Honestly, what is it with laughing? It has got to be one of the weirdest things we humans do.
Picture a group of people sitting together at a meal. Suddenly, amidst the slurping, chewing, and talking, there’s an explosion of cackling, like a hysterical chicken spotting a fox. In the midst of seriousness, laughing seems utterly bizarre.
But it’s much stranger than that. Chortles, chuckles, nervous giggles, sleep apnea-like plosives, and donkey-type braying are merely a handful of examples of what makes laughing distinctive. No other mouth sound is so common yet so strange and unique.
When apes do it, I understand their version of laughing signals danger, not delight. Now just imagine we did that:
“Darling, you’re going too fast! Ha! Ha! Haaa! We’re going to crash! Ah, hah, hah, hah! You’re killing me”.
Or, “Hey there’s an angry mob in the street. [Hysterical laughing]. They’re starting to bust up the place. What a riot!”
It’s ridiculous. Yet, isn’t it the ridiculous what gets us cackling in the first place?
The more you roll it around your head, the more strange laughing is.
Some silly things will get you falling to the floor laughing your head off. While, something equivalent merely puts a frown on your brow. For something so light-hearted, laughter is bloody complicated.
Apparently, in Japan they’ve been running smiling and laughing classes for donkeys years. Because salarymen don’t know how to laugh. Yet, many kids find it so easy to laugh they have trouble stopping.
Worse, they won't shut up.
When we start laughing something unravels inside our mind. It’s the unrealized stress of looking serious. In the act of letting go of trying to be important, we rediscover our more pleasant self. That smiling, relaxed, and joyful person we all too rarely see ourselves to be.
But, like tickling your own feet – laughing can’t be forced. You need to be in the right frame of mind and, even then, something has to hit you as wonderfully ridiculous.
Thankfully, you can get to laughing with deliberate decision. Or at least pretty close.
Like when you choose to engage in play the way little kids do. Pretty soon, you stop being so seriously grown up. Because it's hard to be like that when you're being silly , playing chasings, and enjoying a simple game.
On the way, you're laughing before you know it. Which is good. You feel better, and you forget about all your worries and your responsibilities for a while.
How good is that?!