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A Spiritually Enlightening Online Magazine. July's Theme: "Risibility"
Volume 9 Issue 5 ISSN# 1708-3265

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Bubbles, Balloons and Dr. Seuss
by Jennifer Kusz

Warning: Laughter is addictive and highly contagious.
Use without caution and spread freely! Too much of a good thing doesn't apply here!

Some people have a tendency to take life too seriously. I admit being one of those people. Guilty as charged. Convict me now! Life these days is filled with obligation, financial worries, deadlines and hectic schedules. I don't even have any kids (not unless you count the kind with fins, scales and fur). I have no idea how parents of human children manage this crazy life! The end of the work week, Friday in my case, brings relief, but also can find a person feeling weary and worn out. Weekends are supposed to be the time to get things done around the house, run errands, cook and entertain, but that is all work too. If all we do is work, where is there time for fun?

The answer is simple: we must make time for fun and laughter each and every day.

Laughter can get us through the day, the week, and life in general. Laughter lightens the heart, brightens the spirit and brings a sense of joy, even if just for the moment (and really, the moment is supposed to be all that counts anyway, right?). Laughter is the next step beyond smiling, and smiling is supposed to be good for us, so that stands to reason that laughter must be even better! Even a few minutes of giggling, cackling or chuckling can improve one's state of mind.

So, where does one find a bit of laughter in everyday life? Does it require a trip to the movie theater, to see the latest farce? Does it call for a night out at the comedy club? Does one need to go to Disney Land or attend a Gaelic Storm concert to find amusement? No doubt, those things may work, but the answer is no. Finding laughter is much simpler. In the case of my easy-to-entertain wife, all one needs to do is go to the greeting card section at any store and open a few birthday cards. The cashiers at the Hallmark store all recognize her by the sound of her laugh. She has no qualms about letting out a few barks or two when she finds the right card (barks of laughter, of course, not dog barks, in case you were wondering). In my case, watching an episode of Big Bang Theory or The Ellen Show is a perfect prescription for hilarity.

Pets are great at bringing on fits of giggles. I will never forget the day my cats brought me out of a moment of grief, each suddenly and simultaneously breaking into a tail-chasing twirl, Hazel going in one direction and Max going the other. They looked so preposterous; I couldn't help but laugh despite my tears. Simply looking at Dillon, our ridiculously-disheveled terrier mutt, can make anyone laugh, not to mention Daisy the acrobatic Chihuahua-rat terrier mix with her leaping and spinning and catapulting off our thighs. Even my fish makes me laugh, wiggling and dancing for food so vigorously that when I first saw him do it I thought he was having a seizure. People with kids have a wealth of comedy at hand. Kids are masters of all things silly and nonsensical, if only we would stop for a moment to join in. On that note, who says that bubbles, balloons and Dr. Seuss are only for kids?

Laughing at ourselves is equally important. Not only do we take life too seriously—we take ourselves too seriously. Do we really think others are watching and judging us that closely? So I put on mismatched socks (some people actually do that on purpose!). So I tripped over my own feet walking to the car (the offending shoes may be a half size too big, but hey, I like them!). So my dogs are maniacs sometimes on walks (honestly, mine aren't the only ones). So my house, my hair, my clothes aren't perfect. So I have a blemish on the tip of my nose or forgot to shave my legs before donning a pair of crop pants. Does it really matter? Again, I am guilty as charged. Yes, I care too much about those inconsequential things in life, and I'm not alone. There is something to be said, however, about the person who can laugh at his or herself, the person who can say oops or so what? or shrug their shoulders at the little missteps in life, chuckling all the while. We should all strive to be like those people. And for future audience members on The Ellen Show: Watch out, you may have a lesson in just this thing, especially if your Facebook page isn't kept locked down tightly with privacy settings!

Laughter, or risibility (a word I'd never heard before embarking on this particular article-writing journey), is an important and amazing remedy to ailments of all sorts. It can melt away stress, interrupt grief, drive off sadness and stop anger in its tracks. It may not cure our physical ailments, but it might just make it easier to cope. As a long-lasting sufferer of chronic pain, I know all too well how mood can affect pain level and coping ability. The pain doesn't quite matter so much when I'm laughing!

So, the moral of this little story: Life is short. Laugh through it! It will make you happier, and it might just make those around you happier too!

Little Laughter Notes

My favourite recipes for pure and simple joy: Finding Twig the Fairy at the Renaissance Festival; visiting with my witty and nonsensical gramma; watching cute and silly animal videos (especially the one of the cat who likes to stick his head under the running faucet).

Things I laugh most at: the Clumbsy Thumbsy segment on The Ellen Show; Sheldon on Big Bang Theory; my dog Daisy spinning in countless circles when she knows I'm going to share my pancakes with her.

Things my wife laughs most at: silly (or as I call them, stupid) commercials; greeting cards in the funny section; my demonstration of a gosling running through the yard.

Things I can't believe someone was able to laugh at: My friend and her husband have an amazing ability to laugh at all things involving dog poo, most notably the time their dog experienced diarrhea in the truck during a trip to the grocery store. It was all over the inside of the truck. What a mess! I think I would have been gagging and vomiting, but they reportedly laughed the whole way home (with the windows open, of course). My friend's response to the situation was this: Well, we couldn't get mad at the dog for having diarrhea, so we laughed.

My favourite example of someone's ability to laugh at himself: I have a friend who startles incredibly easily. I swear, all you need to say is boo right in front of his face and he'll scream. He must have people scaring him left and right all week long, and he always manages to laugh at himself for it. Of course, the rest of us are laughing right along with him!

My favourite laugh to hear: My brother's laugh — it can be heard from a mile away and is always contagious!

Jennifer is happily married to a wonderful woman, Lisa. Theirs is a union of true, deep, respectful love - the kind we all dream about. Of course we mustn't forget their beautiful little fur-family! Her two cats - Max and Hazel, dogs - Daisy and Dillon, turtles - Maximus, Olivia and Sam.

Jennifer works as an Intake Coordinator at a centre that serves children with Autism and other mental health disorders. She spends much of her spare time with her nose in a book. She is also a writer and poet with a passion for the written word since childhood. Jennifer's writing has been featured in The Prologue, an annual publication of the University of WI, River Falls, Body Mind Spirit Magazine and here at Timeless Spirit Magazine.

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