The time has finally come to get serious, but under one condition – that we still know how to make a joke.

Rasim Zlatan Prste

‘I’ve got a birth defect – I was born in the Balkans’, so joked the famous Mostar comedian Osman Dziho at his own expense, though it was definitely at the expense of his compatriots too. The even more famous Miso Maric, in his review of the book ‘Vaccine against Hate’ wrote in response, amongst other things, to his ahbab (friend): ‘Dziho is the on-call radio-telegraphist, typing SOS – Save our souls…’  Even more famous than the aforementioned duo, the great Mesa Seminovic used to say: ‘I laugh until I cry – if I stop laughing, only tears will remain’.

Insufficiently happy, and so insufficiently skilful in the search for words of consolation, but also equally unprepared to sink into indifference or succumb to other people’s despair and the darkest forebodings, I often leave and call for no less and no more than Miko Antic. And in his Horoscope I find the not at all funny, but still wise and healing, thought of Ludwig Bern: ‘One should think in the world of the living, but live in the imaginary’. A straw of salvation, but in the ‘world of the living’ (almost wrote quicksand), it’s more valuable than gold.

And so, day after day, comforting the person on the other side of the phone and to be perfectly honest comforting myself, instead of, or even in protest against, the overused phrases about ‘the key days (weeks, months) ahead’ – I think and invent, quote and listen.

Moreover, I find it increasingly difficult to understand the heroes in white lab coats, because only them and their protégés can understand each other. Following their advice would already make sense, but…

Therefore, talking into the phone, and in order to reduce the joint risk of excess nervousness, I call for the help of another wizard who, long absent, arrives to inspire, warn and empower us …

When Ckalja, who could make all twenty million of his compatriots laugh without hesitation, was asked if he ever got annoyed at himself – after giving an affirmative answer and the sub-question of ‘why’ – the wizard added: I was most annoyed for getting annoyed at all.

I don’t know what this has to do with the great actor, and whether I stepped into April at all, but I know for sure that, even without April, we are incurably optimistic. Maybe our politicians don’t even know that, but this is not the moment, so I beg: ‘Leave politicians alone! They’ve left us a long time ago.’

In the end, ‘it’s really lucky that we Bosnians don’t really think, and don’t stop to check whether it’s the right time to joke’, because God forbid we think.

Not sure I had to go that far, but that’s why I know that ‘Most spouses deserve all the praise because they kept social distance before the prescribed measures’, and I also wrote somewhere that ‘Corona is becoming more popular among ‘various’ friends” (and I’m not surprised) . ‘It’s hard to find a better alibi.’ Hard. The time has finally come to get serious, but under one condition – that we still know how to make a joke.

It’s therapy time… Ten by ten lines of humour from Dziha’s book, three times a day, before a meal, or after – DOESN’T MATTER. Because if there’s no love, not to say ‘brotherhood’, like the stellar Serbedzija used to say, we can’t be helped by neither Pfizer nor Sputnik


Rasim Zlatan Prste, aphorist from Capljina and Sarajevo, poet and journalist. Author of six books of aphorism and poetry.