One day in my seventh grade science class, all of the students were required to give a short presentation on cellular biology. The science lab was filled with forty immature junior high students and a 5’6” Mr. Laurice, who was still a little kid at heart. My best friend walked through the front of the class and was immediately greeted with sheer laughter as he turned to face his audience. For over five minutes, Mr. Laurice, thirty-eight other students, and I shed tears as we laughed at the sight of my buddy’s open zipper on his jean shorts. I laughed and soon laughed even louder as others would bust up crying when everything seemed to be calming down. My buddy was embarrassed for a while, but soon began laughing as well. At that time my laughter came from the thought of an unzipped fly in front of the whole class. As I look back on that moment, still clear in my mind, that laughter means so much more to me now.
That moment, about six years ago, is clearer than many events that occurred last week, or even yesterday. That moment was the first time in my life where I witnessed so many individuals laughing together, and I still smile when I replay it in my mind. That moment alone is how I picture happiness: a period of complete contentment.
Since that day, I have made the most out of countless opportunities to laugh. I look forward to it more than anything else because times of laughter are some of the only moments that give me absolute joy. Others, such as getting a summer job or hearing of my acceptance to a great university, may at first seem to be my happiest times, but in reality they can often be darkened with doubt.
Realizing how joyful laughter can be makes me ponder the times I neglected to search for more happiness. As I often moped around the house throughout my childhood, my dad frequently asked me, “Why are you so serious?” I became annoyed with this repeated question, but now understand that refusing to laugh or simply smile on those boring days were keeping me from more joyful moments. Just as it is difficult to get great grades without studying, it is similarly difficult to find happiness without knowing that laughter is the key. I now find my joy through laughter because I discovered that nothing in life has, or will ever, just come to me: not wealth, not the perfect spouse, not even happiness.
I will always remember that day in seventh grade when so many people were filled with joy from such a simple part of life called laughing. I won’t remember it because of an unzipped fly during a presentation, which is in fact priceless, but rather because everyone’s good feelings were a result of just simply laughing. Uncertainties in life are infinite, but why mope around if I can find happiness? Laughter is contagious, and along with it comes happiness. This is why I believe in the joy of laughing.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.