Saturday, February 15, 2020

Laughing

I love to hear a big, unrestricted, peeling laugh.  A laugh that gives fully to the moment.  Those laughs usually sound like rapid-fire jackhammer bursts.  There's nothing you can do to disguise your out-and-out happiness or you child-like appreciation of that moment that made you laugh.  These can be accompanied by various bent over movements, head thrown back, eyes widened.

When was the last time you had a belly laugh?  Have you ever laughed so hard you had to hit someone? Have you ever laughed so hard you actually fell down on the floor?  I did, once, in a movie theater, when I saw Putney Swope, years ago, laughing so unrestrainedly I tumbled onto the theater aisle.  God, what a wonderful moment.

Robin Williams had a laugh like that.  You didn't hear it that often, because he was so busy making other people laugh, but if you go on YouTube and find places where he was with Jonathan Winters, you can hear it.  It'll make you laugh, or at least smile. Jennifer Lawrence has a great laugh.


We learn a lot from the way a person laughs.  In fact, of all the signals we get from people we don't know that well, their laugh may be the most telling. It's amazing to me how many laughs are mirthless.  Those people who can't give themselves away, who laugh moderately, with restraint, without any theater, without any passion and release, are to be wary of, I think.

To let go with a big, uninhibited, raucous belly laugh takes not caring.  You are so obviously a delighted mess.  So obviously you.  Nothing you wear, nothing you've done, nobody you know--nothing can protect you from the Woody Woodpecker, crazy happy noise that comes out of your mouth.  I am a passenger on that ship of restraint from time to time, and I so regret it.  Because laughing feels so damn great.

Of course, if you want to tap the source of genuine soul-satisfying laughter, if you want to learn how to really laugh again, listen to children. Especially to babies.  Yes, babies.  Because when you make a baby laugh, the sound is 100% pure undiluted joy. It's better than vitamins.


7 comments:

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  2. The last time I laughed like that was two days ago when my colleague Les White was describing a departmental meeting during which the chair was going over the mind-numbing details of the new institutional effectiveness plan and its implementation. At the end of the presentation, Les looked up at the speaker and in his wonderful Arkansas drawl asked, "so let me get this straight: what I need to do is put three new ideas into a student's head and then weigh his head?"

    I'm not sure what funny bone this quip touched, but I laughed so hard my ribs ached for an hour.

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    1. Yes, that IS funny, and, like you, I'm not sure why.

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  3. TRIGGERS THE RELEASE OF ENDORPHINS

    Endorphins are the body’s natural painkillers. By laughing, you can release endorphins, which can help ease chronic pain and make you feel good all over.

    Yesssssss!

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  4. This makes me think of all the laughter you and I have shared.

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    1. It does! And I miss it! And you. I hope your class fills.

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