Well, you can hardly expect us to keep quiet, can you, about the news that scientists in America have found that age can affect your sense of humour, thus rendering you grumpy?
They claim that grumpy old people "can't help it" because a study at Washington University in St Louis revealed that older people find it harder to understand jokes than students. The authors say the finding should be taken seriously as laughing has been linked to health benefits such as boosting circulation, and besides, you should always believe what scientists tell you because they're wonderful people who know everything.
The researchers tested 40 people aged over 65, and 40 undergraduates. The participants had to complete jokes and cartoon strips, choosing the correct punchline or final picture from a selection of options. Choosing the punchline for jokes, undergraduates performed 6% better than older people, and completing cartoon strips they were 14% better.
One such joke in the test was "A businessman is riding the subway after a hard day at the office. A young man sits down next to him and says, "Call me a doctor, call me a doctor"'. The businessman asks, 'What's the matter, are you sick?'.
The participants were expected to correctly identify the punch line as: "The young man says, 'I just graduated from medical school'."
Author Professor Brian Carpenter said: "This wasn't a study about what people find funny. It was a study about whether they get what's supposed to be funny. There are basic cognitive mechanisms to understanding what's going on in a joke. Older adults, because they may have deficits in some of those cognitive areas, may have a harder time understanding what a joke is about."
Dr Chris Moulin, a cognitive neuropsychologist at the University of Leeds said it was "entirely feasible" that people's understanding of jokes could change with age. He said "Many jokes require us to simultaneously have two ideas in mind, such as two meanings of the word 'call' in the example joke, and older people may find it difficult to do this." And he said having a sense of humour was important to health because laughter can maintain well-being by boosting levels of so-called "happy hormones."
Just fancy. Happy hormones. Whatever next - jealous germs? Belligerent bacteria? Lugubrious lymph?
Amazing, isn't it, the things we didn't know until some useless free-loading parasite in a university spent hard-earned public money finding it out?
Very many years ago when The GOS was a teacher he had a pupil who left school at 16 and went to college to learn about hair-dressing and make-up. A couple of years later he happened to see an application form she'd filled up: under "occupation" she'd put "beauty expert"! And today that's still all there is to being an authority. Just spend a couple of years at college, do a little bit of so-called "research" about something nobody's interested in anyway, and you're officially entitled to call yourself an "expert".
An expert. Yes, this actually is Professor
Brian Carpenter. Nice sweater.
Well, Professor Brian Carpenter, The GOS is a bit of an expert on humour himself, on account of over 60 years' experience laughing at jokes, and what this expert has to tell you is that you haven't found anything of the sort. What you've actually found is that (a) old people don't find the same things funny as young people, (b) the jokes you used in your research weren't funny at all, if "call me a doctor" is anything to go by, which is hardly surprising because (c) Americans don't actually have a sense of humour, not a real one like proper people.
And there's one rather vital little fact you've missed, Professor Brian Carpenter. You've made the glib assumption that anyone who's grumpy must have no sense of humour. In fact, there is no connection between humour and grumpiness at all - it is perfectly possible to have a highly-developed sense of humour and still be incredibly grumpy. This is because to have a highly-developed sense of humour you have to quite intelligent, and if you're quite intelligent you soon become aware that the world is full of things to be grumpy about. Not that this is likely to be a problem for you, because you're (a) American and (b) rather thick, I suspect.
And you have the most pathetic taste in jumpers.
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
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