(301): the majority of my texts from you are at 3 AM & consist of either "I'm drunk", "you're asian", or "bratwurst".I laughed my ass off when I read that. Bratwurst non sequitur.
I first saved this post as a draft at least a year ago, but I didn't have anything to put in the body of the damn thing. I figured if I left it there, I'd see it whenever I scanned through the drafts, and eventually I'd think of some kind of answer to the question. Finally I have one: absurd humor is like play.
A couple weeks ago I asked about play at a "Thinkrs & Drinkrs" gathering. My question was: "How do you play? Alone or with others? Physically or mentally?" I expected to hear about musical instruments and sports, but the question had a life of its own. One of the most useful responses was John Heaney's: that he doesn't set aside time to play, rather, he's constantly playing by choosing to improvise the way he gets routine tasks done. Drive a different route to work, see different buildings, think of new possibilities. Innovation happens when you think about the problem in front of you in a new way because you were exposed to something totally unrelated. So a functional definition of play is that it's an activity that seeks to provide these mental collisions between unrelated thoughts. This is very much in line with the Stephen Nachmanovitch post I quoted a long time ago about its importance in science.
Absurd humor is also a collision of unrelated thoughts. I'm drunk, you're asian, bratwurst. The outcome is laughter instead of innovation, but the mechanism is the same. It jiggles the brain the same way a flash of insight does. And I'm addicted to that.