Laughter is funny, but is it always funny? Our natural reaction to Mrs. Dunn’s song of the week, Dane Cook, or even the YouTube video “Shoes” is simply laughter. Laughter can be ironic, as it is recognized as a way to expose hilarity but can be misunderstood as rude or impolite. I believe in the varied nature of laughter.
Usually laughter is thought to be the expression of and reaction to something humorous, but is that which is considered humorous the same at every age? Laughter for me began just after birth with the silly game of Peek-a-boo I found so entertaining, but is disappearing really all that funny? My parents played these games with me as a child to find my humor, but as I grow older I found myself laughing at jokes about politics or race.
I believe there are different types of laughter, nervous laughter, laughter in a difficult situation and healing laughter. Sometimes an unexpected giggle comes out at just the wrong time. I remember inn middle school that “asking out a girl”, was so embarrassing to all of the boys that a smirk and small laugh would burst out revealing their humiliation. In this sense laughter is not always as cheerful as we may perceive it to be. Didn’t kindergarten teach us never to laugh at someone, but always with them? But holding in a laugh is by far the hardest to do. I can recall when a classmate of mine “wet his pants” and was so embarrassed, but without thinking my mouth burst with laughter. This is when we find ourselves laughing inappropriately in a difficult situation. I know my teachers don’t find it funny to scold a student, but when I last got a detention for my collar nothing seemed wrong with laughing. Although surprisingly, laughter has its faults, its positive effect is revealed in an individual’s character. The ability to “laugh something off” gives great valor and affability to a person.
During lacrosse season of freshman year, I found myself shoved in the trunk of Kellen Pomeranz’s car on “freshman hit day”, the day the seniors looked forward to torturing us newbie’s. They had the seniority to laugh at me while I tripped across the field blind-folded I on the other had was told to shush every time I opened my mouth. Finally upon arriving at our destination, Smoothie King, Kellen opened the trunk and they led me into the curb, against my scratched knee. Although my knee was sore, my ability to laugh off this painful situation made the day one to remember.
No matter what makes us laugh, playing peek-a-boo, riding a roller coaster, nerves or watching “Saturday Night Live” laughter allows us to deal with various emotions, and generally is a part of happiness. The simple action of hitting your “funny bone” creates an automatic uncontrollable burst of laughter, but is the painful hitting of your elbow really that comical?
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.