On Laughter

As a kid I laughed A LOT. I hope all kids do, but I have distinct memories of snorting soda out of my nose from laughing so hard. I also – more rarely (thank god) – remember peeing in my pants from laughing so hard. (And then having to figure out how to make sure NO ONE KNEW!) Then there was the fateful day in the school cafeteria in 6th or 7th grade when I got to laughing so hard that I snorted MILK out my nose which made everyone else laugh around me which made me laugh even HARDER so I PEED IN MY PANTS TOO!

That was a two-fer day for ole’ tween Zoot.

I don’t laugh that hard as an adult NEARLY often enough. I mean, I don’t really want to pee in my pants as a 43-year old woman (although, let’s be honest, it probably would happen a lot easier with this body) but I do miss laughing that hard at ANYTHING. I think the world is that funny, I just think my self-conscious instincts kick in to protect me because that kind of laughter is uncontrollable and I don’t like being out of control as an adult. 

I have lost control though – when I’m tired. Which always seems to be when I’m around my running friends. I remember one particular trip to Target after an all-night run where we were EXHAUSTED and was just sitting on the ground in the parking lot behind our car laughing so hard that I couldn’t even stand up. I HAVE NO MEMORIES OF WHAT WAS SO FUNNY. But I remember the laughter.

Lately I’ve been constantly just a little bit tired which means I do get the giggles a lot more. I got the giggles just this weekend at the reaction of some friends when we were talking about having beer in the shower and I mentioned how good having oatmeal in the shower was.  I realize after-the-fact how hilarious that sounded, because they all reacted like I had said the craziest shit in the world.

BECAUSE I KNOW YOU ARE WONDERING: If you’ve ever been SO COLD that the shower is to warm you up, then have oatmeal WHILE YOU SHOWER because that warms up your insides too! This is wisdom shared from a running friend after a very cold 20-mile trail run in the middle of winter.

I didn’t laugh so hard I wet my pants (THANK GOD) but I did get the giggles which are harder to control when you feel like you haven’t slept in months. I also got the giggles yesterday when I was making an appointment on the phone and I said that my car needed it’s “gas changed” instead of “oil change” and my brain suddenly imagined being someone who really didn’t know the difference and I got so tickled that I’m certain the lady on the other end of the call thought I’d lost my damn mind.

Today is a hard day for a lot of people in this country. It’s an anniversary of fear, pain, loss, and grief. But there are also many people running for their lives under the threat of Hurricane Florence. I just feel like today, most of all, I need to reflect on laughter and the importance of having it. I hope when the storms past and the memories subside, everyone can find a reason to giggle in the near future. 

I just hope not SO hard you wet your pants. 

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