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Laughter

Author Shelley Fraser Mickle
Air Date 2/7/2001

Laughter Transcript

This is Love May Make The World Go Round, But Laughter Keeps Us From Getting Dizzy Week. So it’s a good idea to arm yourself with a few jokes when you go out into the world today, because it’s no fun trying to do business with a bunch of dizzy folks. Frankly, I like my people a little dizzy when I’m trying to do business with them, in the hopes that I come out on the best side of the deal. However, it works just as well to distract them with laughter, like asking your boss for a raise after you have told him the latest election joke, such as the one about Palm Beach county saying, “If you don’t like the way we vote, wait till you see us drive.” Just make sure your boss isn’t from Palm Beach county. 

In fact, there are so many jokes floating around on the internet, you could sit in front of the computer and laugh yourself silly for eight hours in a row. But there is probably no better source of jokes than a kid between the ages of four and nine. Old Freud said that children need jokes the same way our American culture needs football: It’s an acceptable way of letting out aggressive feelings that otherwise might get backed up and make us too dizzy to live with. 

In fact, the interesting thing about laughter is that it is considered to be a reflex like a sneeze or a cough. And by the time a child is four, when he is particularly turned on by slapstick, laughter breaks out about every four minutes. Soon, riddles become to the young child as delicious as eating candy worms. And as he gets older, the joys of wordplay are as good as finding a ten dollar bill. It’s just that somewhere between the ages of nine and forty two, things go to pot and laughter in grown ups becomes rare. 

I used to think that we as humans had children to propagate the species, but recently I’ve changed my mind. I think we have them to keep us laughing – and, well, there are others things too, such as keeping us humble and teaching us about frustration. But anyway, if you need an excuse to laugh today, here’s one. 

Norman Cousins, who wrote the book Head First, the Biology of Hope, says that laughter is a form of physical exercise. It causes huffing and puffing and speeds up the heart rate. He said that twenty seconds of laughter is the equivalent of three minutes of strenuous rowing. So it might be a good idea today to find you a kid and get on the boat. 

Posted in Holidays, Stories