Stefanos Xenakis is back with new book, The Simplest Gift
Stefanos Xenakis is back with new book, The Simplest Gift

To celebrate the recent release of his new book The Simplest Gift, author Stefanos Xenakis is showcasing an extract from the collection of human short stories. Here's 'Humour'...

LIFE IS A GAME: you only lose if you don’t play. That’s one of my mentor’s favourite sayings. He told us this repeatedly until we got the message.

One day, while I’m waiting in line at the bank, I overhear an interesting conversation going on behind me and I start to listen in. A woman, probably in her forties, is talking to an elderly man. She’s telling him how young her dad looks for his age. ‘When people see us together, they think we’re a couple!’ she says. ‘There he is! Dad, come over here, will you?’

I sneak a look. A cheerful older man with a spring in his step approaches. He’s grinning from ear to ear, wearing Bermuda shorts, a trendy T-shirt, and a baseball cap – the eternal teen. He radiates energy. He’s the kind of man you only need to look at to brighten your day. He jumps right into the conversation. ‘How old do you think I am?’ he asks the elderly man.

‘Sixty?’ wonders the man aloud.

‘Seventy-five!’ the ‘teen’ proudly declares. And he chuckles.

I turn around in amazement. I wouldn’t miss the energy that this man is radiating for the world. I give up my place in the queue to the people behind me and worm my way into the conversation. The guy is one huge smile.

‘Do I know you from somewhere?’ he asks me. ‘Maybe we go to the same barber?’ and he chuckles again as he takes off his cap. There’s not a hair on his head. Nor on mine. ‘Do we go to the same dance class? Are you a winter swimmer?’ The guy does it all. But first and foremost, he remembers to laugh. And joke. At every little thing.

Joy is everything. Laughter is the child of joy, and its parent, too – just like the chicken and egg story. When you’re happy, you laugh, but you can also laugh to get happy. And underlying both is your sense of humour; it’s what’s in control of how you feel. Humour is life. It’s the hope that something new, something special, is being born. Humour is the celebration of life.

People with a sense of humour are happier. They stay young. They get sick less often. They’re shinier people – they glow. Wherever they go, they attract positive energy, as if they’re sprinkling pixie dust around. They leave this world a better place than they found it.

A sense of humour is a sign of character, grace, and elegance. All the greats had one.

Winston Churchill and British MP Lady Astor were renowned for their witty repartees. Lady Astor once told him, ‘If you were my husband, I’d poison your tea.’ To which Churchill responded, ‘Madam, if I were your husband, I’d drink it.’

The Simplest Gift by Stefanos Xenakis is out now.

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