I LIKE LAUGHTER

I like to laugh.  I like to chuckle and chortle.  I really like to giggle and guffaw.  Robin Williams always got me to the point of guffaw, and that was as good as good gets.

I enjoy the off-beat silliness of Steven Wright, who says he’d kill for a Nobel Peace Prize.  Or—my fave—“If you’ve got the time, pretty much any place is walking distance.”

We prized George Carlin because he mixed an in-depth reader’s intelligence with a screwball sense of what might prick our pride and insult our read on any topic.  He wanted to make you think . . . and laugh.

Of acute interest to me is that our sense of humor is apparently pre-human in its origins.  Yep, when researchers at the University of Portsmouth (United Kingdom) tickled two dozen primates—gorillas, chimps, orangutans, bonobos . . . and three human babies—the sounds that issued forth were eerily (and totally) comparable to human laughter.

What that means is this: laughter dates back 10 to 16 million years.  It was there for that ancestor common both to humans and to great apes.

The lead researcher, Marina Davila Ross told the London Daily Telegraph that “Our results on laughter indicate its pre-human basis” and that our laughter was “hard-wired into humans.”  She said that, just as it is for humans, the animals’ laughter “seemed like an expression of joy.”

Why wouldn’t it be?  We know that laughter has powerful healing capabilities.  We know that laughter relaxes us, that laughter lowers blood pressure, that laughter enhances happiness.

My wife is from Georgia, so I have a passing familiarity with Southernisms, many of which are truly delightful.  For example, you kinda have to be from the South to understand that the word “fixin” can be used as a noun, a verb, or an adverb.  See if you can figure out which is which in these three examples.  “I was fixin to go over to Betty Lou’s.”  “We had a huge Christmas dinner, with all the fixins.”  “When are you gonna get to fixin my car?”

Okay, so you need a joke or two.  Funniest one so far this year concerns my tennis group partner Jeff, who came to group last Thursday in a dour mood.  I asked him what was wrong.  “It’s my sex life, Rich.  My wife’s cut me back to once a week.”  Naturally, I tried to console him.  “It’s not so bad, Jeff.  I mean, hey, she’s cut some of us off completely!

This one goes back a couple of years.  Eighty-year-old passes his physical with high marks and the doc asks him why he’s in such good health.  “Go turkey hunting every morning.  Chase them birds up and down the hills.”  Okay, says the doc, but there must be some genetic component.  How old was your father when he died?  “Who says he’s dead?”  You’re 80 and you dad’s still alive.  How old is he?  “Dad’s 100.  Went hunting with me this morning.”

What about your dad’s dad.  How old was he when he died?  “Who says grandpa’s dead?”  Goodness, how old is he?  “He’s almost 120.”  I suppose you’re going to tell me that he went turkey hunting with you this morning, too?  “Naw, he got married.”  Married?  Now why would a fellow that old want to get married?  “Who says he wanted to?”

Go forth and giggle.  Or guffaw.  Your choice.  Be healthy.

©2017 Richard Paul Hinkle

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