Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Laugh and the World Laughs With You? Not Necessarily.

The other day I had the Early Show on in the background as I got ready to leave the house. A story popped up about how Prince Harry is dealing with his brother's pre-wedding festivities and I listened with half an ear as I pulled on my socks and went over the day's agenda in my head.

It was mentioned that the young prince is involved in a charitable organization that does extensive work for the "winded."
Elvis laughed....

Since I am often winded, I was very touched but upon listening more closely (I put the remaining sock down and leaned, slightly, forward), I was a bit crestfallen to learn that it's a charity for the wounded and not the winded. 

Well, this made me laugh.

Not just at that moment but throughout the day because I, you see, have an unfortunate history of inappropriate and poorly timed laughter.

This has been an issue for as long as I can remember. Ask a good friend from my teen years at whose grandmother's wake, I was so nervous and frightened about seeing my first dead body that I became so hysterical with laughter that I had to be dragged into the lady's room and slapped around  a bit.

And that, I regret to report, only made me laugh more.

So, as the day progressed after learning of Prince Harry's charity work, I kept remembering winded vs. wounded and would laugh. At home. In the car. On line in the bank where I had to pretend my laugh was a cough and later at Trader Joe's where, for variety, I pretended I was choking.
Even cows laugh.

The worst part is that inappropriate laughter is delicious. When you know that the venue is unacceptable (a wake) or forbidden (a classroom) or really insanely stupid (a courtroom ) because the bailiff is now casting you (yes, you) threatening looks, it's still the best laughter around.

Uncontrollable laughter is in the same category but governed by different rules because basically, after a few minutes of laughing --despite the venue -- it's universally inappropriate. People get really mad.
The problem is that inappropriate laughter often becomes uncontrollable laughter as a result of the horrified or angry reactions of the non-laughers. It can also quickly ramp up into inappropriate farting (everyone), peeing (women of a certain age) and crying (me).
I can laugh only so long until a tear, then several, then Niagara Falls will start rolling down my face. And this, is when you must either get a grip on yourself (virtually impossible), leave on your own (tricky on many levels), dragged out and yelled at (most likely).

Who knew laughter is so complicated?

The Prince Harry thing is very fresh so, for me, it will be best to avoid any serious occasions in the next 24-36 hours. Wish me luck.
Ann Boleyn: Never laugh at a beheading. Thank you.


  1. Perfect. I absolutely loved the post.

  2. My friends and I often get into laughing fits and pretty soon we are laughing just because we don't know why we're laughing then we laugh more when we think about laughing about laughing. Yeah. :)

    I cry when I laugh too. Ruins my makeup all the damn time! Also, I sometimes make this embarrassing honking sound like a goose when something is REALLY funny...

  3. Hi Mrs. Szold! Steff Dazio again. Charlie makes fun of me all the time for my "giggle fits" at The Eagle. Invariably they start as a chuckle over something completely ridiculous and morph into a full-fledged, on-the-floor, tears-streaming-down-my-face giggle fit. And then the sporadic chuckles for hours after. He never understands what's so funny (perhaps partially because I'm never quite sure either). Glad to know I'm not the only one who suffers from these!

  4. And isn't it fun, Cat? Nothing like it. I am a bit of a snorter, upon occasion, myself.

  5. Steff, so glad to hear from you! Rest assured that I totyally understand. Charlie secretly does too, I'll bet!

  6. Your post reminded me of this episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (description from Amazon.com here: http://tinyurl.com/dd5zxd):

    When WJM-TV's children's show host, Chuckles the Clown, is accidentally killed by an elephant, while dressed as a peanut, his death provokes numerous newsroom jokes by Murray, Lou, and Ted--who are upbraided for their insensitivity by a shocked Mary. They all attend the funeral, and once it starts, Mary cannot hold back the giggles that well up until she is laughing uncontrollably. "Chuckles Bites the Dust" is at once incredibly human and supremely funny, with great performances from the entire cast. As Chuckles would say, "A little song, a little dance, a little seltzer in your pants." --Marshall Fine
    Product Description

  7. Me to a T. Seriously, we were reading a play about the Holocaust in eighth grade and one of the boys was doing a fake French accent that made me laugh. A few minutes later, at a particularly tragic scene, I busted out because I was still thinking about it. Fail......

    It'll happen in class too......Unfortunately, I am prone to The Giggles everywhere I go.

  8. Glad to know it's not just me, Katie! And laughing like that, in class, cannot be stopped.

    Speaking of which, those eighth grade English teachers actually were Nazis.

  9. Oh what timing... I went with a friend, to a pilates class yesterday. The class (snooty ladies in lycra - me in t-shirt and drawstring baggie trousers) was instructed on how to move a small muscle in our backsides... BACKSIDES HAVE MUSCLES! - Who knew!??? Once started, I simply COULDN'T stop. I suspect I won't be invited back - exercise is bad for you :-)

  10. Inappropriate laughter is the best kind. Did you ever see the Pez episode of Seinfeld?

  11. Janet, now that made me laugh, too. And laughter is much better for you than exercise.

    And, Michele, I love that episode!!!!!

    Thanks for reading today!

  12. i was laughing reading your post! i too laugh at the most inappropriate times.
    my brother and i - as grown adults - still laugh like idiots in church - and my mother STILL pinches me lol

  13. rosacea treatment Weirton

    Here is my web-site; rosacea laser treatment Nevada

  14. As usual, your timely message came at the PERFECT time!