Your laugh life. Hmmm . . . how’s that going for you lately? Could your funny bone use an extra dose of calcium and comedy?
I get that. COVID has certainly squelched our giggles and dumped unwanted gloom everywhere we look. But fear not! Laughter and joy are still kickin’ it, we may just need to change the channel from WoesMe to Wahaaa Ha.
This week I gave a “Bend When Life Dares You to Break” presentation to a cancer support group. I loved hearing them chuckle at the slide of this laughing horse. For some of these cancer warriors, that merriment moment may have been their first laugh in a long time. Cancer is serious business, but so is laughter.
Did you know that humor stimulates the parts of our brain that use the “feel good” chemical messenger dopamine? That puts laughter in the category of pleasurable activities such as eating chocolate or lounging at the beach. (Why did I just hear the voice of Jackie Gleason booming, “How sweet it is?” Okay, so what if I’m over 29, er, 39. Oh, never mind.)
Growing up, I loved watching the antics of Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett. I adored their shows, “I Love Lucy” and “The Carol Burnett Show.” I have some Lucy and Carol comedy clips in my video and DVD collection and my friend Angie and I do our own rendition of Carol’s Eunice and Mama characters. The “Whoa, whoa, whoaaaaaaaaaaa FEELings” crooning by Eunice cracks me up just thinking about it.
My friend Jules does a mean Carol Burnett’s “Here pidgey, pidgey” imitation. . . . As the photo proves, I have created my own alter ego, named Zelda, who shrills with an annoying voice and sports sagging pantyhose.
To keep my heart light each day, I make sure I read the newspaper comics, before I dig into the often somber news of the day. If I see a comic that reminds me of a certain friend, I snap a photo of the comic and text it to the friend. My friend Laura is fabulous about sending me chortle-worthy online jokes, memes and videos. Friends help friends look at the bright side, especially on tough days.
I could credit Lucy, Carol (and Vicki Lawrence) for my goofy sense of humor and my love of laughter, but also my parents. Mom and Dad modeled their own lighthearted, kidding around selves—Mom was the outgoing “did you hear the one about?” gal and Dad shared a drier, quiet wit. My parents’ resiliency through their cancer journeys stems in a large part from their ability to keep lighthearted through the pain and limitations.
Author and humorist Mark Twain once declared, “The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” Noted American journalist Hugh Sidey adds to this: “A sense of humor . . . is needed armor. Joy in one’s heart and some laughter on one’s lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life.” Joy and laughter are a sign of “a pretty good grasp of life.” I love this!
Who are the people that just make YOU chuckle no matter how cruddy life gets? Which of your buddies can create a Eunice and Mama Moment out of the day’s disappointments and struggles? Who are the family, friends and co-workers that bring on a well-timed grin? Who will sit and laugh with you through reruns of “Friends, “The Office,” “The Goldbergs” or “The Big Bang Theory”? Thank them often.
At times the doom and gloom of our world can suffocate our snickers and snuff out our snorting. So let’s surround ourselves with people who are quick to laughter and slow to being an Eeeyore (By the way, I do a fantastic Eeeyore impression that keeps my friends amused. But “ohhhhh, noooooo” that’s a whole nudder story . . . ).
Proverbs 17:22 reminds us that “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” Who needs increased oesto issues? I mean, really.
Laughter IS good medicine. My elderly neighbor with dementia whoops it through “The Three Stooges” every time. Those goofballs bring out the guffaws in that grandma and get her smiling again.
So go on now and look for the people and situations that tickle your funny bone and give you a pretty good grasp of life. If you can’t think of someone, contact me and I’ll send Zelda over.