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A Conversation Overheard

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A Conversation Overheard


Laughing and crying. Like salt and pepper, peanut butter and jelly, they go together. Yeah, they do. Think about it. People laugh until they cry, some people laugh through their tears. And, after you finish either process, you usually feel better, am I right? Also, both laughing and crying are essential to survival in life. No one can successfully thrive and function without doing either of these things, laughing and crying. All that emotion kept inside, with no means of escape? Imagine a person who doesn't laugh or cry as a bottle of soda. Shake that person/bottle up and down, shake, shake, shake. What'll happen? Pressure will be building up every time the bottle is shaken and the person holds in laughter or tears. Now, let go of this person/bottle, who has not vented these essential emotions. What'll happen now? The soda sprays everywhere, and the person probably goes nutty. Chances are, either way you'd end up ruining the clothes of the person next to you. Get it? I don't know the exact physical ramification of not laughing or crying, but I just bet you it's something like I just described. You wanna make a bet? Let's talk some more about this laughter/crying thing. It's pretty interesting, don't you think? How they're, like, two parts of a whole or two separate entities? Blows my mind.

I'm racking my brain (how exactly is that done?) to think of the last time I laughed. I'm not talking like getting the giggles and whatnot. No, no, I'm talking pure, unabashed hilarity. The knee-slapping-stomach-hurting-laugh-till-you-wanna-hurl kind. I've got that short term memory loss thing, so my last personal episode escapes me, but I know there's been dozens of occasions where I've personally gone nutty (even without anyone shaking me). But, I find it hard to imagine that anyone hasn't had these fits. Even the most dry, seemingly humorless people have had episodes in their otherwise mundane existences where they weren't in complete possession of their faculties. Just thinking about it is enough to produce a guffaw or two. Okay, picture someone as obscenely serious as a Buckingham Palace guard going off over a Three Stooges movies. Isn't that a riot? Though, seriously I doubt that his taste would run in the vein of three goofy-looking guys poking each other in they eyes and saying, "Soitinly." If you wanna know the truth, I personally find the Stooges boring with a capital b. I never understood how people could like them so much, could you? And did you ever notice it's, like, a guy thing? Not to stereotype or anything, but I bet you that any guy who punches his buddy as a greeting and participates in belching contest is a fan of Larry, Moe, and what was the other guy's name? Corny? Oh, Curly. Yeah, he's the fat one.

Hey, remember when I used the word "guffaw?" What exactly is it, what is its purpose, and doesn't it sound like something contagious? I know of no person who uses this term to describe their laughter. Who actually says, "And when he told me the joke about the bartender and the parrot, I guffawed like mad?" No one uses it, and ditto for chortle, snicker, titter, and all those other synonyms that sound like the names of reindeer Santa Claus rejected.

Have you noticed that people usually describe laughter with words associated with death, a decidedly unfunny process, no? I mean you always hear people going, "Oh, that comedian kills me!" or "I nearly died laughing!" Imagine, I even heard someone say, "Pat Sajak slays me!" The thought! But not all synonyms for death work as well as others. "The new Woody Allen movie is so funny. It simply bludgeoned me!" I think not. Doesn't have a ring to it, does it? No pizzazz.

Ha ha, sniff sniff. How many times has laughter turned to tears, and vice versa? Many a time in my life, kiddo, and I'm sure in yours as well. In movies, it happens like that! (Insert finger snapping noise here.) You see the heroine, or whoever, looking in a mirror, laughing gaily, and then suddenly, those laughs dissolve into tears. Why is that? I'll tell. I'll tell you right now. It's because, like I told you before, laughing and crying are the ultimate pair. They are like yin and yang, fric and frac, salt and pepper, peanut butter and. . .oh, sorry, I was starting to repeat myself there. Anyway, people cry. And just like there's a bunch of different types of laughter (we'll talk more about that later, I'm on a roll now), people cry at all different kinds of stuff. Obviously, there's the sad crying, which I won't get into at length. I mean it's depressing to talk about crying associated with deaths of loved ones, break-ups with your "significant others" (insert that annoying quote thing that people make with their hands here), witnessing hardship like the starvation in Somalia or that ethnic fighting in Bosnia. It makes me sad, so I won't mention it. Believe you me, there is good crying. Did you ever have a day where everything has gone down the toilet, to put it bluntly? Well, when that happens to me, and it happens enough, I just sit in front of the t.v. and something the network geniuses have scheduled is bound to get me sniffling. How they manage to do it, I have no clue, 'cause I'm not the crying type, usually. But, I'm telling you, sometimes even those long-distance phone commercials get me crying. Especially that one, you know, with the guy who calls up his dad after, like, a wicked long time? Is that not the sappiest thing you have ever seen? After I'm done though, crying and whatnot, I usually feel so much better. Crying, it's just, like, a release. Kinda like laughter. Hey, there you go. Another parallel. What did I tell you? (A playful wink should be inserted here).

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking I skimped on the crying bit. Hey, it's my prerogative. Crying is not a thing I like to discuss at length. Should I be chastised because I'd rather talk about laughter? So sue me. Well, what else can I tell you about laughter? Oh, yeah, okay, the different types. Well, there's the funny "ha ha" laughter, the most obvious kind. We pretty much covered that, but I didn't say really what made people laugh, besides that Three Stooges bit. So, what makes me laugh? Just about anything. I have a very broad and well-developed sense of humor if I do say so myself. I especially like "Saturday Night Live." You know Dana Carvey, right? He just makes the whole show. His Ross Perot impersonation is un-be-liev-able, I am not kidding! If you have not seen it, I suggest you do so right away. You are missing some great, I mean great, comedy. It's mostly spoof comedy, something that is hilarious if done properly. It irks me when people imitate President Bush, or should I say the former President Bush, and can't do it for beans, you know? So that's what I laugh at in a nutshell. I can't really articulate what else makes me laugh. Funny faces, funny noises, funny gestures, funny observations, notice a pattern developing here? But what I think is funny is not what you might crack up over, correct? It's that Three Stooges thing again. Some jerky people laugh at other people. You know, like in a mean way. That's rude, so don't do it. Some people laugh when they feel stupid, when they trip or accidentally poke themselves in the eye or whatever. Some people laugh at the person who tripped. I admit to doing that, but only if the person is a friend of mine, they won't get offended because they're your friend, and of course after I make sure they're not hurt. Then I bust. I can't help it. Other than that, I don't know. I think that's everything. So, yeah, you should laugh and you should cry. Just do it, as they say. I don't know how well I supported my bottle theory, but I'm sure you get the gist. If not, we can talk about it some more. Are you free for coffee tomorrow?

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