I plan to keep laughing. I love to laugh. Sometimes, I laugh during inappropriate moments. I cannot control my outbursts. A tickling sensation starts deep down in my belly. It flits around and touches everything inside of me like a fly at a picnic. Eventually, it becomes so consuming that it has to come out. I just keep laughing.
When I would babysit my young grandchildren, my four-year-old grandson Max, wondered why I laughed so much.
Do you have the sillies Mimi? Max checked in one morning at breakfast when I was having a conversation with a banana. Of course, the fruit was talking back in a funny voice.
Yes, I replied. And I kept laughing.
You need to just let the sillies out, Max wisely advised me.
Of course, toddlers laugh at just about anything related to bathroom functions. There are many options. Sound effects prompt an extra layer of laughter. And I have found that for even more fun, try hanging spaghetti out of your nose. A kid will keep laughing until his face turns red
A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs. It’s jolted by every pebble on the road.( Henry Ward Beecher)
Doctors say that laughter is healthy. Our internal organs are massaged as they jiggle around when we keep laughing. Humor is a good release. What starts out as a simple snicker, can build up to a hearty upper body laugh. Finally, it ends up in a full-out knee slapping hysterical moment.
I am not sure when we gain a sense of humor. It must be a developmental thing. From the very beginning, parents try and make their newborns smile and chortle. In an effort to get a reaction, moms and dads twist their faces in all directions and make weird sounds.
Max developed his own sophisticated sense of humor at a very early age. Let me share this little story and you will see what I mean:
In a hurry to complete her weekly grocery shopping on a Saturday morning, my daughter Samantha was quickly navigating the crowded aisles of the neighborhood grocery market. Max, her then 2 1/2 year-old son, was riding high in the seat of the cart while his infant sister, Charlotte, took her morning nap down below with a variety of produce arranged around her car seat. There had already been a few undesired items snagged from the shelves by Max’s quick hands. When the extra groceries were discovered, my daughter surreptitiously hid them on random shelves in subsequent aisles in order not to lose any momentum.
Time and patience were both running out as Samantha frantically darted down the aisles while focusing on the essentials on her list. Charlotte was starting to stir and Max was becoming more restless, reaching for anything at his eye level while chattering away.
Ah, paper towels, thought Sam, …the last thing that we need.
Wheeling around the corner to a congested outside aisle, she spotted the paper products at the far end of the pet food section. Making a strategic move to avoid any more unwanted treats, she swiftly circumvented the lazy morning shoppers who were casually picking out their pet’s favorite treats, deciding between canned products or bags of dried food. With herculean determination, she steered her crew down the middle of the pathway like an experienced racecar driver on the final lap.
Don’t make me eat cat food anymore! Max suddenly blurted out in his high pitched voice.
I don’t like cat food, mother! he announced while increasing the decibels for all ears to hear.
Confused, startled, and panicked, Samantha felt an urgency to escape and started jogging with her cart as additional curious sets of eyes followed her trek.
While proceeding full steam ahead, she attempted to process Max’s outburst in her jumbled mind.
What was he thinking? she wondered. We don’t even have a cat!
Trying to avoid further disapproving glares and struggling to even come up with an offer of an explanation to her onlookers for his unusual plea, she glanced down at Max who was smiling up at her with the widest, impish grin. There was a mischievous twinkle in his bright blue eyes. Overcome with embarrassment and unwilling to take the time to determine his motive, she raced to the nearest check-out counter, unloaded the packages around Charlotte’s head, and exited the store without making eye contact with any of the customers or staff.
That evening when Samantha phoned to tell me the story. She kept laughing. But, she was still perplexed by Max’s seemingly sophisticated sense of humor. I told her that indeed he is a clever little boy, and that maybe they should consider getting a pet…perhaps a dog since Max doesn’t like cat food!
I know we cannot exist in a state of euphoria all of the time. Life gets in the way. However, at least once every day we should try to have a light moment and invite the sillies to visit. I firmly believe that life is to be enjoyed. Some days we just have to work a little harder at it than others.
A well-developed sense of humor is the pole that adds balance to your steps as you walk the tightrope of life.(William Arthur Ward)
(originally posted under the title Don’t Stop Laughing on 8/21/12. Edits were made and pictures were added)