Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Laugh and the World Laughs With You . . .

Cry and your nose runs. =) Okay, so maybe that's not quite how that saying was originally shared, but c'est la vie. In my family we have discovered that we can only be sad for so long. Then we have to drift toward funnyland to survive. Admittedly, sometimes we laugh at silly things, or items that other people don't find funny. We tend to look for the humor. I truly believe in the healing qualities of laughter.

We most often laugh at ourselves or each other. ;) We have plenty of material to draw upon. Moments like the time my mother hit herself in the face with a piece of pumpkin pie, complete with whipped topping. It was Halloween, and while the rest of us were out experiencing the trick-or-treating adventure with our father, she had stayed home to valiantly hand out candy. In between Halloween visitors, she cut herself a nice slice of homemade pumpkin pie. She added a generous helping of whipped cream across the top. Then she sat in a favorite chair to enjoy her treat. Without warning the doorbell rang just as she cut into the pie. She jumped and managed to flip the entire thing into her face. From what we heard later, she scared those kids to death, coming to the door with her face decorated in pumpkin goo. =)

I have also carried on in the great tradition. I've never hit myself in the face with a piece of pie (that takes great talent) but I have done other interesting things that often promote laughter. It's a gift. One example: a "few" years ago I used to play on the high school girls' basketball team. This wasn't a great achievement, since I attended a small high school and anyone who tried out for anything was accepted. =) The first year that I participated, our coach took our entire team into the local hospital for our physicals.

For this to make sense, I must explain that back then, I was extremely healthy and hadn't been to a doctor in years. This was my first experience with having a physical. And I blew it. When the nice nurse handed me this teeny, tiny little cup and said they needed a sample, I was confused. I obediently went inside that little room and pondered what I was supposed to do. Surely they didn't expect one to "go" in something that small. So I used my creativity.

While we sat around later in the hospital waiting room to see if we were all healthy enough to participate in the sport of our choice, I was unaware that I had caused a controversy. Since my father was a pharmacist, and he managed the local small town drugstore, he was on a first name basis with most of the health professionals in the area. He received a panicked phone call from one of his doctor friends. From what I was told later, the conversation went something like this:

"Tom, your daughter is here for her physical."


"We think there's a problem."


"Yes . . . I'm not sure how to say this . . . but does your daughter have a drug problem?"

"NO! Why would you think that?"

"Well, she gave us a sample . . . and well . . . it's highly unusual. We figure it's one of three things. Either she's on drugs and she doesn't want us to know, or she's pregnant, and she doesn't want us to know, or your daughter has a rare kidney disease---her sample was full of water."

I'm sure you can use your imagination to picture how amused my father was over that conversation. Suddenly, I was whisked away into a little room to consult with the doctor and a nurse, and my basketball coach. I can't remember which one asked the question, but they all wanted to know what I had done. Red-faced, I told them. And they started laughing so hard, they nearly fell off their chairs, including my coach, who never ever smiled. That was the first time I ever saw her laugh. I was given another teeny, tiny little cup with lots of instructions this time.

My entire family made fun of me for a long time over my physical failure. I don't even want to imagine the conversation that took place between my father and his doctor friend after my revelation.

A year later, I was still on the basketball team. Again, the entire team went into the local hospital for our physicals. Every girl was handed a teeny, tiny little cup, except for me. The same doctor who had handled this adventure the year before came walking out with a large metal pitcher and he handed it to me, asking if this would suffice. Then everyone laughed, including my coach . . . and me. It was embarrassing, but it was also extremely funny. I was later told that my dad and this doctor had come up with this plan the year before. Paybacks for scaring everyone, I suppose.

My legend didn't die for quite some time. This story was shared during my high school graduation ceremony. A favorite teacher always told hilarious stories about the graduating seniors. (This didn't take long since there were only a handful of us who graduated each year.) The entire audience roared when Mrs. Passey shared my story. You just think people forget your most embarrassing moments in life. ;)

From experiences like that, I have learned that laughter is the best way to deal with most situations. And it does truly help one's heart to heal. So I challenge all of you out there in blogdom to look for the humor. With a little practice, it's not hard to find. ;) And if you're gifted like my family, you'll have lots of material to draw from.


Nancy said...

Cheri, that is awesome. I love the laughter that comes after the rain. And you were right in your comment down further to me- life does indeed look better this week. :-)

Your poetry (down one post) is absolutely beautiful, and I can so relate to the emotional, raw pain of the first and then the calming of the second poem. And isn't it interesting the style differences between the two. The first is short, chopped into fewer words, raw, angry, hurt. The second is flowing, lyrical, healing. So much like the grieving process itself.

Thanks for sharing, Cheri. Good stuff.


Cheri J. Crane said...

Thanks Nancy. ;) These kind of character building moments take time to wade through, eh? Good thing we don't have to do it alone.

Hugs back at ya,


Candace E. Salima said...

Wow - that's a lot for a teenage girl to handle. I'm so proud of you. You rock, Cheri. I love dropping by your blog. Sadly, I'm reduced to Sunday mornings for cruising Blogland.

Cheri J. Crane said...

You're right, Candance. ;) It was a lot to handle at the time, but it did teach me the importance of laughing off embarrassing moments.

Shellie said...

That was hilarious! Thank you for being able to share that!