Smile, Laugh and do the Naked Polka

Oh, you know who they are. The stoic, rigid, turtle mouthed people who take life so seriously. They would die a thousand deaths if they let their hair down and smiled, laughed or heaven forbid did the naked polka. Not me…I can’t fit into that kind of a mold. I smile everyday, laugh too many times to count and have been known to frolic Au natural while my wife rolls over in hysterics at my boyish antics. Is this behavior too silly for a man of my age? Why, would it be is my answer? Did anyone get hurt? Perhaps there’s been some visual harm, but other than that it is a continuation of my repertoire surrounding a comedic life.

From the time I was a small child, I have always cracked jokes. An air of levity is good for the soul and heart. Amusing people feeds my very being. Heck, even my dogs get in on the act when they know we are merely fooling around. Apparently animals are not immune from playfulness either and they too enjoy a good time. Pay close attention to the zany actions of monkeys and you’ll soon realize where the phrases, “Monkey business,” or don’t “Monkey around” comes from.

We've all been around them. They are the matriarchs, wardens and joke police who show up at most parties and gatherings. They hang with one or two like-minded individuals and are unapproachable. Their body language alone speaks volumes, with postures erect, faces frozen with a perpetual frown and the dreaded turtle mouth. Their whispered conversations take place in monotones, as sober eyes scan the crowd in judgmental disapproval of the whimsical demeanor other guests display while making a spectacle of themselves. Without speaking a word, you can still hear them saying “Dear God, why don’t they grow up?”

Yes, we do live in a serious world. There are murders, riots, wars, terminal illnesses, chronic physical and mental pains, poverty, hunger and a myriad of occurrences which could lull almost anyone into an eternal state of depression…but that is life. Life isn’t always fair, and it isn’t always doom and gloom, and it isn’t always sheer elation. Life is what we make of it. The path of life I choose is the one that plants a grin on a sad kisser. My favorite saying is, “Turn that frown upside down.” Remember, smiling is good for your facial muscles. I had a New England snob tell me once, “Oh Dennis, you think everything is a joke.” My immediate and reactionary retort was, “Well Cheryl, I would rather laugh than cry,” at which point Ms. Stoic turned and stormed away. That’s the philosophy I subscribe to and I know, no matter what, it will never change.

Critics, naysayers, psychologists, and psychiatrists will all point out that humor is a form of covering up some deep-seated psychological trauma, abuses or loss. My answer is swift and contrite…so what? Who cares if a comedienne uses laughter and jokes to mask a certain pain? Is it any skin off of your nose? Believe me, I know loss. I have experienced deaths of loved ones, physical and mental abuses, financial crisis, chronic illness, lost relationships, and broken hearts and on and on the list goes. My point is we all have choices. For me, I would rather rejoice in the beauty of life and honor it by making 9 out of 10 jovial, than dishonor my existence by playing to the gloomy Gus’ of the world.

The first date my wife and I went on was to an A & W Root Beer/Carhop stand. For those who aren’t from the States, A & W restaurants have the best root beer floats and super Papa, Mama and Junior hamburgers going. Plus, curbside service is nostalgic. She may not appreciate me writing this, but on our very first date and listening to one of my stories, Cathy (my wife’s name) literally had a urinary incontinent moment coming home in the car…cloth seats and all. So now I knew because, after all, knowledge is powerful and I was acutely aware of Cathy’s love for hamburgers. It was a hot summer day when I telephoned her home (she still lived with her mother) and invited her up for a cookout of grilled hamburgers. I can still hear the girlish giggle as she eagerly replied, “Yes, I’ll be right up.” My driveway was secluded on the top of a hill. The summer day was hot and humid as I stood to face the driveway in a pink flowered apron, spatula in hand. I asked, “How do you like your burgers?” as Cathy exited her car. She replied, “Well done please.” “No problem” I answered, turning around revealing my bare butt. The burgers burned and we haven’t been apart since.

