For Laughing Out Loud
by Kathy Batesel
Laughter is Great Preventative Medicine
When was the last time you laughed uncontrollably? What was it that struck your funny bone?
While working as a drug and alcohol counselor, I had an "Aha!" moment about relationships that has stuck with me ever since. You see, most of my patients had problem relationships (as opposed to relationship problems) that they discussed with me. I often asked, "What is the glue that holds your relationship together?"
I discovered that there was a tremendous difference between what keeps a relationship intact and what makes a relationship terrific. People in bad relationships cited many reasons they stayed - kids, finances, and fear were the most frequent answers, followed closely by guilt or great sex. Yet when asked what their ideal partner is like, nearly everyone says that their perfect mate would have a good sense of humor.
I also discovered that when people are unhappy, they can't answer the question "What do you do for fun?"
So today I'm going to write about fun and laughter as I share some fun, funny moments that have the ability to make me smile years later and hope you'll share a favorite of your own. I hope you enjoy them and come back whenever you need a mood lift.
What do you think is the single most important ingredient for keeping relationships good?See results without voting
Get to Laughing!
Warning: Laughter is contagious. It can cause shortness of breath, pains in the stomach, aching jaws. More serious side effects, such as being unable to concentrate, urinary incontinence (also known as peeing your pants), and spewing copious amounts of liquid from the nose or mouth have also been noted. Do not partake in laughter while attempting to swallow food or liquid.
Take your laughter medication on a regular basis to boost your immune system, decrease pain and stress, improve your mood, ease anxiety, and prevent heart disease.
Consider this video a free sample of how laughter goes to work immediately in your life to improve the way you feel and how others react to you.
Laughter is Contagious: 54 Million Views and Counting
Your Last Laugh
When was the last time you laughed uncontrollably?See results without voting
I like a good joke, but it seems to me the most hilarious moments are unexpected and unplanned. Misused words can be a wonderful source of unprovoked laughter.
I got a kick out of it when my oldest daughter was five and said that when she grew up, she was going to be a crayon maker. "Or maybe I'll just be a money maker," she added.
"I sure hope so!" I told her. It was cute, so I was interested in hearing what my other daughter wanted when she declared that she knew what she wanted to be when she grew up.
Imagine my surprise when she proudly announced, "I'm going to be a homicidal detective!"
The toddler years are especially prone to inappropriate words. How many parents remember a time that their child embarrassed them by saying the wrong thing at the wrong moment? Like most of these parents, I was the one who taught them what they shouldn't say.
You see, I had a bad habit of saying, "G*dammit" at the slightest frustrations - a habit I'd learned from my own father. I became acutely aware of my language when my two-year old started prancing about the house singing, "G*dammit" over and over again. I vowed to watch my language in front of her, but I needed to do something now!
I sat down with her and said, "J., that's a mommy word. You can say that when you're a mommy, but you can't say that word if you're not a mommy. You have a special word. Your word is 'gosh darn it.'" Great kid that she was, she accepted my guidance without question, now going around the house chanting "gosh darn it."
That is, until the day my car broke down and I was running late for work. True to my pledge, I muttered, "Gosh darn it!"
"Mommy, that's my word! Your word is G*dammit." Sigh...
What's Becoming Obsolete?Click thumbnail to view full-size
Laughter will never be obsolete, but the idea of functional obsolescense is normally a serious matter. In my real estate career, for example, functional obsolescense refers to something that was once usable but because times have changed, it is now obsolete, like a hot-oil heating system when forced air systems are the only whole-house units available these days.
Vinyl records are another example of something that is now functionally obsolete. I was thrilled when I had a chance to record my record albums onto cassettes because it had become darn near impossible to buy a simple turntable. (I know, cassettes also are obsolete these days!) Anyway, I'd looked for a record player in local stores so I could play the music I loved, but had been disappointed. They were too expensive and hard to find. When a friend gave me the opportunity to use his, I eagerly got to work putting the music onto tapes I could play in my car.
I had just finished one tape and preparing to put a new album on when my daughter called me from the next room. LP in hand, I went to see what she needed. When she saw me, her eyes bulged. "Mom! Where did you get that giant CD?" I briefly explained what it was and asked what she needed. She couldn't remember. She was far too fascinated with mom's mutant compact disc.
Chuckle at these Misheard Lyrics
Have you ever laughed at misheard lyrics?
