This I Believe

Catherine - Mandeville, Louisiana
Entered on December 1, 2006
Age Group: Under 18

Celebration of Chaos and Incongruity

My teacher once said, “Life is chaos. Laughter is a celebration of that chaos and incongruity,” a statement I find exceptionally true. I believe in laughter.

When people laugh together about something, anything, a bond automatically forms between them. Every time I ride the St. Charles streetcar, I see some interesting character walking down the street and I cannot help but giggle. Maybe it’s a woman donning a hat overflowing with tropical fruits. Maybe it’s a tough, burly, manly-man sporting a shirt compelling the people of the world to love one another. It could be anything. I laugh. And then I hear someone else joining me in the joyous chorus, so I look up and meet the eyes of my fellow reveler. We have completely different ideas, beliefs, and fears, but I feel connected. Each stranger that laughs with me is my greatest companion, even if only for those brief moments.

Laugher lifts spirits. I make sure to surround myself with humorous friends when I feel confused or inferior because I know someone will make a “Why’d the woman cross the road?” joke or a snide remark about how wonderfully the Democrats are running the glorious state of California. The last time I felt depressed, I constantly made the effort to converse with a comical friend. I laughed, even if at first it was fake, because in the end my laughter and smiles are always genuine. I forgot about the demands from my parents and myself to succeed in everything. Laughter is the storm that shoves the clutter in people’s lives outside to be blown away by the wind.

I believe in laughing at myself. It points out my stupidity in simple things before others have the opportunity to poke fun at my mistakes. That thick line on my worn denim jeans from when I dropped a Sharpie doesn’t matter because I laughed at my clumsiness and made a star with it. Sometimes though, my mistakes are too painful to laugh at when they happen, so I wait until I am ready. Then I let the laughter out. There are times I think about simple mistakes I made in the past, like forgetting my favorite doll outside in the rain. Mold grew all over her face and I was furious with myself, but looking back, I just laugh. Laughter frees me from my frustrations, even if it does take ten years.

Laughter is original and individualized. Everyone has a different laugh that broadcasts the personality of its owner. Some are guffaws, some cackles, and some childish giggles. Some laughs are high and piercing like a witch’s cackle on Halloween, while others are low and resounding like the “Ho Ho Ho” Santa so proudly proclaims. Laughter transcends the gap between all people. It doesn’t discriminate against race, gender, age, language, or education. It’s a tool frequently used to cope with mistakes or difficult situations. It creates a euphoric feeling that envelops and devours pain. Laughter is freedom.