Giving parents permission to have negative feelings for their children will always make them laugh. The previous cartoon posts entitled “The Joys of Parenting” are funny because without cloaking disgust in humor, parents feel horrible (code for guilty) when they feel regret about having children. I do not mean the kind of regret where people want to give their children away, but I mean the wistful fantasy of reflecting on life without kids. Even this fantasy can produce so much guilt that parents quickly reassure themselves and others, how happy they are to be with their progeny. Humor bypasses societal expectations allowing a release of negative affect with a smile. In a similar way, sex always sells in comedy shows. Most of us feel awkward about talking about sex, unless we are making a joke, in which case, we know we will get a laugh, again, as a release of tension. This tension, or mixed feelings, results from those sticky feelings of guilt and shame that we all try so hard to avoid, and thereby engage in activities which serve to protest the underlying feelings. As Shakespeare so eloquently stated, “thou does protest too much,” suggesting that underlying the protest is some hard truths. We love and hate our children, our parents, our significant others and ourselves. This cauldron of conflicting feelings challenges us to deepen our sense of ourselves and others. Those who take on that challenge are richer for it, and those who avoid the challenge, compromise the depth of their relationships. Some, who take on the challenge, become funny and charismatic folks, demonstrating a deep understanding of conscious and unconscious feelings. It is easy to get a laugh, once you know the formula for eliciting guilt and shame. Or, as Henny Youngman famously said, ”take my wife–please”.