I don’t know about you, but when I’m laughing – full out, hard core, belly-aching, gasping for air – laughing, the world pauses. I wouldn’t describe it as the world stopping because I still feel momentum, just a bit slower, like jogging in place without really moving forward.
Laughter is the best. If humor didn’t exist and we never experienced the crunching and punching of our stomach walls kicking each other and our faces hurting from the contortions that pull them into drastic uplifted arches ready to pounce out of our skin– what would life be like? Can you imagine being somber, straight lipped, muscles hanging bored, all the days of your life? Yuck. Laughter really is the best medicine, as someone said and we now all repeat.
Libraries can surprise us
A couple of weeks ago when I was feeling out of sorts I was walking through the library with my son and as he perused the graphic novels, I lingered in staff picks and new released titles. I had no intention of picking anything up since I had already begun one book, had a couple more on hold coming my way, and a few on my bookshelf that a family member had lent me. I didn’t need anymore reading material to tempt me! Alas, I caved. As I usually do. I typically have way more books on my nightstand or waiting for me in my Kindle than I care to admit and keep wishing on my birthday candles that I would become a faster reader. This seems the only way that my appetite for reading everything that sounds appealing could actually be quenched in this lifetime. I have yet to figure out how to accomplish this, so in the meantime I guess I’ll just do what I can with the reading material that intrigues me and next time I’ll keep a blindfold on when I run through the library. 😉
There it was
The book that caught my attention was a book written by Tom Papa, a stand-up comedian. If you are familiar with the radio show Live From Here, formerly known as Prairie Home Companion, hosted by Chris Thile, you’ve probably heard Tom Papa’s skit ‘Out. In. America’. This is where I was first introduced to Tom’s comedy and all three of my kids are able to recite his famous response in his show where he poses a trivial and often humiliating question to the audience and then responds, “I have”. I was thrilled this spring when Mr. Papa came to Fargo and my husband and I were able to see him perform live. I laughed so hard. Remember the description I gave in that first paragraph? That’s the kind of laughter that I experienced that evening. When I saw his book at the library titled, Your Dad Stole My Rake, I smiled. I picked it up and turned it over (isn’t that what everyone does when they pick up a book?) and my smile grew bigger as I read what others had to say about Tom’s book. Jerry Seinfeld is quoted as saying, “he is really one of my favorite people”. I agree with you Jerry. I also feel that I can trust Jerry. His humor and show Seinfeld made me laugh through high school. I longed for Thursday nights at 7:00 pm. I knew I had to read Tom’s book.
All the smiles
When I opened up to the introduction I realized it read a lot like how Tom talks through his show. As I’ve read the book, I can hear his voice reading the words to me. I’ve never read a book by a comedian before and I am just finding it to be so delightful. I don’t have to think much and feel so light reading it. My only expectation from the book is to smile and it has met that expectation wildly.
In a previous post I mentioned that when I was feeling in a funk I learned that I needed to look for more play. Comedy is play for me. Laughter can alter dopamine and serotonin activity in your brain which mitigates stress and improves your mood. There is actually a popular form of therapy aptly named laughter therapy that is effective and scientifically supported. At the library that day I believe my subconscious mind was searching for ways to elevate my disposition. I needed to play. I needed to laugh. Tom Papa just happened to have recently written a book that was on display at the library, waiting for me when I didn’t know I was looking for it. Sometimes a mysterious case of happenstance will find you when you’re least suspecting it and provide you just what you need.
In a state of play, laughter is probable. Being present in the moment and giving your attention to what is around you and tapping into your senses is a great way to feel peace and calm wash over you. Wherever you are today and whatever is on your agenda, challenge yourself to seek something out that is sure to bring you an internal joy that tickles your funny bone with the potential to send you into an uproar of exhilarated laughter. Cheers!*