A Dog Walked into a Bar…

A couple of posts ago I wrote  about crying and whether it is okay for high-profile athletes to do so publicly after a loss.  Today, I am going to explore the opposite end of the emotional spectrum–laughter.  This morning my 13-year-old son had me watch two videos on YouTube that he thought were hilarious.  I didn’t know prior to watching them whether or not I’d find them amusing. I’ll admit I was leaning towards the latter, because sometimes 13-year-old boy humor is not my thing.  Much to my surprise,  not only did I find both of the videos funny, I actually cried with laughter while watching them.

This is probably as good a time as any to tattle on myself.  I laugh sometimes when bad things happen.  And sometimes, while laughing at these bad things, I make tears.  I am pretty sure this can be classified as hysterical laughter.  I am ashamed (though oddly proud too) to admit that while attending the University of Georgia I earned the nickname “Cold Blooded” (CB for short) because I once laughed, though I am fairly certain not hysterically, after seeing a fellow student get hit by a car.  Now, before you stop reading and drop my blog from your RSS feed, let me clarify.  I only laughed once and that was only after it was clear that the person who had been hit was fine.  I feel certain I laugh in instances such as this as a way to release uncomfortable emotions. Similarly, I laughed through most of the movie Pulp Fiction which while definitely containing some funny moments, is by no means a comedy. 

This morning’s bout of  laughter was generated by videos that among other things featured people who were laughing, that is often all it takes to get me going too.   All of this got me thinking, why do we laugh?  From a physiological standpoint crying makes perfect sense, but laughing?  What’s that about?  Ever the journalism student, I decided to do some research.

I found a couple of articles on the subject of laughter but the one that I felt provided the most in-depth analysis was on Web.MD.com.  The crux of the article is that humans are hardwired to laugh.  According to the author, laughter predates speech by millions of years and was probably one of the earliest ways our prehistoric ancestors communicated.   She goes on to point out that babies are born with the ability to laugh and that even those who are born deaf and blind have the ability to guffaw! If you find any of this even mildly interesting I suggest you click the link to read the entire article.

Are you, like me, someone who laughs when bad things happen?   Or does it take something that is truly amusing to get you going?

Here’s a video (though not one of the ones that my son showed me this morning) that should at the very least illicit a smile.

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8 responses

  1. I have always said, :when someone falls down, it’s funny.” And when someone says “that’s not funny,” one thing you can be sure of is that it is. Thank you for justifying my belief. Big smile

  2. This is fascinating to me. First off, I laugh all the time. I laugh when things aren’t funny, when people get hurt, when I’m nervous, when I don’t have anything to say but need to fill the space in conversation…it’s too much probably. However, most times I’m laughing because I’m generally happy and, why not!

    I have a problem with crying when I’m angry or frustrated. I wish I didn’t, but I do it all the time! How can I ever get my point across correctly if what’s on my face (or coming out of it) doesn’t match what I’m feeling or what I need to say? My mom tells me she was the same way and grew out of it. I have no idea. It needs to stop, though!

    Also, I just wanted to say thank you for the amazing comment yesterday. It means so much to have you compliment my work ethic and drive. Seriously. Thanks a billion!

  3. You know that line from the Bare Naked Ladies song? …I’m the kind of guy that laughs at a funeral… Yeah, change guy to girl, and that’s me. I giggle when I’m nervous. If I don’t, I shake… and then my mouth gets all dry and my lips stick to my teeth. Very attractive. So, I learned to keep things light when presenting on any subject so that I make sure everyone’s laughing. Then I don’t look like as crazy with sticky gums.
    :)

  4. Laughter is such great medicine. Just had to tell you my girls and I (avid dog/Dawg lovers) watched that YouTuber three times in a row…and laughed more hysterically each time.

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