My wife is half Slovak so it is a ritual of sorts that on Sunday mornings we religiously listen to the Polish music show on our local radio station. I am a nut and I admit it freely. I will wear underwear on my head, make faces, adorn myself in nonsensical attire and never do I take myself too seriously. First I will laugh at myself and then I will laugh with…not at…others. Oh…another thing…when the Polish music is playing, I exit the shower performing none other than the “Naked Polka.” It is so freeing, emotionally and spiritually.

My advice to those who have a facade of seriousness as their aura is to simply relax, have fun, smile broadly and by all means at least try doing the naked polka! We all need less rigidity and more flexibility on this planet and when I die; I know full well people will be saying, “Boy did Dennis make me laugh!” To me, I think that is a great epitaph!



Smiling brings out the kid in us
Smiling brings out the kid in us | Source
The King and Queen
The King and Queen | Source

The Beer Barrel Polka

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Comments 36 comments

Jessica 4 years ago

I am with you, Dennis! Laughter is the best medicine. I find a reason to smile every day. Of course I use sarcasm and humor at times to mask the pain, but who doesn't? I think there is so much negativity in this world, and so much pain, we should all take some time to put something light, positive, and wonderful into the air. Great piece!


Brandon Vaughan 4 years ago

I have been accused of using humor to mask my pain. After my closest friend was killed in 2005--and after a mourning period--my friends and I began asking "Have you heard from Mike lately?" and answering "Man, that guy never returns my calls." Morbid? Perhaps, but we needed humor as levity. Some people find it inappropriate, while others may frown upon any catharsis not tethered to an absolute absence of laughter. I don't know. I have always been the guy willing to do nearly anything for a guffaw. Laughter is healing, and when my antics breed laughter in others, I truly feel it is win-win.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thanks Jessica for your reply. Like anything, there are times to laugh and times to cry, but I like the laughing part of life much better. A smile is the magic key to the wonderful magic kingdom...so keep smiling. That was a catch phrase to a kid's show on local TV when I was a child and I never forgot it.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thank you Brandon for your thoughtful and timely response. Humor is an icebreaker of sorts. It lightens our load of seriousness. My professional career involved being in charge of homicides, suicides and accidental deaths in the insurance industry. Needless to say, I have seen too many autopsies to count and viewed bodies more horrific than anything shown on the big screen. Humor is a coping mechanism and if used appropriately will ease a person's burden.Smile and the world smiles with you is my mantra. Thanks again.


picadilly 4 years ago

We would be great neighbors for my antics are so similar in style to yours. The kids and dogs flock to my house...I think they figured out at an early stage of our relationships that I am never to busy to play!Dennis this was an awesome piece...I love the idea of the "Naked Polka" dance! BTW I am so Polish...so this is right up my dupa! xox


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 4 years ago

Dennis - you and I both know that these people are far better than we can ever aspire to be. They are the deep thinkers - on planes they understand we mere mortals cannot begin to comprehend. They watch with disgust, disdain,and total disrespect as we - the brainless - scurry about nekkid, cracking jokes, and generally making light of life and it's issues. They never realize how narrow their scopes are because they are too busy judging others! They will die with only frown lines to boast of! We will be wrinkled like prunes! LOVED this, D! Gotta love a guy who can laugh at life while at the same time understand how beautiful it is - and how to never waste it! Kindred spirits...upupandaway! Ps. Pris - i've got a little polish in me, or...have had a little polish in me me...lol..can't recall which..haha


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ ImKarn23 Nothing like a good seasoned kielbasa to free ones spirit. LOL Actually, just today I had a woman who lives in Florida respond to this article on FB and she remembers me fooling around in elementary school, up in the suburbs north of Syracuse, NY. So, like I mentioned, I've always been joking, laughing,smiling and generally just finding the joy in life and events around me. I love spontaneity and detest things that are rigid and set in stone. Even at my age I'm still a rebel and most likely will be until the final curtain call. I especially am glad to have found 2 kindred spirits in you and Ms. P. How lucky is that?


ImKarn23 profile image

ImKarn23 4 years ago

@pagesvoice: LOL - hon - seasoned or unseasoned - at my age, beggars can't be choosers. (and too much spice gives us old folk indigestion) LOL yes, i see you, me, and Ms.P - as the musketeers 3!


