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Rock Street, San Francisco
Rock Street, San Francisco

“To be or not to be? That is the question” used to be a Shakespearean quote that sprang to my mind every time I tried to decide whether I wanted to be an optimist, oblivious to the pathos of life, or not. I wondered whether I had to be a carefree, unbiased teenager who never took bitter remarks to heart or whether I had to be a down-to-earth pessimist who was so preoccupied with the darker side of life that I could not learn to savor the beautiful things in life. Not surprisingly, it wasn’t until I read J. B.

Priestly’s “An Inspector Calls,” that I realized that “we are all members of one body,” (53) a body that can either bathe in joy or disintegrate in misery depending on the emotional contributions from people like me. This quotation emerged as a powerful revelation that made me realize that as a grumpy, disillusioned teenager, I could never attain satisfaction and peace with my inner self. Remembering that I was a part of society, a society made up of individuals as different as the morning sky’s shades, also made me appreciate that I am unique, just like everyone else.

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Thus, even if I appear peculiar to someone, it is not necessarily because I am at fault. These revelations forced me to view the world from a different perspective. Just as the movie “Smoke Signals” empowered Native Americans to be “Able to Laugh at Their People, Not Just Cry for Them” (Everything’s An Argument 397) Priestly’s timeless quotation enabled me to rebuke negativism with humor, bitterness with sarcasm. But who am I to say that laughter can perform miracles? I possess everything I have ever wanted. I am a physician’s only child, “a spoiled brat,” as people sometimes call me.

My wonderful parents are always there when I need them and in the shadows when I do not. The deadliness of today’s diseases has never trespassed into my home. Who am I to know what it feels like to be hurt? How do I know what it feels like to lose a loved one or even to lose faith? How do I know how it feels like to be hungry and cold? I do not know. However, I know others who do and that is what makes me think that laugher is the greatest of all medicines. A friend’s mother passed away a few years ago and she used to cry every time she saw my own mum. I wondered why. Then I understood. She was not jealous.

Knowing that her mother’s sweet melodies will never wake her up again had metamorphosed Amy into a dejected recluse. One day I just burst out and said, “Your mum hates to see you cry. Remember that she is like an angel watching over your shoulders. Remember that when you weep, the angels weep too. Laugh and your mum will laugh with you. ” She did just that, and today, she no longer cries when she thinks of her mum. Instead, she beams with pride knowing that she has a loving mother whose angelic wings will always shield her from harm. A few years after Amy’s mum had passed away, we volunteered at an orphanage near our homes.

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