Yes, that is my precious family losing it after my daughter made a totally inappropriate joke about one of my body parts. But man, did the laughter feel good.
After watching the world grieve the loss of both Robin Williams and Joan Rivers, can we ever underestimate the power of laughter?
And yet, there are those who are on the hunt to kill the laughter.
One of my laughter-kill experiences occurred at the beginning of my first real corporate job. I was a training assistant in a bank, and most of my time was spent typing (yes, on a typewriter) a manual that gave instructions for how to sign up for the training courses offered, which were riveting topics like:
That motivation class made you want to stab yourself with your pencil, and every one of the classes had snazzy beginnings like an overhead slide filled with objectives. I believe our main objective must have been to put the folks in the U-shaped table to sleep.
What, you can’t laugh here?
Since my three jobs prior to this one included bartender, radio disc jockey and magazine copywriter, I had this weird belief that I could still have fun at work. Crazy, I know. So, about once a day I would stop by somebody’s office on the way to the restroom and share a joke or two. I was no Henny Youngman, nor did I bug people constantly, but I needed to wake the dead. The serious silence was deafening.
One day, the training director asked me to tell him a funny story. So, I did, and he laughed out loud. I think the noise might have actually startled him. After that, he asked me to come into his office once a day to tell him a funny story.
On the third day of this ritual, I was in the middle of setting up a story when my very tall manager came into the room like she was the American forces rescuing this man from my assault. She told me I had work to do and I needed to get back to my desk.
As I left, I heard her sit down and say, “I have a joke for you.” Later, she pulled me aside and put me on warning for being too loud. She said if I wanted to move up in corporate America, I needed to be more professional and laugh less.
And, because I was in my mid-twenties and still believed that all managers had my best interest at heart, I did exactly what she said. And it was sad.
Don’t Let ‘Em Take Your Laughter . . .
Laughter is power. The ability to make others laugh? Priceless. Watch this old clip from Joan Rivers, and observe a woman who understood the fact that laughter is both powerful and a wonderful way to bring people together.
Not all of us are funny, but all of us can laugh. We can do it inspite of the grouchy people.
Sometime soon, I want you to find a spot away from the grouchy people and watch this clip.
Because I want you to draw daily from the powerful pool of laughter – and I want you to laugh loud and long and clear.