Much like Mary Poppins's Uncle Albert, I love to laugh. Pretty much any photo of me that Tim has taken is of me laughing because that man makes me laugh. It's one of the reasons I married him.
I seem to surround myself with funny people. My kids are funny. Sometimes they make me laugh so hard, I cannot even talk. I have friends who make me laugh until my face hurts. When I worked at the Audiology Office, those people could make me giggle until my belly ached from it all. My sister and I can crack each other up just by looking at each other because we know what the other one is thinking.
Random little kids can always be counted upon for a chuckle. They just have such a unique perspective on life that is so contrary to what we staid old poops think that for a second my brain has to kind of blink in astonishment and then comes the smile.
When my boys were young sometimes I would have to turn my back on them to scold them when they were naughty because I was laughing so hard. I didn't want to encourage the bad behavior by letting them see me smile and I knew they needed to be told the behavior was wrong but dang, it was funny! I remember an exchange between my oldest and youngest when they were about 5 and 3. I was hanging out the laundry and they were, as always nearby. The younger boy found a bug of some sort and brought it to the oldest boy to ask what sort of bug it was. The bug lay stunned in the younger boys open palm. The older boy examined it thoughtfully for a moment then slapped the younger boys palm hard. "Dead" he proclaimed in all seriousness and then wiped the bug remains from his brothers hand with the tail of his shirt. I hid my face in the sheets I was putting on the line so they didn't see me laugh.
My mother could make me laugh like nobody else I've ever known. And she was never trying to be funny, she just looked at life completely differently. Once while my sister and I were visited with all of our children (that's five kids from about ages 4 to 9, she escorts the kids to the basement and indicates the white painted walls. She hands them a box of paint and markers and glitter and lords knows what else and tells them that she is bored with the plain white walls, and walks away. My sister and I were stunned. "What are you thinking?" we asked, "They are going to make one hell of a mess! What will Daddy say?" Very calmly she waved us off, "It will be beautiful" she said. Periodically we went down to check on their progress. The basement walls became more colourful and sparkly as the day went on, as did the kids. If we dared to complain of the mess our mother would tell us to shut up and that the kids were fine and the basement looked beautiful. In the face of such firm illogic, after awhile, you can only laugh. We laughed until we cried.
Sometimes it's what I'm reading that makes me laugh out loud. Erma Bombeck had a knack for that. So do a lot of other writers. Occasionally I have to just close a book, put it down and walk away to collect myself before returning to read more. But if I read it out loud to anyone else, they don't get why it's funny and that makes me laugh even harder. Sometimes it's a comic strip that gets me going. I recall one time when I was in college, I was lying on my bed on a Sunday morning reading the newspaper. One comic particularly struck my funny bone. I'll try to describe it to you. There is a witch and a troll walking down the street. They pass a restaurant that has a sign in the window, it says, "Special Today, Smothered Steak, $9.99" the troll says, "Maybe they kill the cow by holding a pillow over it's face". Now I do not know why that struck me so funny, but I laughed so hard that my roommate got annoyed. "What's soo funny?" she demanded with a scowl on her face. Still giggling, I pointed to the comic strip. She read it and huffed, "That's not funny" That changed everything, it turned to howls of laughter. Somehow, to me, the fact that she didn't find it funny at all made it even funnier. Yeah, I know, I'm odd.
We used to go to comedy shows. We would leave just weak from laughter. In Connecticut we saw a number of very funny comedians at the Jorgensen Theatre on the UCONN campus. In Colorado we went to a local comedy club. It was very small, it always felt like everyone was sitting in each other's laps. But the best part of that was once the show started. We were sitting so close to the stage in that small room that the act became very personal. And mercy me, there was no point in wearing mascara too the show because by the end, I would have cried it all off.
As a kid I listened to my parent's comedy record albums, Shelly Berman was a favourite. I just loved his stuff. Red Skelton was brilliant. Danny Kaye, Jerry Lewis, George Burns and Gracie Allen all made me laugh. Someone gave me recordings of old radio comedy that I feel in love with too. All of them. The first comedy album that I bought myself was David Steinberg. Brilliant stuff. Then of course Bill Cosby, George Carlin and even the watermelon smasher, Gallagher. They all made me laugh right out loud and not care how it sounded or how it looked.
But there are a lot of levels of humour. Sometimes, watching a movie maybe, I actually think to myself, "Oh, that's amusing" but I don't laugh. Some things warrant a smile. Other things a giggle. Some things are chuckle worthy. And other times I have to just throw my head back and laugh with complete abandon.
I used to get in trouble for my laugh. When I worked at Hospice, in the office sometimes, funny things happened. I'm not even going to apologize. Funny is funny! The Big Boss would come down and scold me. Very sternly she would in form me that laughter was inappropriate for the workplace. I would nearly strangle trying to not laugh. I'd get the frowny face at school from teachers for laughing. Worse than the frownyface, sometimes I'd get in big trouble. In primary school once, I was watching a bored kid with a rubber band. He was trying to shoot it at the teacher who was back to the class, writing on the board while droning on and on and on about.....something. I watched him line the shot up carefully, pull back hard on the rubber band and then, and then, and then, it snapped and he ended up shooting himself instead. I couldn't help myself. I laughed right out loud! That one got me in big trouble. I don't regret it for one second.
I laugh at myself a lot. I do dopey stuff. Not intentionally but still, funny is funny. And I crack me up. But Tim probably is the one who makes me laugh the most. And so you will probably never see a serious photo of me that he took. Because their aren't any! And it's all his fault. I am so very fortunate. I love to laugh and I married a man who loves to make me laugh. Win/win.
Yup, this is me. Some people said, "Sam, you should write a Blog". "Well, there's a thought", I thought to myself. And so here it is.