I claim a few basic beliefs. I believe in love, perseverance, and personal strength through relationships. I believe in memories and in karma. I believe in music, compassion, and empathy. But mostly I believe in the power and value of laughter; the more painful and debilitating the laugh, the better. Striking sadness, awe, loss, illness, and awareness of world misery affect me too. Sign me up for the clichés of humor: to die laughing, having the last laugh, laughter is the best medicine, and a side-splitting belly laugh. If you are infected with the acute illness of laughing for no apparent reason, I want to be infected too. I love to laugh. When I hear a good joke, it’s hard for me to retell it because I laugh so hard in the process. I want to be embarrassed and need to leave because I’m overcome by laughter. I want to laugh at everything. When seeing and hearing the laughter of others, especially children, I want to laugh without knowing why.
I’ve learned to manage some difficult or embarrassing times in my life by viewing them as though watching a TV Sitcom. Often, if what I’m dealing with was happening to George Costanza, I’d be laughing. Laughing at my circumstances was not always easy or achievable, but it helped. My favorite TV shows are Sitcoms. I look for romantic comedy in movies. I read humor. And I know that I am not alone.
My observation of life and personal experience has taught me that laughter is important. I can feel the benefit of my own laughter and I can see how it helps others. I believe laughing is physically, mentally, and spiritually beneficial. It’s healthy. My goofy, snorting laugh may trigger others to laugh or it may annoy them. Either way, I am not talking about the embarrassingly polite giggle, which is apologized for too-often. I want the Texas-sized, hee-haw that can blast a soft out both nostrils for ten feet. I want the kind where I hold one hand up in protest while the other tries to relieve the pain in my side. Laughing has turned my face shades of red and purple while tears flooded out of my eyes to cover my face. I am a true believer.
A question I like to ask is, “What do you want?” Answers vary, but mine is, “I want happiness.” Looking back on life, it is difficult to recall happy times with no laughter. It makes me feel good. Laughter is a natural high like no other. It’s free. We can’t over-dose. I thank all kinds of humor for making me laugh. Many things are funny, some are not. But I laugh anyway.
If you think unfiltered laughter is nonsense, I defer to Ron Dahl who said, “A little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men”. Or better yet, to Dr. Seuss, “I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.”
Because my clock is ticking too quickly and sometimes I take myself too seriously, I need the rush of endorphins of a full-throttle laugh as often as possible. People who laugh are happy. And happy people live longer, richer lives. So the next time there’s an opportunity to laugh, I will delight in the maximum amount.
I agree with Oscar Wilde, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.”
I choose to laugh while I can.