More levity, please

Maybe Duke Wortmann is on to something.

The first-term City Council member is the only candidate to meet with the Sentinel’s editorial board in recent years to articulate a position on levity.

It’s lacking in public proceedings, contributing to a sort of community malaise, he said. He wanted to change that. The statement was so off the political track that it might have been shrugged off as pure novelty, but there it was again in Thursday’s paper.

Deliberating on the City Council policy on invocations, Wortmann noted that he uses moments of silence to pray for guidance in bringing “joy and encouragement” to the stern business of governance.

Odd as it seems, there’s wisdom in recognizing the debilitating effect of a too-grave approach to council business — or anything, for that matter. All work and no play makes the Grand Valley a dull, hopeless place. Sentinel columnist Jim Spehar touched on this theme with Monday’s column, urging readers to count our blessing as a community and see a glass half-full, instead of half-empty.

Unfortunately, one of the valley’s biggest sources of laughter — Steve Beauregard — announced Thursday he’s written his last humor column for the Sentinel. Nobody lightened things up around here like Beauregard, leaving us wondering who will fill the void.

Beauregard was a master of self-deprecating humor. His willingness to make himself the butt of his own jokes opened up avenues for making fun of anybody and anything, exposing some of the most absurd aspects of life in the Grand Valley.

We need more of that, channeled in a positive way to alleviate the weight of living in an economically challenged region.

A high suicide rate, a vagrancy problem, an undermanned and underfunded sheriff’s office struggling with rising crime rates, crumbling schools, chaos in Washington, D.C., a sobering analysis of why Mesa County can be considered “Trump country” in a recent New Yorker magazine piece — all these things and countless others can suck the joy out of living in a special place.

We can’t laugh our problems away. But in laughing, we create space to appreciate the better things this community has to offer. To that end, we invite readers to help us “turn that frown upside down.”

“You Said It” has evolved into a grinding, snarky complaint forum.  People are either sarcastically critical of politicians and neighbors or saccharine-sweet with their tales of Good Samaritans paying things forward with free lunches. It doesn’t have to be that way. The opportunity is there for aspiring Beauregards to punch things up with some charm and humorous observations that make light of heavy topics.

We need to smile at the wit of our neighbors, use humor to defuse confrontations and disarm detractors, promote more good will in public debate and circulate more positive energy around this valley.


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