Funny

“Funny? I laughed until I cried” refers to a spectacularly good joke. “That’s funny, I’m sure I left my keys there” is about something that doesn’t seem to be what we expect, but it’s because we haven’t taken other things into account (you did leave the keys there, but they got knocked into the waste-paper basket when you stood up). But “it’s a funny thing, time” and “funny things, children” refer to things we simply can’t make head nor tail of. When you boil it down, everything is funny in one way or another.

There’s funny ha-ha, funny peculiar,
And funny it can’t be explained.
It’s a funny old world and no mistake,
But it does keep the brain entertained1.

Funny ha-ha’s what you get when a joke
Makes you laugh out loud, smile, groan or cry;
Funny peculiar says “something’s not right”,
And you’re left wondering what’s not, and why . . .

But funny it can’t be explained is by far
The most interesting one, and the best
At giving your grey matter something to do
Making models2 and theories to test.

What’s inertia and mass3? What is time? How big’s space?
And how did it all come to be?
Why are some people horrid and some people nice?
And will there be honey for tea?

Religion’s old dogmas and science’s “laws”
Both offer, with no commonality,
Ways to make sense of the world as it is4;
But neither should claim it’s reality5.

For we are a part of the thing we’re explaining –
We cannot look in from outside;
And our brain’s not equipped to get at the truth6,
Though Descartes and others have tried7.

So there’s funny ha-ha, funny peculiar,
And funny it can’t be explained.
It’s a funny old world and no mistake,
But it does keep the brain entertained.

1. See Ignorance is bliss
2. See Model makers
3. See Definitions
4. See Science and religion
5. See First impressions
6. See Causes, Brain strain and No time like the present
7. See Confusion

[Image: The Spectator]
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