When I started writing this article, I thought I would begin by looking up the definition of the word ‘life.’ There were twenty definitions, too many to list here, so let’s just say for this article that life is the absence of being dead. Then I looked up the word ‘humor.’ After I got through the body fluid definitions (to be honest, I never heard body fluids used with the word humor), I read it to mean, “that quality which appeals to a sense of the ludicrous; the mental faculty of discovering, expressing, or appreciating the ludicrous; and something that is or is designated to be comical or amusing.”
I love humor! I love to laugh and I love to make people laugh! I just love the sound of laughter…period! I can go to a comedy movie at the theatre and I’ll get a bigger kick out of listening to people’s laughter than I do at what’s on the screen.
Laughter is so contagious. There are numerous YouTube videos where someone will start laughing hysterically, and soon enough, everyone around them has joined in. Once in awhile, I will watch these and I will get to laughing so hard that my mouth starts to quiver and I get two-pack abs because my tummy muscles get a tremendous work-out.
There is even such a thing called ‘Laughter Yoga’ which was started by Madan Kataria, a doctor from India, who is also known as the ‘Guru of Giggling.’ He started a club with just five people in Mumbai and there are now more than 6,000 Laughter Yoga clubs in over 72 countries. People get together and…well…they laugh!
Humor and laughter are also very healing. When you laugh, or even smile, the feel good chemicals are released in the brain and throughout the body. Norman Cousins, known as the modern father of laughter therapy, was diagnosed with a debilitating illness and was given little chance of recovery. Traditional medicine failed to relieve his pain; therefore, he checked himself into a hotel, consumed megadoses of Vitamin C, and watched countless comedies on TV. He found that just ten minutes of belly laughter would allow him to have two hours of pain-free sleep. He soon recovered and wrote books on humor and healing.
One thing I’ve learned is that you can find humor in just about anything and I am always looking for the humor in my life situations. They make for many great stories in my speaking and writing career. I call them ‘only Karen moments.’ I would like to share several of them with you now.
One day I was at work and decided to brush my teeth after lunch. I grabbed the tube of paste and my toothbrush and headed to the restroom. After putting a dab of paste on my toothbrush, I began brushing. I’m brushing and I’m brushing, and I’m starting to think, “Hmmmm, this toothpaste really doesn’t taste very good.” I brush some more and it starts to occur to me that the toothpaste really doesn’t taste very good so I look at the tube and see that it was one of those inexpensive products from a dollar store, so I continue brushing. Now I’m thinking that the toothpaste tastes extremely horrible so I take another look at the tube, and to my horror, I discovered that I was brushing my teeth with anti-itching cream! Now, there’s bad news and good news that came from this. The bad news is that I had a horrible taste in my mouth for the rest of the day. The good news is that my teeth haven’t itched since!
Another story I like to tell is when I was on the way to work when I stopped to get a box turtle out of the middle of the road so it wouldn’t get hit. There wasn’t a safe place to put him as there was a wall of stone on one side and a cliff on the other. So in my infinite turtle wisdom, I decided to drive with the turtle down the mountain where I could release him safely. As I was driving, I held the turtle upside down in one hand while driving with the other. Apparently, the little guy had never ridden in a car upside down before and it scared the piddle out of him. Literally! All of a sudden, a fountain of pee came pouring out of him, all over my steering wheel, my lap, and my chest. I had to keep going so I just let him pee. At the bottom of the mountain, I released him into the woods, and then continued on to work, turtle pee and all. Fortunately, turtle pee doesn’t smell so no one was the wiser. Okay, yes they were because I just had to tell everyone at work of my turtle pee adventure.
My last story here is when I went for one of my long walks down a country road enjoying the scenery and being in my own little blissful world. A little ways up, I hear what sounds like an elder person screaming at the top of their lungs “HELPPPPPP!” I’m thinking, “Okay, now what am I getting myself into?” As I get closer to the sound and hearing it again, I see that it’s a little goat off to the side of the road. I kept walking thinking if it’s still yelling on my way back, I would check on it. On my return, I’m again hearing “HELPPPPP!” and I look up to see that the goat is caught in the barbed wire fence. I’m a huge animal lover so I thought I’d go see if I could help the little critter. This goat was NOT a happy camper and wasn’t too interested in helping me help him. Plus, there was a little dog that wasn’t happy about me being near his friend, so he bit me on the ankle, fortunately, not breaking the skin…much.
So, here I am wrestling with this goat, trying to untangle him from the barbed wire, and shaking my one leg in the air trying to keep the little dog from biting me again. As I’m doing this, the little goat is butting me, pushing and shoving, and covering my now very sweaty body in goat hair. At one point, he butted me and I flew backwards landing on a pile of twigs. Fortunately, no twig twigged me and I didn’t appear to be hurt, so with a bruised ego, I got back up to finish the task. On top of that, before I began my close encounter of the goat kind, I had put my water bottle and phone on the ground, and this little goat kept trying to steal my water bottle and my phone in between butting me. Therefore, I'm not only wrestling with the goat to get him free from the wire, I'm having to keep him from getting my bottle and phone, while at the same time, trying to keep the little dog from biting me! After sweating up a storm, I finally get the little guy untangled while he’s still butting me, leaving me to think that he was one very ungrateful little ball of goat hair. Feeling a sense of triumph, I started my trek back home, taking with me enough goat hair on my sweaty body to knit a sweater.
As you can see, I can get myself into some very unusual predicaments. I have also been known to be struck with random acts of outrageousness…anything to get a laugh. Most of my friends never know what I’m going to say or do next. To be honest, I never know what I’m going to say or do next. People who know me know to be prepared for the unexpected silly attacks.
We can all find humor in our lives if we just keep ourselves in a humorous state of mind and don’t take ourselves or life so seriously. Life was meant to be enjoyed and we came to this earth plane to have fun. It’s only we humans who make it so serious. So, lighten up, laugh, and find the humorous in everyday life!
Published in the Putnam County Visions Magazine, September 2014 issue.