Chronic pain can be treated by opiates, but laughter is often the best medicine. During a period of chronic pain (the result of a body on the downhill side of 50), I was depressed, which only made the pain worse. I dislike painkillers, because our family makes pharmaceuticals, and I have an inkling of how many people are killed by drug interactions and reactions. My wife decided to try drastic methods on my mopes: a Katharine Hepburn film festival. It helped a great deal; the brain cannot laugh and feel pain at the same time.
Goethe observes, “Sometimes we can watch a comedy for a stretch without laughing at the comic antics, but in a tragedy we immediately laugh uproariously at something . . .
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