The last laugh

Chuckles, sniggers and guffaws slipped from bellies up through lips. The crowd relaxed around white circular tables. The joke….

“He asked me how that made me feel and I replied, What a silly question—I’m German!—You know Germans don’t have feelings!”


Vincent Van Gogh was Dutch, not German. Had you asked me about the artist last Friday, I would have asked, “The painter who cut off his ear?”

Over the weekend, I watched Mona Lisa Smile. In the film, art history professor Katherine Watson made reference to non-conformity through Van Gogh’s paintings:

He painted what he felt, not what he saw……People didn’t understand, to them it seemed childish……It took years for them to recognize his actual technique……To see the way his brush strokes seemed to make the night sky move……Yet, he never sold a painting in his lifetime.

Van Gogh’s life was tragic—the stereotypical tortured artist. He suffered mental illness, drank in excess and took his own life at the age of 37—hardly ideal. Still…there’s beauty and depth to his creations and devotion—2100 artworks, 860 oil paintings. His feelings flowed through his hands.

German, Dutch, American, Chinese, Australian, Indian, African, Russian—feelings are part of the human condition and that’s no joke, but I’ll ask…

How best to channel them?

Now there’s a question every man must explore for himself!


I have a passage jotted in a notebook without attribution. Apologies to the originator. This is too good not to share:

Purpose: It is not necessarily about performing a certain task or being in a certain occupation or living in a specific location. It’s about sharing yourself in a creative, loving way using the skills and interests that are inherently a part of you.