Ostomy Memories of the Last Laugh


It is my honor and privilege to have accepted the post of Bishop of the First Church of the Last Laugh for our diocese. Our sacred creed is to worship mirth with light hearts and liquid refreshment. Having a sense of humor is more important to us than a sense of devotion to any imagined divine process. To us, divinity is fluffy, creamy candy made with stiffly beaten egg whites. We worship punch lines and pundits rather than a scary, paternal white-bearded figure tossing thunder bolts from the clouds on high. Heaven to us is the warm glow that comes from laughter and good company, not some winged harpist in an ethereal afterlife plucking monotonous cloud chords.

Our heroes are not theologians or bible thumpers but, rather, comedians. George Burns not only played God in the movie; to us he remains a kind of god. “I smoke cigars,” he once said, “because at my age if I don’t have something to hang onto I might fall down.”

We hold our services on Friday nights to celebrate the commencement of the weekend. The ladies bring canapés [Can o’ peas? What am I gonna do with a can o’ peas?] and the guys bring bottled relaxants. Each week, one of our members is designated to stand up and do a routine. It may be original or something from a well-known comic’s past show. It can be jokes, stories, truth or fiction, bawdy or clean, we don’t care. The only requirement is that it induce laughter. “Seriousness is the refuge of the shallow,” said Oscar Wilde.

The First Church of the Last Laugh has applied for tax exemption but thus far we haven’t heard back from the Treasury Department. I find this quite disturbing since we consider our comedic worship to be on a par with the sanctimony and reverence recognized in other churches. Plus, we avoid all the suffering, penance and confessional rigmarole that play such a large part in other religions. Having a sense of humor gives a feeling of tranquility that organized religion is powerless to bestow.

The writings we favor are apocryphal and supply belly laughs rather than soul calming. Serious subjects can only be considered if approached satirically or tongue-in-cheek. “I was thrown out of college for cheating on the metaphysics exam,” said Woody Allen. “I looked into the soul of the boy next to me.”

Anyone may attend the meetings of the First Church of the Last Laugh. Dress is as informal as our outlook on life. At our last session, several of our members became a trifle raucous during the evening’s routine. “I should warn you,” shouted the member providing the entertainment. “Underneath these clothes I’m wearing boxer shorts and I know how to use them!”

Hello HenryM.
Thank you for introducing us to the The First Church of the Last Laugh and I am so pleased for you having received the honour of becoming ‘Bishop’.
The concept is one that I tried to capture in ‘Laugh or Lament’, in which the dedication reads:
However, I feel I must share the first rhyme in the book and thank you for the opportunity to do so.

Best wishes


I write this verse for those who may
use humour in communiqué.
Witty gems that are so funny
cannot be bought for vulgar money.

Give me just one laugh a day
to keep my sadder thoughts at bay.
I would go that extra mile
to bring forth a deep-felt smile.

Sometimes it’s easy to be sad
with all the problems I have had.
But when I read those jokes out loud
it tends to lift the darkest cloud.

Jokes can lift emotions high.
They make me laugh or sometimes cry.
If they are wicked or filthy
they tend to make me feel guilty.

I feel I should not laugh at jokes
that ridicule less able folks.
For I have seen the darker half
of these things that make us laugh.

I never seemed to have the mind
to laugh at things that are unkind.
What some humour does for me
is simply raise my empathy.

I am confused to be amused
with all of my emotions fused.
That which should not make me smile
will steal my self-respect a while.

Nonetheless, I giggle too
at humour aimed at me and you.
Out goes all my good intent
as it gives way to merriment.

But I can’t seem to help myself.
Humour creeps along with stealth.
Even under saddest cloud
suddenly I’ll laugh out loud.

So I pay tribute to the ones
who produce the jokes and puns.
They bring me pleasure midst the pain.
A laugh is treasure found again.

                                    B. Withers 2011



In life, I have laughter and with laughter comes love.

Longevity is for us if we do the above.

Psalm from my mom.

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Hi Henry, I think you have outdone yourself on this one. LOL!! I would love to be a member of this club, but not sure I'm worthy. In the words of Groucho Marx, "I would never join a club with standards so low they would consider me for membership," (might be a bit of a paraphrase).

Laughter is great medicine for the soul. Thanks.



I really love your ability to convey your viewpoints on subjects that are difficult to openly discuss by overlaying them with a broader subject that appears to be your main subject, and is something few can disagree with. Brilliant! And I hear ya, brother. You do have a gift.



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