When life gets too big to handle, I like to break it down with laughter. Sometimes it’s totally inappropriate for the situation, but I can’t help it. It’s how I self-medicate. No booze, no drugs, just inappropriate humor.
I agree with Kurt Vonnegut who wrote:
Laughter and tears are both responses to frustration and exhaustion . . . I myself prefer to laugh, since there is less cleaning up to do afterward.
I believe that on the day we come crawling out of the womb (sorry, that description sounds like something from a Stephen King movie), we are capable of laughter. I love the photograph taken by Julie Hoffman of her daughter, Rose:
Rose is a laugh warrior, a light-bearer, a warrior of joy.
We actually have a choice, you know . . .
Crying and laughing both provide a release, much like the valve on a pressure cooker. But for me laughter is preferable. One reason I choose laughter is because crying makes me look like I just went a couple of rounds with Roy Jones Jr. And I get a headache that lasts for a minimum of four days.
But laughter makes my face flush in a glowy, happy kind of way. Here are a few other things that laughter does for each one of us:
This doesn’t mean you laugh at your own dad’s viewing, which I did . . . .
Many of you might want to consider where you choose to laugh. I, unfortunately, do not have the power to stop it. I make ridiculous jokes in elevators – spurred on by the awkwardness of close proximity, silence, and being in a box that could potentially malfunction and plummet us to our death or shoot us out the roof. I know the possibility of an elevator shooting out of the roof is true because I saw it on 20/20.
When my dad passed away many years ago, I joked around at his “viewing.” First of all, I think the juxtaposition of death and viewing is all wrong. I want to to “view” people at Thanksgiving, or at prom, or for dinner.
My favorite part of the experience was the presence of my dad’s brother, Uncle G.K. He had consumed some Grand Marnier since he has the social skills of J.D. Salinger in the dark years. In the receiving line, I heard a woman say, “Your brother was an amazing man.” My Uncle G.K. leaned forward with his Grand Marnier breath and said, “So I’ve heard.”
Awesome. Laughter ensued, and it made everything lighter.
Don’t get me wrong, I cry too . . .
Crying is important and shouldn’t be suppressed, but at some point continued crying isn’t healthy. We have to put what we cry about in perspective so that we can carry on and bring light to others.
Tears keep us introverted, but laughter takes our joy and shotguns it into the world like a thousand little lights.
And we need more light these days.