We tend to have a lot of serious conversations. It is not unusual for us to spend hours discussing a topic we want to write about or a topic for a presentation we are giving. When life gets busy, as we expect it will be in the next weeks, it often is also serious as we work out all the logistics of making sure that everything gets done. In the midst of many different things yesterday our conversation happened upon laughter and why and when we laugh. We thought it might be good to think about that in today’s post.
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter. e. e. cummings
When we were first together, even back in high school, I (Rita) was always amused and laughed at Bob’s wacky sense of humor. He recorded Lewis Carroll’s poem, Jabberwocky, and I still laugh when I think about it or when he quotes from it. He could look at things and see things, twist words or laugh at strange happenings in nature. He did then, and still does, notice what people say that has more than one meaning, especially when it has implications that they likely did not intend. These are times when we still laugh today. It might be as we watch TV together or when either of us is reading. I have even caught on to that and we laugh even more.
“Twas brilling and the slithy toves…” Lewis Carroll
One of the things that attracted me to Rita was that my wacky sense of humor made her laugh. I am very grateful to God that, after almost 47 years, she is still laughing. She also has a great sense of humor. When she is getting ready to say something that will make me laugh, she often precedes it with a special little giggle that immediately raises my anticipation. I eagerly wait for what comes next and I am already smiling by the time I hear it.
Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. Victor Hugo
We each have foibles that could result in arguments, anger or disappointments, but we have learned to laugh. Bob can’t find things and he truly is the absent minded professor. Only on occasion have his glasses been on the top of his head, but he can be in the pantry or a closet looking for something that is literally right in front of him. The other day he was looking for some papers from a workshop we had given in the winter. He had gone through the bag that we take to all workshops, gone through files and was getting frustrated because he couldn’t find it and wanted it for some work he was doing. I went through the bag and in less than ten seconds I found the papers. I handed him the papers we laughed and I went back to what I was doing. I, on the other hand, have little mechanical ability. While I can use computers for a variety of things, I get frustrated when they don’t do what I want then to do. While I know how to move files from one drive to another and have done so, on many occasions I just can’t remember how to do it. I carry my computer to where Bob is and he stops what he’s doing and fixes it or reminds me how to do it and we laugh with each other.
Then I give her a smile, a pat on the butt, and send her on her way.
If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans. Woody Allen
Bob’s driving at times drives me crazy. I think he drives too fast and follows cars too closely. He also doesn’t always have the directions I think we need and we struggle to get where we are going. We have learned to use the GPS on most trips and I either read or do crosswords puzzles as we drive. We can laugh about it as we know what each other is going to do.
We have had some discussions about this. There was a time when I was very annoyed when I already had my foot on the brake and was fully in control when she suddenly braced herself for a collision. I came to the conclusion that it wasn’t going to change, so now I just look at her and smile. I guess she came to the same conclusion – she usually smiles back.
I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, it’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, and that enables you to laugh at life’s realities. Dr. Seuss
Some humorous events that have occurred through our years together keep coming up in conversations over and over and continue to make us laugh. When we were dating, on some occasion which neither of us can now recall, Bob referred to himself as Yogi, a little smarter than the average bear. It has been my favorite name for him and he frequently signs a message to me that way. It always brings a smile to my face and warms my heart when I use it or read it. On another occasion I was trying to describe how I was feeling at dealing with something that was stressful. I said I was like the toy that was popular then, “Weebles wobble, but they don’t fall down.” I knew I could deal with it but it was giving me a lot to deal with. We still use it to describe occasions when I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes one of us just says it and we laugh.
It wasn’t just the phrase that made me laugh, it was funnier because of the way she said it. Unfortunately I can’t convey that here. It still makes me smile when I hear it or even think about it.
If you can make a girl laugh, you can make her do anything. Marilyn Monroe
Our senses of humor are similar. We can watch a comedian or comic movie and laugh at the same things. We also have the ability to look back at incidents that were stressful and now laugh. This year I have decided to become a vegetarian. I have been thinking about it for a while and tried it many years ago. Bob says it is partly a result of a meal I ordered in Lyon, France. It was a gross sausage that even he couldn’t eat. We can now also laugh when we tell the story of getting our car towed and retrieving it in Siena, Italy. The story gets even better the more we laugh. Then of course there is the little creature that I encountered one night on my way to the bathroom in Haiti. All of these occasions could have resulted in a fight or hurt feelings, but we have learned to laugh our way through most things. We have to admit that life is more fun and easier to live if we can be serious when we need to be, and laugh when laughter helps.
Some of the most stressful events in our lives have become our best stories to tell, although sometimes, humor didn’t become evident until later. In Siena, the car was towed on a Saturday afternoon and we weren’t sure we could get it back before Monday. Our luggage was in it and we didn’t know where our hotel was. The saga of getting the car back and finding the hotel has become a favorite tale, told with considerable humor.
The incident in Haiti is funnier because Rita came back from the bathroom, woke me up and said, “Remember that part in our wedding vows about ‘For better or for worse’? Well, here is the worse, for the rest of the trip you have to get up with me at night and accompany me to the bathroom.” I laughed about it immediately. It might have been the next morning before she began to see the humor in it.
Over our years together we have learned to enjoy each other’s sense of humor and to find the humor in touchy subjects when we learned that the source of irritation wasn’t going to go away. Laughter definitely makes every day better.
Remember me with smiles and laughter, for that is how I will remember you all. If you can only remember me with tears, then don’t remember me at all. Laura Ingalls Wilder
Today’s scripture readings, reflection and prayer
Bob & Rita’s book: Forever and Day: An Invitation to Create a Marriage That Lasts a Lifetime is available on Amazon.com or by contacting us. Also available for Kindle and Nook. Treat yourselves to a retreat – at home, on your schedule. Book includes stories to stimulate your thinking, hints and tips to boost your relationship, and questions to stimulate your discussion.