Happy New Year, and all that stuff.
I am sitting in a very quiet apartment, drinking tea and watching over my dying cat. The kids are both out with friends; I’ve deliberately turned off the big computer so that I can get distracted by this/that/the other thing and not think about the work that’s waiting for me. There isn’t even any traffic outside. All I can hear is the blurble of the fish tank filter.
‘Cepting for the cat, life is good.
My godmother wrote me a letter, which I received a few days ago. (Yes, a letter. Not an e-mail. One of those pen-and-paper things. Some of us old people still do that.) It was a nice letter, in which she talked about the things she’d been doing. Then, in the middle of a paragraph on Death of a Salesman (she’s an English teacher), she asked if I laughed very much.
This doesn’t strike me as an odd question: it’s really quite logical. My godmother has known me all my life, and she knows that I’m a serious person. Polite people describe me as pensive. I admit that I rarely smile, and I laugh even less. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed a whole lot. Things entertain me, and even amuse me, but they infrequently elicit any sense of hilarity. I’ve never quite gotten the thrill of stand-up comedy. “The Funnies” aren’t actually all that funny to me. Jokes are usually something that I withstand because my ESL students’ parents are paying me to listen to them talk.
To be honest, I don’t like laughter. It’s loud, and it feels weird. While I understand the science, both chemical and behavioural, behind Madan Kataria’s Laughter Yoga, it’s one of those things that I have relegated to the “don’t get it” corner of my mind, along with shopping, sports and math.
Sometimes, though, things strike me as funny… and very few other people understand why I’m laughing. I don’t look for funny things: they’re funnier if they just come around when they’re ready. For the past couple of days, I’ve been making a list of things that make me laugh.
· My son says, “Meow, I’m a horse.” He says it in a voice that’s both offhand and deadpan. Gets me every time.
· My daughter’s laughter – a deep chortle that often reduces her to tears – is highly contagious.
· black humour (Was looking for a site to link to this and found the Black Humour Facebook page. That photo has me laughing.)
· Rowan Atkinson’s 1980’s obsession with carrots. He doesn’t deliver the carrot lines the same way now, so I guess he doesn’t think carrots are funny anymore. I still think carrots are funny.
He’s my replacement for Peaches, who was a puppet with a very expressive face. But Peaches wore out. Now Duck does the expressing. Sometimes he indulges in an identity crisis and pretends he’s Saint Andrew on the cross.That’s all I can think of. There are other things that I think are funny, but they don’t make me laugh.
No, dear Godmother, I don’t laugh very much. But the best medicines should be taken in small doses.