Pathways – Laughter is Good Medicine

Have you ever laughed, really laughed until your sides hurt, your tummy muscles complain, your
eyes water and your cheek muscles scream? Doesn’t it feel great? For that period of time all your
cares and worries vanish…gone!! You feel energized and ready to take on the world.

From what I can remember, real, honest to goodness, deep in the gut, laugher was foreign to me
up until a few years ago. And so was a sense of humour. I really couldn’t see much in this world
to laugh at. I could probably count on my fingers the number of times I have really laughed with
abandon over the years. My early childhood years were not conducive to laughter. Actually, it
wasn’t my nature to laugh. I was a very serious, independent and shy kid (yes, I was!) who grew
into serious, independent and disciplined adult. There was no room in my life for real, honest to
goodness, laughter. That is changing! Believe me!

Laugher has been described as an innate ability, while humour is a learned behaviour. Doesn’t
matter to me. For years either one was unknown. Comedy shows and newspaper comics were not
watched or read. I quite simply could never see the funny side of any joke, clean or otherwise. I
often wondered what people saw in jokes, and I still cannot listen to off colour jokes. Serious…a
prude….spoil sport…. I’ve been called them all, and more. Now, I’m learning to laugh. I also
seem to be developing a sense of humour. I’m working hard at trying to find something to really
laugh about each day.

For some, laughter comes so easy. I think about my precious grandchildren. Especially Kara
Rose and her belly laughs and squeals as she tumbled over the grass with her dog Kane or
wrestled with her dad. Or Abby, Tony’s five year old charmer, as she tussles with her mom
Patsy, or laughs at the antics of her young brother Adam. They laugh with a wonderous abandon
that tickles my heart and causes me to laugh right along with them. My oldest son, Tony, also
has an infectious, entertaining, from the toes up laughter and his wonderful, warm smile lights
up the space around him and warms my heart.

My sister, Ellen, has the most priceless, infectious laughter of anyone I know. I love it!! Every
time I hear her, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside, like life really is okay. She’s had a lifetime of
hardships, and has learned to laugh at the simple and the not so simple experiences that life has
thrown at her. She sees humour in most circumstances, and makes laughing at herself when she
goofs up a priority. I so wish! I’d probably be laughing all the time, considering the number of
times I goof up. Wouldn’t that be something? I’m working on it…laughter … not goofing up!!

We all know people who seem to be born to laugh – Maybe it’s to brighten up the day for those
of us who need to laugh more. How many of you know Bruce Staines? His laughter is absolutely
fantastic and so very contagious. He laughs when things are mucked up, and when things are
going great. You always know when Bruce is around, because this huge, from the toes up,
contagious laughter catches you and wings you away for a few short moments. You can’t help
but smile, or laugh.

Soooo, Give your face muscles, your inner body parts and your psyche a boost. Find someone to
laugh with, or something to laugh about today. Then watch all your cares and worries of the day
vanish for that moment…Isn’t Life Great? Til next time…this is Joan. Remember a laugh a day
keeps the doctor away.

Joan Brooks makes her home in Wawa, Ontario. Comments are always welcome and can be made through email:
[email protected], telephone 856-0652 or by writing to Box 682, Wawa, On P0S 1K0