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.”