There used to be Readers Digest magazines scattered around my childhood. I didn’t read many articles, but I did always search out the jokes and riddles of the Laughter is the Best Medicine section. They were short and easy to read, and I liked the little cleverness of each short set of lines. And yes – sometimes they were funny.
In the (gaping) span of time from then until pretty much last year, I think I had what I can only call an under-appreciation of the power of humour. I have always loved a good laugh, but I didn’t seek it out. It never occurred to me that one could inject more humour into one’s life. Laughter and jokes were more like the good fortune of stumbling on a penny on the sidewalk. It didn’t help that I didn’t watch much TV.
Gratefully, late to this game (like so many others), I have clued into the fact that popular culture is a great source of good times and good laughs. Last year someone told me to give Chuck a chance. I watched that show to its bitter end, primarily because most episodes afforded me one good belly laugh. Which is sometimes precisely what is needed at the end of the day.
It made me think: there must be more.
I revisited Russell Peters‘ stand up shows, and tried out a few others. This year I discovered Sherlock which isn’t really a comedy but it does combine some great light moments and good fun with mystery and drama. I watched The Heat with my husband. On my bookshelf is People I Want to Punch in the Throat. Beth-Anne reminds me that I can re-read comedy (I thought Bossypants was a great read too). And because Tina Fey created it, I watched the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt episodes (the supporting cast is so funny).
This newfound discovery of humour has given me a more conscious respect for humour, in all its forms. I’ve always appreciated it in person, but words and the screen offer rich possibilities too. I also have a burgeoning realization of the potency of humour – it can be a much needed distraction, but it seems like regular applications of it, like exercise, can have more long-term effects too. Keeping laughter closer to the forefront of the mind can lighten a heavy load, or shed a layer off a gray day.
Like many moms, I’m trying harder to toss myself into the mix of people that I take care of, and finding funny moments has become a regular tool with which to do just that. It turns out that laughter really is one of the best medicines in the cabinet.