Mel Brooks said, "Humor is just another defense against the universe." I believe him. Not just because he is the mastermind behind many of my favorite movies (Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein) but because I have seen the power of humor firsthand.
Recently, my husband, a carpenter, lost his footing and fell off the second-floor deck of a house he was building. He fell 16 feet and landed straight up. Needless to say, this caused trauma to his knees. To make a long story short, he fractured a bone in his left leg and will be out of work for a while. Dealing with the stress of what could have happened, what did happen and what we need to do in the meantime to make things work is a daunting task. To cope, I stay busy.
Once we got home from the hospital and I got my husband settled in a comfortable position, I set out to find tasks to keep my mind occupied. Fortunately for me, my e-mail inbox was filled with several Comical Processing cartoon caption submissions. So for the next hour I reviewed all the funny captions our viewers sent in to Chemical Processing's online feature Comical Processing, which features drawings by award-winning cartoonist Jerry King.
We introduced this feature earlier this year to give ChemicalProcessing.com visitors a break from all the serious stuff they deal with at work. From the response, it appears this was a much-needed addition.
Scrolling through the submissions, I've decided our visitors are funny folks. From Scott Lundeen who summoned Agent 86 from the Get Smart TV series to come up with the "Cone of Silence" caption to Robert Andrew for his short-and-sweet riposte — "I think you forgot to carry the 1" — for the long and complex equation our cartoon characters encountered to a caption that won approval from every judge on the Comical Processing panel — David Debari's take on the huge plant growing through the roof: "Accounting called. They said to tell Mr. 'I Solved the Ethanol Problem' that the roof repairs are coming out of his budget." -- all of these captions proved to be a tremendous comfort during a stressful time.
To everyone who submitted a caption to one of the many cartoons, I thank you. You made me smile while I was originally posting your prose — and you made me smile again when I needed it most. What started out as a way to bring levity to your world has also brought it to mine.
As for my husband, a friend of mine started calling him one of the Flying Wallendas, which reminded me of another Mel Brooks quote: "If God wanted us to fly, He would have given us tickets."
Traci Purdum is Chemical Processing's Senior Digital Editor. You can e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.