The Power of Laughter

Matthew - Ames, Iowa
Entered on January 13, 2009
Age Group: Under 18

The Power of Laughter

I believe in laughter. When asked what can make one happy in life, some will respond money and power, others will say a spouse and children, and yet others will answer service and sacrifice. While these may be important factors, I believe that the true key to happiness lies behind laughter.

My parents have always been adamant that we will have sit-down, family dinners. The four of us will always start telling jokes and stories, and usually my brother and I will build upon each other until everyone is shaking with laughter and crying. We always enjoy poking fun at one another, and none of us are scared to laugh at ourselves, which adds to the entertainment. These dinners are some of my fondest memories, yet many others include my closest friends. A group of my close band mates and I have a tradition of always eating at Pizza Hut after the last band concert of the year. Just last year there was a tornado warning and a thunderstorm overhead, yet we decided we would brave the weather. The downpour created a literal sheet across our front windshield, slowing driving to barely a crawl, yet we reached the diner in safety. Sprinting across the deserted pond of a parking lot, we were dismayed to discover that Pizza Hut was closed. Huddling under a petite red awning, none of us knew what to do until Spencer spotted that a nearby Wendy’s was open. Dashing across the street, we all held our arms above our heads in a vain attempt to keep ourselves dry. After we all ordered a few cheeseburgers and a frosty we chose our table, right in the middle of the restaurant. We had no reason at all to be enjoying ourselves as we sat in matching black slacks and unbuttoned white dress shirts, drenched and still dripping. We were in a back-up diner, eating greasy food while the rain continued to pound a furious beat on the sheet metal roof, yet we were determined. Before long we were telling stories and laughing to an extent that tears were streaming down our already soaked faces.

Looking back on this memory, it only affirms to me that where there is laughter there is happiness. Laughter builds relationships, nurtures hurt feelings, and sustains joy. There is no better way to work through adversity, and no better way to cure the deepest sorrows. It turns out that laughter is a ubiquitous symbol of love and enjoyment throughout all cultures, and is one of the truly universal languages. So when times are hard, yet even more importantly when they are not, look for the humor and just laugh.