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

And to our naysayers we exclaim, "en guarde," - prepare thyself. Touche'


Shinkicker profile image

Shinkicker 4 years ago from Scotland

Anyone who can wear a pink flowery apron in public 'a fesse a l'air" must have a sense of humour.

That should be my motto from now on 'Smile, Laugh and do the naked polka'

Entertaining Hub Dennis LOL (There you go!!! Ya got me laughing too)

You remind me of this legend who passed away this week.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80zDslFy0Fg


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@Shinkicker I appreciate you taking time to read and comment on my story. I enjoyed the video of Frank...who was truly a gifted comedian. In my humble opinion, life leaves us with plenty of time to cry and far less time to laugh. I use humor in every aspect of my day. While at the store I go for the reactionary glance on the cashiers face when I ask, "Oh please don't make the bags too heavy...I feel so bad watching my wife struggle carrying them into the house." First they look at my wife for her expression and then at me and most times they start to giggle. Some of course just think I'm some old jerk. Either way I'm laughing.


theatrekris 4 years ago

Are we masking a pain? Or are we dealing with it? I say anything that feels as good as laughter is a gift that is welcomed in my home at any time (including the inappropriate giggle-snort, you know what I mean). Enjoyed your article very much! Thank you.


itakins profile image

itakins 4 years ago from Irl

This is brilliant and hilarious - oh I know a few people who could do with observing, or doing, a good old naked polka.Great read -thoroughly enjoyed:)


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

itakin...Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting on my fun article. It was a joy to write because it is a true look into my life and the philosophy I live by. I just can't figure out why some people find it so hard to let their hair down and enjoy a good joke and laugh. They are missing so much and that is sad.


WookieWonderfuls profile image

WookieWonderfuls 4 years ago from London, UK

I am one that isn't masking pain :) sure iv had enough but hey that was then and this is now, iv always been of the 'humorous' variety. I just can't help it :P

It is interesting that the jokes i cracked at my old job, I was the only one that could get away with it :D

I have been accused of messing around to much but i like it :P I always know when i need to be serious and switch into serious mode accordingly. The rest of the time....naked polka it shall be! My fiancé went to McDonalds just wearing a vest and some CK man pants once and walked our Widget [yorkie] wearing baby grow cat suits that had ears and a tail!

Love to laugh! Thank you for this hub :D


Ginger Ruffles 4 years ago

Great blog Dennis! Thanks for the chuckle, upbeat message and the stroll down memory lane. Don't ever hear about the polka much anymore living here in the south but being I grew up in "which way EJ" land you know it brings back many fond memories.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

Thanks so much Ginger for the comment. On Saturday mornings we listen to "The Don Giovanni Show" which is all Italian music. Then comes Sunday morning on 1290 WNBF AM and it is the "Barb Mack Show." Barb took over the Polish show once her dad passed away. We laugh so much at how silly some of the songs are, but they all bring back great memories.

By email I am sending you a link to a song I brought down to NC to play (Barb plays it probably 3 times per month) and it was not received too well down there. All I did was laugh my fool head off. I hope you enjoy it.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

To Ginger: I thought I could do an email to you, but I guess I can't. Anyway, here is the link to "That's What I Like About the North." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti08qBvlNpU I hope you enjoy it.


Ginger Ruffles 4 years ago

Hilarious! Yes, most social functions had live polka music then and on AM radio that's all there was to choose from and lot's of folks/businesses had their dial's set there. Being young of course I rolled my eyes a whole bunch but it always added a lot of energy and good times to the mix.


tammyswallow profile image

tammyswallow 4 years ago from North Carolina

Wow Pagesvoice. We have a lot in common. When I was very young I got married to a future crumudgeon. The older he got, the crankier he became. I am a practicle joker and love to laugh and have a good time. One evening when he fell asleep I drew happy faces on the pads of his toes. He actually thought that was grounds for divorce. Ok, I did use a marker, but uptight people don't usually get along with nutty people. Great hub!


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@tammyswallow...Thanks for popping in and I love your sense of humor. Hey, life is too short and with each passing day it gets shorter and shorter.I tell people "don't sweat the small stuff, because when you're on your deathbed it is all small stuff." As crazy and disgusting as it may be (ha, ha, ha) I really do the Sunday morning naked polka. Aah, life can and should be filled with smiles and laughter.


Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

Hahaha... You are hilarious pagesvoice. I love your humor and I enjoyed reading your hub. I don´t like people who are always frowning without reason. Life is too short to be too serious. Just as what you said, life is what we make it. I tried to laugh about me and anything. When there´s nothing to laugh about I look at the comedy videos in you tube. Thanks for sharing.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ Thelma Alberts - Thank you for reading and commenting on my story. My wife tells anyone who will listen that she wakes up laughing at me everyday. In that case, I guess I am doing a good job.


T4an profile image

T4an 4 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

I loved this! Thank you for sharing Dennis. I need to read more happy blogs like this. Life is too serious most of the time. Great wait to start the morning.


Trinity M profile image

Trinity M 4 years ago

Oh lovely, lovely, lovely! I love to laugh and this hub certainly made my (and my husband’s) day! I have a husband who has been known to do the Naked Tango (not Polka I’m afraid) and we make a point of laughing for at least an hour a day! Thanks for the laugh and a great hub. Oh and Cathy sounds like a great lady… she bagged herself a keeper! :))


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@T4ab...It was a nice surprise to see someone new stop in and comment on my story. I'm glad I jump started your day with a laugh or giggle. When I was younger I took too many things seriously, but as I've grown older I firmly believe that laughter is the best medicine.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ Trinity M...I appreciate the time you took out of your day to read and comment on my silly article. Your husband sounds like my kind of person. Doing the naked Tango? Now that is a dance I haven't tried. I tell people that I laugh more at myself than I do anyone else and that is what works best for me.


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ Trinity M...I appreciate the time you took out of your day to read and comment on my silly article. Your husband sounds like my kind of person. Doing the naked Tango? Now that is a dance I haven't tried. I tell people that I laugh more at myself than I do anyone else and that is what works best for me.


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

'Laugh and the world laughs with you' it's wonderful medicine!

What a fabulous read, I loved the story of your bare butt!

Voting up and thank you:-)


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 4 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ Movie Master...Thanks for the vote up and I'm glad I was able to entertain you. People need to laugh more and unwind and find enjoyment in things that are free and at our disposal. My wife says she wakes up laughing every morning and if I can continue to pull that off then I have succeeded in maintaining a level of insanity that we both relish in.


hawaiianodysseus profile image

hawaiianodysseus 3 years ago from Southeast Washington state

Dennis, I love your very real and humorous voice, even and especially in the "serious" hubs when, in between the lines, your humor is spilling out in subtle ways...reminiscent of the eternal kid in you. You're the writer imp who keeps our generation greased when the abundant life stressors conspire to make our bones creak. Thanks for sharing this very, very funny hub! I've voted it up and across, tweeted to all the birds on the telephone line, and shared it with all my followers! Don't want no turtle-mouthed company this morning!


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 3 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@ hawaiinodysseus - Reading your reply this morning was a great way to jump start my day. You see, I literally did jump out of bed at 4:00 A.M. because of a charlie horse. Aah, those well earned aches and pains have slowly stalked my body and each hit now is felt just a tad more than the previous ones. However, my philosophy remains intact and it goes like this: "Any day above ground is a good day!"

Remember too, "A smile is the key to the wonderful magic kingdom of life...so keep smiling."


Linda Seccaspina profile image

Linda Seccaspina 3 years ago from Carleton Place, Ontario

I will never understand why some take life so serious. You know what?

it is their loss... may we live to love and laugh


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 3 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

@Linda Seccaspina - I believe we are both on the same page (no pun intended) in not taking life too seriously. I avoid negative people like the plague. Life is too short and tomorrow is guaranteed to no one.


peachpurple profile image

peachpurple 19 months ago from Home Sweet Home

you wear underwear on your head? You gotta be a hilarious hubby


pagesvoice profile image

pagesvoice 19 months ago from New York/Pennsylvania border Author

As the saying goes, "A happy wife is a happy life." My wife tells people she wakes up laughing and goes to bed laughing. Yes, I will put underwear on my head simply to act silly. I rarely take myself too serious.

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