The deceasedís adult children and sisters were seated in the front row in the small church. The minister was standing in front of them, talking about some of the hard times in the decedentís life. Suddenly the ministerís half slip dropped to the floor, forming a satin puddle at her feet. Still talking, she kicked the slip under the sonís chair, and went right on with her message.
The family had followed the ministerís eyes when the slip fell, and they all saw the whole thing. The son started laughing, and looked over at his brother to know if he had seen it. His brother was busy trying to swallow his lips. Their sister was already giggling silently. But a nudge from her aunt, tears already streaming down her face, put the sister over the edge. Of course, the more they tried to stop laughing, the worse it got. None of them made a sound, and no one past the front row knew what was going on. Faces were buried in hankies, mouths were covered tightly by fists. But shoulders shook, tears flowed, and one person just doubled over. As they all turned purple, trying not to make a scene, the minister had to move away to continue the service.
Someone asked them later what had been said to get them all so upset and crying so hard.
As the great philosopher, Joni Mitchell, said, ďLaughing and crying, itís the same release.Ē
Before you read further, pause to remember the last time you laughed really hard. Think. Weíll wait.
Yeah, those belly laughs have been few and far between these past years, eh?
There have been some tv shows dedicated to video clips sent in by viewers. For some odd reason, many of those involve people getting really hurt. The laughter generated is probably more from discomfort in watching, and guilt for laughing at anotherís misfortune.
But there are things that never fail to make us laugh genuinely, joyfully. Those are the things weíll be talking about here.
A toddler and a litter of puppies
Certain scenes from I Love Lucy
The Best of Johnny Carson
Bits of turkey hanging from Momís perfectly coiffed hair, and every surface of her immaculate kitchen, after the turkey mysteriously exploded
Family events, certain comedians, scenes from movies or tv shows, songs (or the way someone sings them), compositions and letters by children Ė we all have a mental collection of bits and pieces that make us smile, if not laugh out loud.
So letís all laugh our way into the new decade.
Immediately after reading this, email the questions below to family and friends. Ask them what made them laugh really hard once. Ever. If they click REPLY ALL, each person on the list will be able to share. Create a new file in your email box, and collect their answers there. When you have a collection, call and read them to someone who doesnít email. Collect that personís stories, and pass them around.
If laughter is the best medicine, we could all be healthy by January 6. What an Epiphany that would be!
Give yourself extra time at the grocery store soon. Use it to read the greeting cards.
Google and read material by Erma Bombeck, Bill Cosby stand up, Rita Rudner, Elaine Boosler, Ellen DeGeneris stand up, Robin Williams stand up, Will Rogers, George Carlin.
Itís not only because we can all use a good laugh. Because the good times, silly times, ARE few and far between, we may risk losing our ability to have them. The old Use It Or Lose It theory applies here.
The danger is most severe in the presence of depression, sadness, grief, loneliness, anger, ill health and isolation. If you know folks in any of those categories, make sure to include them.
So take 2 knee slappers and call me in the morning. Or at least click CONTACT THE EDITOR and share the smiles! Shalom.
GOOD CLEAN FUN SURVEY
Name a person that can make you laugh
Describe a time that the family laughed really hard
Tell a joke (oh, go find one, then!)
What scene in a movie or tv show makes you laugh every time you think of it?
Name a comedian you like
What made you giggle in church last time?
What music can make you cry?
Sing along with?
When is the last time you laughed really hard?