Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Machination of Cachinnation

"You've got to learn to laugh. It's the way to true love."

Where would we be without humor? Where would I be? Lost and utterly pent up. I'm even willing to laugh at myself just to break the tension. A good friend of mine is going through a very trying time just now, but she constantly keeps me in belly laughs (even with her descriptions of her current tribulations). I try to do the same for her, knowing full well that laughter really is the best medicine.

Truly. According to, it has better benefits than a fistfull of vitamins: "Laughter reduces pain, increases job performance, connects people emotionally, and improves the flow of oxygen to the heart and brain." It's also been said to help protect against heart attacks and strengthen the immune system. Considering that laughter boosts endorphin levels, it all stands to reason.

But, back to the quote from Michael. Laughter does connect us at a root level. Take a group of people from different countries and language barriers, different walks of life, different age levels, etc. Gather them together and have them watch a good pantomime. They begin to laugh... they've connected. In my younger years during a trip to Hungary, I was still fairly ignorant of the language. It was early in my trip and my cousin and I were still feeling a little awkward around each other. We got onto a very crowded bus and we had to stand while we hung onto a pole. A grubby man inserted his arm between us to hang onto the pole. I looked at Marianna and gave her the universal what-can-you-do shrug. She got a mischevious look on her face, looked at the dirty arm, grinned and said a word we both understood, "Ketchup!" We both burst out laughing and the awkwardness was instantly gone.

"I never did like to work, and I don't deny it. I'd rather read, tell stories, crack jokes, talk, laugh - anything but work."
~Abraham Lincoln
I always try to find something to make the grocery store clerks laugh. I've done that job. It can be pure drudgery... ringing up items and dealing with people who'd rather be elsewhere and who don't want to part with their money. Some have said that I'm funny, but while I think of myself as having a solid sense of humor, I don't think of myself as being a funny person... though on a good day (and around a campfire where the tequila is plentiful), I do know how to amuse. It always makes me feel good when someone tells me I'm funny because I know I've made them laugh. In short, I've done a good deed for the day.

Stir up some laughter today. Share a joke. Belly up to the Giggle Bar. You'll feel better for it. So will they.

~Make 'Em Laugh, Donald O'Connor

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