Laughter is great medicine…


Jack & Grammy enjoying some laughter a few years ago.
Jack & Grammy enjoying some laughter a few years ago.

Three months ago or so when the weather in Minnesota was still friendly for walking outside – no ice, warm – I was passing by a house in my neighborhood and heard laughter through the open window.  This was adult laughter, not child laughter…though who can resist the giggling of children.  It was such a delightful sound of someone enjoying a moment that lovely fall morning that it inspired me to write a blog about laughter.  Obviously, I never got around to writing the post at that time, but the inspiration has not left me so I will expound on the subject today.

Current day magazine articles include laughter when listing all things a person can employ to live a healthy life.   I’m sure there is some scientific reason for this – release of endorphins or somesuch.   I don’t really care about the science of why this is a good thing, I just think it is a nice idea.

Since I am not one that quickly does laugh out loud, I was struck by how wonderful it was to hear the sound of laughter that day on my walk.  I decided, I have to find ways to see the humor in life and enjoy a laugh more frequently.

Here are some things that make me laugh; I’m hoping you might add to the list.

  • telling or hearing a good joke – the cornier, the better
  • witnessing others laughing out loud – especially babies
  • watching the crazy home videos aired on America’s Funniest Home Videos or whatever that program is called on TV; true, many show unfortunate happenings that may even have caused injury to someone, but they are funny
  • recounting stories of embarrassing moments – either my own or someone else’s
  • sharing the details of a random dream – in my case, they usually are very silly
  •  making a comment or doing something that causes levity in a serious situation

I have a good story about how levity can be a release in stressful or sad situations.  My mother passed away many, many years ago (that’s not the funny part).  As my family and I sat around the dining room table going through sympathy cards that we had received, I opened an envelope that contained a birthday card.  It provided some levity that day – we had a good laugh considering how embarrassed the sender was going to be when she realized she had sent us a birthday card and someone celebrating a birthday, a sympathy card.  (For the record, we never divulged the mistake.)

I am generally not a joke teller; my spouse, on the other hand, does like to tell funny stories.  One of my very favorites that still makes me laugh out loud follows:

While visiting a friend, Roy politely removes his brand new shoes at the door of his friend’s home.  One of the many cats the friend owns finds the shoes and proceeds to chew them up.  Roy is very upset.  The friend feels very badly, but isn’t sure which of his pets has done the damage.  Just then, one of the cats enters the room.  Roy’s friend says, “Pardon me, Roy, is that the cat that chewed your new shoes?”

Now, as RC says, I hate it when I have to explain a joke, but in case you don’t get the joke above, think of the Chattanooga Choo-Choo song from the 1940s.  Yes, it precedes most of us, but you may still have heard of it.  If not, I have left you clueless, I’m sure.  Any of you that have known my husband for many years likely have heard that joke told by him somewhere along the way.

Anyhow, that punch line can still make me laugh out loud just thinking of it – sooooo corny!

I hope you all find cause to laugh out loud every day.  In all the seriousness facing us in the world, we do need to lighten up once in awhile.  Laughter is great medicine!


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