I have been humourless for many weeks. I have been brusque with family and friends and always felt guilty because I seemed, I believe, rude. I am not a rude man and if you've met me you would say I am not rude. But I have been lately. I have been gruff. My mind is all distraction and my typical mirth has been replaced by temporary melancholy. My patience has shortened as has my ability to suffer fools and foolishness, jokes, ribbing and barbs, and I will soon talk about aardvarks. Recently a cousin made a joke to me about something I don't care to tell you, and at other times this recurring joke would have lured a polite laugh out of me, but not this time. It's not a hurtful joke, normally -- in fact, it's extremely benign and tremendously insignificant, not dissimilar to an affectionate tug on the cheek. But because I am currently rude and humourless, the remark was met by my frigid frown and a subtext of "shut up" that was hardly sub. I did not want to be rude, I wanted to be polite. But let's say you usually find aardvarks funny. They are odd and begin the English dictionary. Normally you like aardvarks. Usually the subject of aardvarks would not make you rude. But then your friend pulls your leg with an aardvark remark, knowing full well that only last week an aardvark horrifically attacked your mother.