Silliness. Giggles. Joy.

These are rare and precious commodities by the end of February. Everything is SO SERIOUS.

But really – does it have to be? Can we not pull ourselves up by our bootstraps?

Is there not time for… well, drinks with plastic monkeys hanging from the rim, and a maraschino cherry lurking in the depths, like a prize for later?

When my dog sees I’m holding a Frisbee, he prances with such excitement that both front feet come off the ground, and when he chases it, his tail gets going so fast in a circle that I call it “the helicopter.” The only thing that makes him happier is to sit next to the Frisbee at the far end of the garden and laugh at me when I clap and shout and urge him to BRING IT BACK. He refuses. He’s not a golden retriever; he’s a golden acquirer.

My august and brilliant father was rendered helpless by two men in a horse suit; if they did a little four-legged dance, he’d (in the vernacular) lose his shit. World’s smartest man, unable to draw in oxygen for laughing so hard – which would set me off, too.

I had a summer job in college; my boss told me that once he and two friends were at a bar; they were mildly drunk and decided that all three would get on the boss guy’s motorcycle for a very sedate ride home. Everything went well until they came to a stop light, at which point no one thought to put a foot down. So they came to a halt and very slowly toppled over, like a Saturday morning cartoon of a chimpanzee on a tricycle. The thought makes me giggle.

Once I was sitting next to my friend John in a big staff meeting. He tapped the pad of paper on his knee to subtly draw my attention to what he’d written. I looked; it said “RUN YOU FOOL” and I burst out in a bray of laughter that hugely offended every senior member of the company. It STILL makes me laugh; I’m snorting as I type. John and I passed gusts of inappropriate laughter between us like a fast-shooting ping pong game and eventually we had to be separated like we were in second grade.

Laughter is contagious. It can’t be helped. You see two people wracked by hysteria, you don’t even know what’s so funny (and maybe they don’t, either – it wasn’t THAT funny)… but you have to grin, and maybe even give an unwilling, confused chuckle, too. It brightens the day.

Getting healthy means mental health, too. I can’t encourage you too strongly to take a moment to think about something that always makes you laugh. If you’re so inclined, post it here or on Facebook or wherever. Because laughter is contagious, and at the end of February, we all need to catch that particular bug.

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Something else that made my father howl: A guy pretending to ride a horse, followed by a guy clapping two coconuts together to provide a soundtrack. You’ve never seen a surreal scene until you’ve seen an Assistant Secretary of Defense in a burnoose cantering primly down a beach making coconut sounds with his clever cupped hands.

3 thoughts on “Bootstraps

  1. Oh boy, I needed that laugh. And the people around me are now looking at me strangely, which makes me giggle even more!


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