When I was growing up, I loved watching "roasts," gatherings of famous comedians, at a place called the "Friars Club," where the guest of honor, also famous, would get made fun of relentlessly by the panel of sarcasm "experts." (Presidential Candidates nowadays also get roasted at the annual Alfred E. Smith Dinner in a similar way, though definitely less expertly.)
These roasts were really funny, and I always noted two things about them - the roastee always seemed to be having so much fun being humiliated, and the roasters seemed to have so much genuine affection for the person they were lambasting with their perfected barbs.
Well, at a gathering of friends at a Winter Solstice celebration last year, I got roasted! Yep. The idea spoke through one of our members that I could use a good roasting, and so, on the fly at the end of dinner, I became the guest of honor and my friends roasted me. By the time it was over, my gut ached and tears were coming down because I was laughing so hard.
Why was/is it so funny to be made fun of?
Well, for me personally, it's been a consistent message from mentors over the years that I take myself too seriously. Whatever my gifts may be, being able to laugh at myself is one of the highest among them. And as a person who knows that one key to happiness and self-actualization is to dismantle one's ego, I have welcomed people into my life (including my best friend of 30 years) who are willing to make fun of me. Relentlessly. With love. Inevitably, when I get roasted, I end of rolling on the floor in gut-clenching laughter. It's a great tonic.
As John Travolta's version of Michael the Archangel said in the movie, "Michael":
"You gotta laugh; it's the key to loving."
So, the year end holidays are here, folks. Get roasted!