Wednesday, May 5, 2010
If you know me personally, you know I like to laugh.
I'm not at all like this cantankerous old cowboy on the left. Psst. He's not real. So it would be quite the feat to get him to laugh. Nonetheless, I know you know people like him, people like the English palace guards in Buckingham. They won't crack a smile about anything, no matter how absurd you might act in front of them.
I prefer to hang out with people who have a sense of humor about life. Some people who meet me for the first time, and who come in contact with my laugh right away, have called my laugh infectious. I lean toward the loud side, though, because I believe in belly laughs. I know it's not for everyone.
Once, when I had the opportunity to attend a taping of Jon Stewart's The Daily Show, friends found out and asked me to be sure to laugh on set. They said they wanted to see if they could hear me on national TV. They said they'd recognize my laugh if they could hear it.
Of course, as I sat there in the dark studio, on folding chairs with my group, not 50 feet away from the famous talk show host, I envisioned my friends sitting in a room together, giving each other the high-five whenever they heard my laugh. Maybe they would have made a game of it, I thought, taking swigs of beer every time they heard a cackle. Unfortunately, I must not be loud enough--they didn't hear me, after all. But it sure made me laugh a lot to sit there and try. This, in addition to what Jon Stewart was saying behind his desk on the set.
My point is that laughter, laughing, being able to see the funny side of things is a positive trait, and I'm glad to have it. I find the whole idea of laughter and what makes people laugh inspiring. If you do, too, but don't find yourself laughing enough, here are a few ways you can welcome humor into your life and let it inspire you:
_Sign up for one of those joke-a-day sites. They'll send them in your e-mail box. You can read them when you have time, or you can make it a part of your daily routine. If you're having a bad day, you can read one to cheer you up. You can pass them on to your friends if something you read is particularly humorous.
_Listen for subtle humor in a casual conversation. It happens daily. In our everyday dealings with people, we sometimes say or do stupid things. We misspeak, we say words backwards, we trip over nothing. It's unexpected and catches you off guard. Even if it's not belly-laugh worthy, subtle humor is sure to leave a smile on your face and a quicker pace in our walk.
_Go to your favorite independent store and read greeting cards. Even when you're not sending one, how many times have you found yourself standing in front of the greeting card display at the drug store or Hallmark store, reading the funny ones. It's a great way to pass the time if you're waiting on a prescription or something. My favorite are hoops & yoyo. They're so utterly annoying and so, so fun to give to others.
_Tell a joke to your friends, even if it's not all that funny. That might be the funny part about it.
_Watch for oddball road signs, and take a picture with your phone/camera. Then share them with your friends and family. If you want it to be better than just watching the humorous headlines with Jay Leno, make a big production out of it and create a slide show. If you're really ambitious and creative, you could post it to your YouTube channel.
_Open one of those funny notes sent to you via e-mail and read it, even when you have no intention of forwarding it on to your 20 best friends (who has 20 best friends, anyway?).
_Hang out with your funny friends. That way, if your witty side stays home, you can rely on others to crack open the humor.
_Skip the dramatic movie and go to a comedy club. Even if there's that overpriced two-drink-minimum charge, the comedians at a professional club are going to give you a good show and a few good laughs--in person. It's better than watching a flat screen, easier on your stomach than eating the gallon-tub of buttery popcorn, and you'll have a greater appreciation for the person who is obviously more funny than you are--he's getting paid.
_Make note of the funny things you hear in public. Write them down so you can remember them later. If you're a writer reading this, you should be doing this already. I get a lot of story ideas when I let the humor inspire me.
What about you? Do you have a joke to share with us here at BIKE WITH JACKIE? Can you share with us what happened the last time humor inspired you?
(Photo above taken by Jackie Dishner at Greer Lodge in Greer, Ariz.)