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Native Writes: Laughter of life

Posted: Friday, Mar 1st, 2013

In this world of noise pollution, I have discovered a sound I love and need to hear.

It certainly isn’t the Rocky’s Autos commercial on television.

And it isn’t a radio station devoted to oldies or a clip on YouTube. It isn’t even a performance by the blue-collar guys, though that comes pretty close for me.

It’s heartfelt human laughter.

I have known since I was small that laughter is wonderful. Heck, I can laugh at myself as well as anyone else can.

Self-deprecation is my forte. I am the funniest thing that ever happened to me. My sons, now grown, delight in recalling the year mom set fire to the marshmallows on top of the sweet potatoes, or the year the borscht caused the pressure cooker to blow its top and the kitchen ceiling was forever pink and white polka dots.

They also love to relate that, as a grandmother, I have been “decorated” by each of the grandchildren. Laughing after doing a face-plant on a winter sidewalk was even laughable, but it required the participation of people who would laugh with me.

Since retirement, I have missed the people I worked with and the people I came into contact with, but more than that, I missed the laughter.

I should have suspected that I was in giggle withdrawals the day I was in the bathtub and noticed the nail on one of my big toes was longer than the other, then laughed about it.

But laughing at the sound of Rice Crispies may have been a little much.

For a person accustomed to hearing other people laugh and laughing with them, it just wasn’t the same.

Take it from a person who once had a stand-up comedy routine that won a big prize in a Breckenridge comedy club and ended up on the TV channel there, laughing alone isn’t nearly as much fun as hearing the laughter of others.

My big realization came when I was visiting The Valley Courier recently and heard two women laughing whole-heartedly about something that had happened in their day.

Then it hit me. After a number of years spent sharing at least one good laugh a day with someone else, I was in a vast wasteland, laughing to myself. That need was being met, no matter how it happened.

LOL (laughing out loud) on Facebook is okay, but I would like to hear laughter from the other side.

I feel sorry for the people who seem to view laughter as sinful and sit stoic while everyone else is laughing until tears flow. 

I guess it depends on what one is chuckling about, but I believe there is no shame in laughing when something is funny, even if it’s slightly, or even completely, “politically incorrect.”

Even the worst pun can draw a moan and then a laugh. When I thank someone for the laughter, it’s not being facetious. I am genuinely grateful.

Laughter is as inherent in human nature as playing, dreaming and even screaming. It feels good. We do it.

It’s one of the first things a baby does after crying and grunting. Baby laughter is contagious. It can cause a room full of people to begin following suit.

Until he or she is 100, a human being will continue to laugh. I love being around to hear it.

A Baha’i friend of mine once loaned me a book entitled, “God Loves Laughter.” I treasured it until I had to give it back.

The gist was that laughter is god-given and no one ought to be ashamed of it.

Now, some 30 years later, modern medicine has come up with the same concept. Research has proven that laughter is good for you.

I think it is. My grandfather lived to be 95 and laughed at one point every day. On the day he died, he made me laugh when he explained, with a wry grin and chuckle, that he had “tweaked” a chubby nurse’s aid in the hospital “to see if she was wearing padding.”

That memory still brings laughter. It’s genetic, I guess.

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