more than 30 minutes a day.”
Times are hard enough without some blowhard — conservative or liberal — fanning the flames of uncertainty day in and day out. Lighten up. Go write half of a symphony. Tell a joke. Smell the daffodils.
Better yet, enjoy a picnic on a mountain before they move it to the city.
Phil Hudgins’ column is published in many newspapers around the Southeast.