Anybody out there as bummed as I am this winter? It just doesn’t want to stop snowing here in the Northeast. While I don’t mind an occasional day off from work because of the weather, I’m burning up with cabin fever. And having to plan an additional fifteen minutes into your schedule just for putting on your wool socks and down jacket and then finding the other glove is crazy! We know how the lack of light with the shorter winter days can affect mood – making some people feel depressed. Many people find themselves feeling like a large, furry mammal, needing to hibernate. But your employer doesn’t usually buy that excuse. “Sorry, boss, I just really need to eat a huge meal and then nap for the rest of the day” doesn’t cut it when you’re supposed to be out there rolling down the highway.
So, what’s a good way to fight the winter blues? Laughter! This month’s column is designed to actually provide some stuff for you to laugh at instead of giving you a homework assignment of ways to do it. Well, the homework assignment is at the end, if you want the truth. In searching the internet, I have discovered several websites that are tears-running-down-your-face funny. Some just offer a chortle, but laughter nonetheless. Of course, I realize that my sense of humor may not match yours, and that there is always the risk that some humor may be offensive, so, please, accept my apologies in advance if this is the case. Laughter can provide an outlet for dealing with things that are unpleasant in life; one always makes the choice as to whether or not to lighten up and enjoy the unexpected twist that makes something humorous. So, here goes!
Let’s start with… “Children’s Books That Will Never Be Published”: “The Boy Who Died From Eating All of His Vegetables” • “How to Dissect a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle” • “Charlotte’s Web of Lies & Deceit” • “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Soup” • “When Mommy and Daddy Don’t Know the Answer They Say God Did It” • “Pop! Goes the Hamster… And Other Great Microwave Games” • “Curious George and the High-Voltage Fence” • “Strangers Always Have the Best Candy!”
And how about these… “Things You Never Want to Hear Your Surgeon Say”: “Better save that – we’ll need it for the autopsy!” • “Wait a minute. If this is his spleen, what’s that?” • “Stand back! I lost a contact lens!” • “I should have brought my glasses.” • “Max! MAX!! Come back with that! Bad Dog!” • “Oops!” • “Now this is one hell of a needle!”
Here are… “Things You Don’t Want to Hear Your Kids Say”: “You can eat, like, 10 ants before you throw up!” • “Shhhh! Maybe we can fix everything before they get out of bed.” • “Where do we keep the fire
extinguisher?” • “We didn’t get ice cream ‘cause daddy said you’re getting fat.” • “Wake up mommy – I opened the door and the baby got out!” • “I didn’t mean to push it ALL the way up my nose!” • “Oh, you spent years learning another language? Big deal, I can burp the entire alphabet!” • “I just got my ears pierced so I know how to pierce yours if you want.” • “My best friend has lice.” • “Permanent ink isn’t really permanent, is it?” • “Mom! I cut my hair all by myself!!”
And how about some funny quotes from writers like Oscar Wilde (thanks to Brainy Quote for these): “I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.” • “Always forgive your enemies – nothing annoys them so much.” • “There is only one thing in life worse than being talked about, and that is NOT being talked about!” • “Some people cause happiness wherever they go, others whenever they go.” • “I can resist just about everything except temptation.” • “Work is the curse of the drinking classes.”
And, we can’t possibly finish up without including a few gems from Mark Twain (also thanks to Brainy Quote): “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.” • “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” • “Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times!” • “Be careful reading health books – you may die of a misprint!” • “All generalizations are false, including this one.” • “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.”
Now, wasn’t that more fun than reading about how laughter decreases stress hormones like cortisol and increases T cell production by the immune system? While you were laughing at those funny things, your body was actually producing chemicals that protect it from infection and cancers, and might have even been lowering your blood sugar and blood pressure. If you were feeling a little down, you might just feel a little less so now. Your body even reacts to fake laughter, that is, laughter that is forced or produced by something other than funny stuff (tickling, for example). And some of the positive reactions of the body to laughter can last for several days!
When you are driving, find a funny radio show to listen to – one example is NPR’s “Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me!” A podcast of your favorite comedian might do a great deal to get you laughing and feeling less burdened by the woes of winter, as well. Write a funny haiku – those Japanese poems with a 5 syllable, 7 syllable, 5 syllable sequence. For example: “Warmth, where can you be? Need magic to end winter, poof! In Miami!” And, it’s okay if you go over a syllable. I’ll never tell.
So, get out there and start laughing your way to less stress and better health. What have you got to lose, other than that grumpy look on your face and that bad attitude? And if winter has got you down, lighten up and relax – it will be over before you know it and soon we will all be complaining about the heat and dreaming of cooler temperatures!