There has never been a day in my life when I haven’t laughed.
Even on the really bad days, there’s always been something humorous to find. And I enjoy the search as much as I do the destination.
And, as I love the laughing, it doesn’t really take that much to get me going. Great jokes, cheesy puns, offhand comments…they all tickle me. I’ve mentioned that I’m one of those (I refuse to believe I’m the only one) weird people who occasionally likes to hear the dialogue of a book out loud. On more than one occasion, a line from a book has struck me as so amusing that I can’t actually say it because every time I try, I laugh too hard.
Then there are people in my life who I think of as carriers. They’re the bearers of contagious laughter. The people who, for whatever reason, if they’re laughing, I’m laughing. I don’t even have to be in on the joke. They’re just downright infectious.
All this laughter is fantastic, but it does come with a very slight downside. Given my proclivities, I often find myself laughing at inopportune times.
When Roomie's annoyed by traffic and cursing at other cars and occasionally herself. When a coworker inadvertently tells another that he needs to "strap on a pair," and then after a inordinately long pause, "of snowshoes." When my sister tells me that the woman we're listening to speak bears a striking resemblance to a turtle.
The list could go on for days. And I would laugh every time I read it.
And then there is the situation that makes me look like the biggest jerkboat. You know how babies can really get going when they cry? I mean, it’s impressive. I don’t have that kind of lung capacity. After about a minute and a half, I’d probably just fall asleep. But they can go on for an extended period of time, just wailing. And I'm not talking about when they actually fall and hurt themselves. But just when they're in a crying mood. Well, if I’m holding a child who decides it’s time to let loose, I can go about 45 seconds before I start laughing as hard as he’s crying. And let me tell you, you know who looks like an ass? Someone who’s laughing at a crying baby.
It’s not that I’m not sympathetic to whatever baby crisis the kid is having. I’ll do everything I can to try and figure out what the issue is and fix it. Honest. I’ll just laugh while I do. I think it has something to do with knowing that if the child wants to cry for the next hour, nothing I can do is really going to make a difference. So, I can despair over that fact or I can laugh and think about how when this kid grows up I can tell him all about the time he cried for three hours (my parents have dozens of these gems). And, when given the choice, I will always opt for laughter over despair.
So, while I’m sure if people see me, they think, Look at that creep. Laughing at the crying baby. I’m going to go over and kick her in the knee. Make her cry and then laugh. See how she likes it, occasionally this inappropriate laughter has positive results. This doesn’t work all the time. It doesn’t even work a lot of the time. (I think maybe it worked once.) But in a certain miraculous instance, I found myself pacing with a crying baby who suddenly became distracted by my laughter. Looking up at me with that scrunched little face, all tear streaked, the child just stared for a moment, as if unsure how to handle such a bizarre reaction. And then as if all the stars had aligned perfectly, like unicorn-dancing-on-a-rainbow-of-dreams-and-skittles perfectly, the baby started laughing with me.
So, while I will try my best not to laugh when I shouldn’t, I’m not going to feel too horrible when I inevitably fail. Because sometimes magic comes out of such mistakes.
And how about the rest of you? What makes you laugh (whether or not you should)?