My little homicidal detective was a master of misinterpretations. Always an animal lover, she was learning about furry critters from the time she could talk. My practical little pet maestro kept me informed about things like dogs hearing much better than humans and living seven years' equivalent of their lives in the same time as humans lived one.
At an outdoor Independence Day party, she was doing what she always did - looking out for critters that hide in the grass and trees. She was nearly breathless when she ran up to me. She held her hands about eight inches apart and announced, "Mom! I saw a beetle that was THIS big!"
Suddenly her whole demeanor deflated. She dropped her hand and instead showed me her finger and thumb held about two inches apart. "Oh, but I in a bug's life it was probably only this big."
Willing Suspension of Disbelief
It seems to me the very funniest moments are those when skepticism flies out the window and wholehearted belief takes its place. This willing suspension of disbelief makes for hilarious moments that will be repeated year after year, much to the victim's smiling shame!
Remember when television programs carried little tags that said "CC" or "ESP" for closed captioning or Spanish (español) versions of popular shows? I have no idea what sitcom it was, but I will never forget my teen pointing at the "ESP" tag and asking, "They can do that now? How?" She was thinking of the other meaning for that abbreviation: Extra-sensory perception. Yes, dear, you can now receive your favorite shows telepathically!
This was the same daughter who maintained her cynicism as she, her younger sisters, and I drove south along Interstate 95 in Georgia. As the road carried us through swampy terrain, I pointed out some grassy plants that had tiny white flowers budding on them. "See those?" I asked. "Those are mallow plants. It's what they make marshmallows from."
The younger kids were utterly fascinated, but my oldest was positive I was trying to pull a fast one. "No, really!" I insisted, "They harvest them, mash them up, and mix them with sugar and water and a couple other things to make the stuff you put in hot chocolate." Yeah, she never did believe me.
In fact, months later, we found ourselves passing through the area again, but this time it was just the two of us. I thought it'd be fun to remind her of how her sisters had been fooled and she'd been too smart to get duped. I pointed toward the swamp and said, "There are those mallow plants."
She said, "Really? The ones they make marshmallows from?" I just about peed my pants from laughing so hard, but in the end, I discovered the joke was on me. Sort of. Turns out there really is such a thing as marsh mallow plants! (No, they don't wind up in hot chocolate!)
Ah, yes... willing suspension of disbelief is a fun phenomenon! In fact, I like it so much I'll tell you just one more story that might make you smile. This one also happened on a long drive.
My boyfriend, his son and daughter, and my three girls and I packed into his Blazer for a trip to St. Louis. The kids, all between the ages of five and ten, were quite avid about trying to outdo each other in the back seat, each one claiming to see something further than the last object that had been spotted. I didn't want to spoil their fun, but they were getting so loud!
"Hey!" I interrupted. "I bet you I can see the farthest of anyone, because I haven't heard any of you spot that red balloon out there!" I pointed to a distant spot on the horizon, which of course didn't have any balloon at all but was going to grant me a few minutes of quiet while they searched, hopefully.
"Where?" "What red balloon?" "There's not a balloon!" Their voices merged into a typical kiddie cacaphony.
"Yes, there is. It's out there way past that bridge. Don't worry, you'll see it pretty soon. You just can't see it yet because you can't see as far as I can."
Sure enough, silence... whispers.... and then... "THERE IT IS!"
"Where?" "I don't see it!" "Nunh-uh!"
Then another outburst. "Oh, yeah! I see it too!" Within seconds, all of them claimed to see the non-existent balloon, and I couldn't hold back any more. I started cracking up.
"I made it up, you guys! There's no red balloon!"
"Yeah, mom, there is!"
I maintained my not-so-innocence as I gasped out, "No, really, I made it up. There was no red balloon" between bursts of laughter.
Finally, the oldest two set me straight.
"Well, it was there. I saw it," announced the young man.
Then my daughter piped in, "I saw it too, Mom. Maybe you just can't see as far as we can."
Just for Fun
I'd love to hear your funny stories about things that make you smile today even though they happened long ago. Please leave a comment with your favorite anecdote!
And if you got a chuckle out of reading this, please pass it along, because smiles and laughter truly are the bonds that keep our relationships fun.
More by this Author
What parents need to know about teenage drug and alcohol abuse: How to recognize if their child is using, and what to do about it.
If child custody interference or parental kidnapping have kept your child from you, these tips will help you get your child back into your life. Additional reading on Parental Alienation included.
Is he interested or just being friendly? Is he losing interest? Does he see a future with you? Learn these indicators of interest so you can focus on the man who wants you and keep him interested now and later.