Friday, June 28, 2013

Laughter Defines Me

Dec. 17, 2008

Laughter defines me. I love to laugh. I know most of us enjoy laughing, but I really put myself into it, heart and soul. Looking back at my youth, I know we laughed a lot. My mother's family likes to tell jokes and be silly, something many people don't do. Of course, I didn't realize this until later. I look at events around me and find humor in everyday life - even things that aren't supposed to be funny.

For example, I went with my son to the Peabody Auditorium a few years ago, for a young peoples' concert. I was sitting with one of the other mothers. We always have a good time together, but today we were really behaving worse than the students. During one of the pieces, a little girl across the aisle saw a bug on the stairs of the balcony. We couldn't see it, but a woman a row ahead of us did. She took off her shoe and smacked the bug. Unfortunately, it was during a lull in the music, so there was a loud thump in the quiet.

People looked over trying to figure out where the sound originated. My friend and I, of course, were nearly paralyzed with suppressed laughter. Snorting and giggling, we covered our faces, but it didn't do much good. It didn't help that every time there was a lull after that, she would bring her hands together and say, "thump".

We'd start laughing all over again. I finally decided I had to be the adult here (ironic) and said, "You're going to get us thrown out! Stop that!" 

She leaned over and whispered, "That's because I'm an instigator."

Which got us laughing again! We managed to enjoy the concert, and eventually calmed down, but we were getting mean looks from the teacher. We thought we were in trouble, until she came up to us and said, very quietly, "If you don't tell me what you were laughing at, I'm going to fuss at you."

My friend brought her hands together and said, "Thump."

* * *

Awhile ago I was standing in a long, slow moving line at the Panera Bread Company. Ahead of me was a very tall, thin man in his twenties. Quite good looking and broad shouldered, he was wearing a black leather jacket. Across his broad expanse of shoulder, stitched in pale yellow letters was the word "Pantera". However, because there was a white skull behind the "T", it looked like it said "Panera"

The elderly lady behind me was staring at the jacket with a puzzled expression. She leaned over to her husband, speaking in what she probably considered a confidential tone. "Why do you suppose he's standing in line if he's wearing a Panera jacket? Surely if he works here, he doesn't have to stand in line."

I couldn't let the poor old girl suffer under that misconception, could I? No. I had to set it right.

I turned around, smiling pleasantly at her. (So I was eavesdropping, so what!) "It doesn't say Panera," I explained patiently. "It says Pantera. There's a 'T' in the middle, see?"

They both squinted at the jacket as we took a couple small steps forward.

"Oh," she said with a grin. "So it does! Well, what's that? I've never heard of that. Have you heard of that?" She asked her husband.

"It's a band," I explained, feeling like I was conversing with Miss Emily Lotilla.

"Oh, what kind of music do they play?"

"Heavy metal."

"Heavy what?"

"Metal. Very hard rock, loud, lots of screaming."

"Well, fancy you knowing something like that," she looked very impressed.

"I have teenagers," I told her with a smile.

I didn't tell the old girl I had a CD in my car with a couple of Pantera songs on it that I'd been listening to on the way over. I probably would have given her an aneurysm.

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