A large segment of the human population takes things way too seriously for their own good. The strange anomaly is that most people laugh at the wrong thing and fail to laugh at the right thing. This serious incongruity has robbed people of a healthy attitude towards life in general.
Those who take life too seriously are in danger of missing the great joys of living in a crazy world like ours. I am not sure about the scientiﬁc research but I would guess that for every sad moment it takes one hundred laughs to balance the books. Some people are about ninety-nine laughs short of a real sane moment.
I like the old English proverb that says, “Laugh and the whole world laughs with you, cry and you cry alone.”
From my perspective, if you cannot laugh with someone you will not be able to cry with him or her and have it mean anything.
According to some medical advice, it takes more facial muscles and energy to frown than it does to smile. Of course, the only exercise some people have is frowning and who am I to take that away from them.
I am determined, no matter what, to exercise my right to smile and laugh and enjoy the world around me.
I must confess that I get this attitude quite honestly.
My paternal grandfather was a Past Master in the area of practical jokes. No amount of time was too much to spend preparing for one of his famous practical jokes. His favorite holiday was April 1 and began preparing for this holiday right after Christmas.
The fact that his practical jokes at times got him into trouble did not seem to affect him at all.
Once while in the hospital for an extended period he had somebody smuggle in to him a can of snuff. For some reason he liked chewing snuff. It is the most disgusting habit I know of on earth.
He no sooner received his smuggled goods then he began chewing it. If you know anything about chewing snuff, you know it is accompanied by a lot of spitting. As usual, his timing was impeccable. Just as the head nurse passed his door and looked in, he leaned over and spit in to the garbage can he had next to his bed. The nurse, not knowing about the chewing snuff, thought he was spitting blood and immediately went into emergency mode. Immediately my grandfather was rushed into the operating room and the surgeon and medical team were assembled.
My grandfather was very sick at the time. Some did not think he would get out of the hospital.
Just as they got him situated in the operating room he pulled from under his sheet his can of chewing snuff and smiled at them. The only person in the room that thought this was in any way amusing was my grandfather. The doctors were so angry with him that they refused to see him for three days and conﬁscated his can of chewing snuff.
My aunt and uncle lived right next to my grandfather. My aunt was hyper clean when it came to her house. Dirt in any form was not welcome under her roof. She had a broom that was always within reach because she never knew when a piece of dirt would try to invade her domicile.
That year my grandfather found something new. I am not sure where he found it but he probably spent a lot of time looking for something like this. It was a rubber facsimile of a very nasty looking piece of vomit. To him it was a prized possession.
Most of his practical jokes were executed on April 1. Whenever we saw grandfather coming on this particular day we usually ran for cover.
He went over to visit my aunt and was sitting on the couch in the living room. They chatted for a little while and then my grandfather began to cough a little bit. He said to my aunt, “I haven’t been feeling good lately. I really don’t know what it is.” Then he started to cough a little more seriously, to which, my aunt got up and went to the kitchen to get him a glass of water thinking that might help him.
When she got back, she was shocked to see on her new coffee table a very horrible sight. My grandfather was bent over the coffee table hacking and coughing as though he was in the process of dying. On the coffee table was a very nasty looking piece of vomit.
My aunt went into hysterics. She whirled around and within a moment had grabbed her broom and started towards my grandfather. My grandfather was laughing but not for long.
Suddenly he realized that the ﬂ ailing broom in my aunt’s hand was aimed at him. She chased him out of the house, down the driveway and for at least three blocks yelling obscenities at him that I dare not repeat in public society.
Laughter is the fresh air of the soul. Even the Bible thinks so.
“A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Proverbs 15:13). And, my favorite, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones” (Proverbs 17:22).
I recommend a healthy dose of medicine for your soul.
[The Rev. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife, Martha, in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The church web site is www. whatafellowship.com.]