Laughter – still the best medicine. The biddies from the Old Wives Club had it right all along. It protects my heart because it makes my blood get up and flow throughout my system, and blood pumping into and out of those bellowing chambers is better than the gridlock some folks suffer. It releases my endorphins, the giddy little proteins inside our bods that suppress pain and make us feel good, or at least better. And who doesn’t want to feel better? It gives a wake-up call to my hormones by nudging my immune system into overdrive, producing anti-bodies that fight the good fight – against the bad grunge like illness and disease and sour temper.
Who can laugh without relaxing? Isn’t that why some of us (not me of course, and certainly not you, but other unnamed folks) pee their pants when laughing raucously? Losing all control is not a bad thing, even if you must change your whitie-dities, because when you’re having that much fun – who cares about all the rest? Oh, and it’s contagious! In a good way, not like the flu, but like having enough cup cakes for everyone in the world. So now I not only feel good inside my own world weary bod – I feel good because everyone around me also feels good. Motto for today: Spread cheer – laugh out loud.
My physical health improves. My bod doesn’t ache any more. Not as much anyway. Laughing that hard must have worked the kinks out of the system, kind of like untwisting the hose and letting the water spray all over the yard. Or sitting in a giggle spa while warm bubbles tumble all over achy joints until the pain realizes it isn’t welcome.
It’s the perfect size for my emotional health, a one-size-fits-all remedy. I can do what I must, even all the miserable tasks I dislike, and I’ll be fine. I’ll just make a list like the Lord High Executioner in The Mikado and mark off each accomplished task until I can’t do any more until tomorrow. Laugh! Now I feel good about myself. What was I afraid of in the first place?
My social life gets a boost, and heaven knows I’ve been a bit lacking in that deportment. The stranger next to me is grinning big time, now she’s leaning over, telling me how much fun it was to watch me laugh, and now she’s laughing, spreading the good news that something out there is fun-nee! We’re not strangers any more – we’re two goofettes laughing about something so funny we can’t even remember what it was – but it made us laugh.
Laughter – find it in your grocery store in the chocolate aisle where you can decide on extra dark or milk, or be like me and take both. Then a third because it’s buy two, get one free. Dessert for the whole week. Yippee!
Or in the ripe veggie bin where the bananas have been pinched by every shopper with opposable thumbs and have brown marks looking just like thumbprints. Gonna be someone’s banana bread by tonight. (Yeah, that was me too.) Gonna be someone’s banana bread by tonight.
Or by the checkout line next to the guy with a full cart unloading on the stand clearly lit up with the “15 items or less” sign. OK, so he can’t read but he sure does like his beer and his microwavable dinners. Whoopee – the guy doesn’t have to cook tonight. Whoop-de-do.
Or at the magazine stand whose well thumbed pages of multiple brand new issues assure you are not buying a new magazine should you indulge but a well loved one, even if previous lovers left bent pages and wrinkled covers. Grandkid’s getting a present sent by mail and cushioned in old magazines. Hooray!
If you can’t find anything to laugh about, search for comics and jokes online or replay the opening monologues from the late night TV shows. A bit of computer navigation, and voila: a guffaw explosion. Cat, dog, and baby videos are good for a giggle. Speaking of, pet your pet, and if you don’t have one, find a neighbor’s pet. Give Rover or Tuna Breath some finger play behind the ear, a hand smoothie down the back. Homes for the old folks are letting in animal residents free of charge because the Cottage of Furries relieves stress in the Kingdom of Worries.
You can be a grump all day and go to bed wrestling with every demon, identified and improvised, known to the human body. Or you can laugh all day and go to sleep relaxed, content, ready to take on the night with sweet dreams and the morrow with delight.
Better yet – go write a book. That’s what I did. I wrote three, a fourth well on its way, and three earlier children’s books. All of them have moments of funny. Just a spoonful or maybe a whole gallon – good medicine just as the doctor prescribed it. And the biddies from the Old Wives Club.
A thank you to my dear friend Judith Westerfield, whose wisdom, guidance, and friendship inspired this post.
Baby laughing courtesy Google images public domain: commons.wikimedia.org