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A time to laugh

January 29th, 2004 · No Comments

I appreciated Fred’s post yesterday What’s so Funny, describing what he liked about M.A.S.H., Hawkeye in particular, and the power of laughter. Fred has a grandaughter the same age as my daughter, so it means something to me to hear him say:

If I had life to do over again, there would be more music and there would be more laughter in my life. The music I could make alone. The laughter– that is a more elusive fish. One can laugh alone, but the most satisfying humor is shared, and just as one finds only one or a few with whom he or she could spend a lifetime, it seems that finding another who shares the same way of coping with humor, of crisis management with laughter, of word play and wit– is just as rare.

Two people who laugh at the same thing are more likely, perhaps, to stay married than two who balance their checking account the same way. Humor involves the intellect (wit), the emotions (mirth) and the physiology (laughter) and so when two people laugh at the same thing, there is a deep connection that is beyond words and a bonding occurs, or the bond that was always there is uncovered.


The most laughter-filled time in my life was, paradoxically, while working in a Chronic Pain Program as a physical therapist. I would come home on Mondays, after our medical rounds, with permanent laugh lines etched in the corners of my mouth. While I’ll confess, some of our pitiful patients were easy targets, the more usual victims were the clinical psychologist, the nurse, the sociologist-director (who gave presentations on humor in medicine), the exercise physiologist, the PT or the DO medical director. We were all such exaggerated characters in our own right, working in a stressful situation where terrible things had happened to the people in our charge– not unlike Hawkeye and Hotlips and Radar in the heat of battle and bloody operating rooms. Lordy, it felt good to laugh.

Today I thought about this post. And I noticed how often we laugh as a family. While driving around to buy groceries. Saying silly things while eating lunch. Giggling after dinner while Daddy teaches the girls what a “bear trap” is.

When a friend heard that Ted and I were dating, years ago, she said that we were “too serious. Your home will be like a funeral parlor!” So Ted and I would joke that if this woman would come visit our home, she’d make little black dresses for her daughters to wear at our funeral home. Now this never did happen. But it was worth a good laugh or two for us.

We do tend to be too serious. Having children has helped us a lot. We’ve had to learn to laugh more. There’s only so many dirty diapers you can change in the middle of the night before you gotta find something amusing in it all. And the girls now that they can babble and chat, enjoy being silly with us. Sometimes they’re not even trying to be funny but Ted and I have to laugh anyway. We are all laughing more and more, the more of us there are in this family… and the more years Ted and I have together.

Tags: journal