I Did it For the Laughs

I married two men who weren’t really suited for me because they could send me into fits of hysterics with a few words. I think back on them with affection because I could never be truly mad at someone who made me laugh that hard. Though the marriages didn’t survive, the friendships did, or would have if subsequent wives hadn’t been so bitchy. Nobody in the world could make me laugh like my second husband—but he is forbidden to have any contact with me. How ’bout that—laughter generating that kind of  jealousy because getting someone’s jokes can be more intimate than sex itself, yes?

I couldn’t live with a sourpuss for the fattest of checkbooks. No amount of comfort or luxury could take the place of shrieks of laughter—at least I’m assuming this since I’ve never had actual comfort or luxury for comparison. Boys without a sense of humor didn’t last long with me. They could be dirty, impoverished, have issues, be antisocial, have substance abuse problems—didn’t matter as long as they were funny. I made a lot of bad choices for the sake of yucks.

Wry, witty, and sarcastic are my favorite types, but lower forms are absolutely welcome. I like to have a laugh at someone else’s expense (it’s human nature) but not as much as I like to make fun of myself. I’m suspicious of people who do not appear to have a sense of humor.  Nobody in this world should take themselves so seriously that they can’t laugh at themselves. Laughter is the birthright of all human beings, and we are doomed without it—it’s cathartic, empowering, liberating. Laughter should be a universal language, and if I ruled the world, it would be mandatory, damnit.

The old saying about laughter being the best medicine has been tested by many new scientific appliances and the benefits well-documented. Laughter lowers blood pressure, reduces stress, increases circulation, triggers release of painkilling endorphins, and boosts immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting antibodies. And you don’t have to wait for results, they are immediate.

Think back to the worst times of your life. If you’re like me, you still had laughs, bitter and morbid though they might have been. The laughs at these times are often just in our own heads—maybe, like me, you don’t want to inflict your gallows humor on others—but it’s all OK. My sense of all that is weird and funny in our world beckons me to indulge it at the most awkward times. Cynicism and pessimism are good targets for some depressive humor. Life doesn’t stop being funny because bad things happen—that’s when we need humor the most.

Laughter is defiance, and we may as well make the best of this dark world, because as Woody Allen said, “life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering—and it’s all over much too soon.”

4 responses to “I Did it For the Laughs

  1. I’m continually amazed at the variety of humor that exists. Granted, it shouldn’t surprise me at all considering the variety of humans that exist…but still, I’m pretty simple most of the time.

    There is a married couple we know.
    He cracks the worst jokes, makes the lamest comments.
    Her brand of humor is predictable and is usually prefaced with “it’s like the TV show where so-n-so said such-n-such….”
    But she always laughs at his jokes and when she “makes a punny” he howls like a drunk. She’s been reduced to comical tears at his words while the rest of us look on in confused silence.
    But as you point out, it takes all kinds of funny bones to build a relationship.

    Last month they laughed on their Forty-First anniversary.

  2. Okay, did you hear the one about a rabbi, preacher and… Alright, now seriously, folks… Don’t open that closet, Fibber! Oh, god, you are right on target. The worst relationships I’ve ever had have been the pious nellies and self-absorbed twits that want round-the-clock attention. Not for long did I stick around. If you have the edge of comedy and satire you can take the bite and sting out of life’s worst moments. The Irish didn’t exactly cry at their wakes, now did they? I’ve lost the laughter edge from time to time and I’m friggin miserable. So is Brenda and so are my friends. Debra, you are such a fine writer. Get you a online writing seminar or class…you’ll make money. But, better still, have those lads and lassies face-to-face and instruct in Strunk and White.

    • Losing the edge is scary and makes me feel pathetic. I was so depressed before we came out here I hardly laughed…at least out loud. I cried a lot. Oh how it affects every single soul you come in contact with. No good, no good. When this happens it’s a sign to make a change, yes? Or else you’ll die a slow death.

      I didn’t get Irish wakes when I was a kid—I do now.

      Thanks for your comments Jack.

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