The Funny Side of Life

Posted in Under the Sea on February 27th, 2011 by MadDog
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As it was never difficult for me to find humour in the oddest corners of life, it has been disturbing recently that I don’t laugh as much as I used to. The reasons for this are multiple and obvious. Depression never gives one a cheerful outlook. Stress is not likely to invoke laughter. Trauma seldom makes one giggle. Nevertheless, I have discovered that I can regain areas of functionality by concentrating my attention on how I perceive life unfolding around me and consciously adjusting my habitual reactions to those perceptions. In other words, I give myself an attitude check.

For instance:  It has now been nearly two weeks since I last posted. I’ve been fretting about this for days. Sometimes I simply can’t kick-start myself into action. Oh, I have a list of excuses as long as my ape-like arms. However, analysing it as objectively as I can, I have to admit that I just ran out of things to talk about. I needed to give myself some time to let the word well refill. Among other excuses were power outages. Several times as I sat with my hands poised over the keyboard composing the first sentence, the UPS screamed in agony and the air conditioner groaned and fell silent. Also there were rainstorms which blocked my satellite and killed my web connection. A few times I just felt “too tired” or I “had a headache” or I suddenly “got hungry” or any of several other manufactured distractions pulled me away from what I needed to get done.

So, what’s so funny about that? Well, nothing and everything. It’s not funny that a grown (dare I say mature?) man can find so many excuses to avoid doing something which he knows will make him feel better when he’s done it. It’s not funny that depression cripples us in so many unfathomable ways. The list of reasons why it’s not funny is lengthy. However, if you wrote a scene for a comedy and put Steve Martin in as the slightly disturbed and angst filled star, it would be very amusing. It might invoke some self-conscious giggles. Let’s have Steve preparing his CV for an important job application. I can see how he might never get around to actually doing it. Each time he starts and fails to complete the task it adds to the comedic frustration. As time goes by the distractions become more and more contrived. Forgot to feed the cat. Was that the telephone ringing? Oh, I need to trim my fingernails!

If I step outside my skin and watch myself, I have to admit that I resemble Steve in the movie. This strikes me as funny. It’s funny because it’s unreasonable. There’s an almost slapstick quality to it. Each little act of masochism is like a pratfall. One asks why is this guy doing this to himself? Why doesn’t he just get on with it?

Now that I’m writing, I feel better already, though when I read through what I’ve written I can’t imagine that anyone will make sense of it. Oh well, I am not here to make sense. That’s never been a goal.

I think that I’ve flogged that dead horse long enough. I’ll now show you some images from last week’s dive on the wall at Blueblood. I’ll try to find the humour in one of the worst dives I’ve had for ages. I’ll try to smile at a cold, rainy day.

We saw clear water as we approached the wall and prepared to go in. However, by the time we went over the side, we had drifted a bit and we ended up in a torrent of muddy water spilling out from the lagoon. The sky was very dark with grey rain clouds so there was little light. The water was so turbid that by the time we reached fifteen metres the visibility had dropped to less than two metres. I sincerely did not want to be there. I started to give Rich Jones the “I don’t like this” hand signal and pointed upward with my thumb. Rich just kept moving forward. I wasn’t happy about that, but the last thing that I wanted was for us to lose sight of each other. After a while we came into clearer water and things brightened up a bit. I got this shot of a nudibranch:

You may note that it is a bit grainy. That is because the light level was so low. I had to boost the ISO of my sensor to 400 to get an acceptable shutter speed. That is the point at which the Canon G11 gets noisy.

There were no big fish about, something which is becoming more and more common; I don’t know why. Everyone is commenting on it. We see no sharks these days and fish bigger than a hand are becoming less and less plentiful. I did, however, get a few nice shots of unusual corals. Here’s one:

And here’s another:

My thumb is there to show you the size of the coral.

I like this shot of coral polyps streaming in the current:

This is a very young Leather Coral colony, I think:

And this is the most strangely coloured Fungia coral that I have ever seen:

It seems to me that these very strange colourations of many species of coral are becoming more and more common. I have no idea what causes it. It may be another manifestation of abnormalities caused by an increase of water temperature. This is something we have been experiencing for many years. The average temperature of the local reefs has risen considerably over the time which I have been diving here. We are seeing a huge increase of coral bleaching episodes.

I haven’t found much humour yet, so I’ll finish up with this grinning Moray:

Rich Jones found it hiding in a crevice. It was very difficult to get a shot. I took about ten exposures. This one was the best.