The Laughing Force of Human Nature

Emily - Wellesley, Massachusetts
Entered on March 8, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

I’m a girl of justice. When I think I’m being treated unfairly, I want to make sure that I justify myself once more. The world’s evils affect everyone, and everyone feels frustrated about it. But there is one thing that those unjustified people can’t resist. Laughing.

Even at the times when you feel low, angry or sad, your lungs tinkle and struggle, which forces you to let out a giggle.

When my father restrained me from going to our high school winter dance, I felt angry, annoyed, and ultimately, I felt like I was being treated unfairly. I had planned on giving him the silent treatment, at least for a few days. Then he started being all goofy, he started singing the theme song to the movie, Get Smart. My stomach began to twist and tickle. I clenched my teeth. But alas, I couldn’t hold it. I burst out laughing, for I was just so vulnerable to laughter, even when I so badly wanted stay silent. After laughing, I felt defeated and at loss because I involuntarily forgave him so easily.

Everyone is vulnerable to laughter, even when you desperately want to ignore it. When you feel discontented and annoyed as ever, you’d think that there’s no way you could ever crack a smile. But yet, no one can resist when they undergo something funny. Even a small pulsation of a smile can’t be avoided.

Even my friends make me so annoyed. For example, when one of my friends treated me brutally: “Emily! You’re so stupid, what’s wrong with you?” I felt abused, and unjustified. Still, when they start imitating the teachers, or speaking in funny accents, I can’t help but crack a smile, once again giving me that defeated feeling. My muscles involuntarily force my lips to form a grin.

What’s so frustrating about this is that I want to justify myself and not forgive them so easily. When I laugh at their jokes, it automatically releases all the tension that had previously built up. By laughing, I dismiss the chance to justify myself. By laughing, I make them think that it’s okay to treat me that way.

Through these experiences of anger and laughter, I’ve learned to grow up and become mature. I figured out that the “silent treatment” and simply acting annoyed doesn’t work, for I end up laughing most of the times I try to do so. I have learned that when I feel like I’m being treated unfairly, I need to talk to the people that bother me, not ignore them. The more that I try to ignore them and end up dismissing their wrongs, the more they expect me to forgive them easily. By talking to them, I can explain my feelings to them, and make them understand the way I feel, for I could be the strongest, tough-headed, most angst filled girl in town, but I’m still vulnerable to one thing: laughter.