Yesterday, the goddesses over at The Naked Hero gave us an interesting task for Writer’s Workshop Wednesday. The task was to sum up your life in six words. My contribution was “Laughing for the hell of it.”
See, my mom likes to say she has a sick sense of humor which she does. Fall down the stairs of the house? You’re so getting laughed at if there’s no visible blood. Bang your head on your dresser and knock yourself out? That’s hilarious! It isn’t that she doesn’t care, it’s her way of coping with stress. I’ve seen her hurt herself and laugh hysterically. Her way of explaining away this strangeness is to say, “It’s better to laugh than cry.”
In this crazy family I love, we laugh at everything, especially each other. When we get together, we talk about all the embarrassing, hysterical things we’ve said or done since the last time we saw each other. This tendency to laugh doesn’t end at solemn events either. It seems wrong to look at it from the outside, but funerals are times when we laugh the most. Not because we don’t mourn, but because we’re celebrating the life of the one we’ve lost.
When my stepdad died, I think I spent maybe a total of two hours in the viewing room with him and the rest of the attendees. I went outside to be with my uncles and cousins. We talked about the things he used to do that drove us crazy, or the times he made us think we really were crazy. It was soothing and familiar and it helped me come to grips with my loss.
Laughing is also a way for me to express nervousness. As a kid, I’m sure I drove all of my teachers insane because when they’d show me how to do something, I’d giggle. That hasn’t changed much really.
The first time I flew (ever), I was on a flight with an entire semi-pro baseball team. Don’t ask me who they were, I’m not a baseball fan. I will say I don’t think I’d ever been exposed to so much testosterone in such a small space before. I was nervous from that alone, but the minute we started taking off, I could feel the giddy laughter bubbling in my throat. I was twenty-four years old surrounded by very attractive men and I was about to start laughing like a loon. I had to control it. I fought it, but it was so exciting. The feel of the plane’s momentum pressing me back into my seat, the knowledge that I was going to be airborne for the first time in my life. I managed to tamp down the laughter, but only barely.
*slumps* Just reliving it makes me want to laugh.
So there you have it. Laughing for the sake of laughing is bred into my bones. With the Nationals Conference just around the corner, I have to keep reminding myself that some people might be insulted if I laugh for no reason. Yet I find myself wanting to giggle with excitement. I’m going to Florida – Walt Disney World! – for the first time ever! Yeah, okay I’m giggling. I’m going to be surrounded by people I’ve met over the course of a year and only spoke to online. There goes another giggle. I’m going to have fun and enjoy every second of it!