The Smile: A Confusing Expression for Every Occasion

James Belarde // “Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.” -Thích Nhất Hạnh One of the biggest smiles I’ve ever flashed came after purposefully having my jaw broken, subsequently facing a six-week period where I couldn’t chew. While this sounds masochistic at…

“Let’s Play!”: The Use of Play Therapy in Child Healthcare

James Belarde// “To truly laugh, you must be able to take your pain, and play with it.” -Charlie Chaplin Children are the definition of potential. While having dinner on a first date at a vegetarian restaurant, the conversation turned to my gross undereducation in the field of vegetables and an abhorrent overeducation in the field…

Comedy Conflicted: The Dual Nature of Humor in “The House of God”

James Belarde // “Comedy is a tool of togetherness. It’s a way of putting your arm around someone, pointing at something, and saying, ‘Isn’t it funny that we do that?’ It’s a way of reaching out.” -Kate McKinnon In 1978, Samuel Shem published The House of God, a scandalous novel centered around the lives of…

Laughing at Death – Part 2: When the Dying Tell Jokes

James Belarde “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One of us has got to go.” -Oscar Wilde, shortly before succumbing to illness In Mumbai, India, a kind-looking elderly woman sits on a stool behind a microphone and calmly quips “Life is like that TV journalist Arnab Goswami. Never take it…

Laughing at Death: Gallows Humor and the Physician’s Psyche

James Belarde “Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.” -George Bernard Shaw, The Doctor’s Dilemma If you’re reading this article, you’re going to die. That’s not to say, hopefully, that this piece is so bad it will kill you. Nor is…

Crying Until You Laugh: Finding Humor in Personal Tragedy

James Belarde “The more one suffers, the more, I believe, has one a sense for the comic.” -Søren Kierkegaard In June of 1980, comedy star Richard Pryor covered himself in rum and lit himself on fire after days of cocaine freebasing in what he would later admit was a suicide attempt. During a four-month span…

Review: “Sawbones,” Podcasting, and the History of Medicine

“Sawbones is a show about medical history and nothing the hosts say should be taken as medical advice or opinion. It’s for fun. Can’t you just have fun for an hour and not try to diagnose your mystery boil? We think you’ve earned it. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy a moment of distraction from…that…weird…