Laughing All the Way

Here in Casa Cashin we’re not big awards show people but last night we turned on the Golden Globes since I wanted to see a little of how Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were playing host. We tuned in right as Kristen Wiig and Will Ferrell were walking out to present. I don’t usually find either of them funny (as the eight out of ten people who read my blog “X” me out…) but I was all. to. pieces. over their bit! So was the rest of the audience…most of the audience, well- from what it looked like- everyone except Tommy Lee Jones*. He was not amused in the slightest.

*Before we go any further, perhaps I should note that I’m not a big awards show person because I’m not a big movie/TV person…

Me: Way to be the buzz kill Daniel Day Lewis!

Marc: Not Daniel Day Lewis.

Me: <blink blink>

Marc: Tommy Lee Jones.

Me: Three names. Close enough.

So according to this theory, Daniel Day Lewis = Tommy Lee Jones = Mark Paul Gosselaar = Tiffani Amber Thiessen = Sandra Day-O’Connor = Melissa Joan Hart = Margaret Wise Brown = Edgar Allen Poe = Anna Nicole Smith = Mary Todd Lincoln.

Moving on!

All this to say that it made me really uncomfortable to see someone keeping a very straight face in a sea of smiles. More than a jab at the joke or the joker, I feel situations like this are a stand against all things holy and good. This is of course not the case. I’m clouded by my long-term love affair with laughter. (Trust that I know how yoga it sounds when I say) I am changed by laughter. It’s up there with air and water and sunlight. A good breath-stopping, doubled over, melt to the floor laugh has saved the day, a relationship, a situation more times than I can count. Yes, saved and set things on a new course.

One of the first life-changing laughs I had was with my brother when we were probably 14 (me) and 12 (T.) Some backstory: Up until this time our relationship had been one of cat-fighting, name-calling, and other hyphenated types of constant conflict. He felt I was bossy. I thought he was a tagalong.

So one summer, we’re on vacation in Emerald Isle, NC and after dinner Todd and I take our family’s new camera and go play outside. Remember, this is before phones were cameras so to have something that could be held in one hand and did not have to be hoisted up on one shoulder, a la  local news crews, was mind blowing! So things are going as usual: Todd is begging to use the new gadget and I’m refusing. To sweeten this a little, I believe the reasoning was “You’ll break it!” Of course, immediately after this rejection, I turn and slam the lens into one of the wooden poles that act as the foundation of the house. A nice, sturdy, machine-breaking pole.

The veil suddenly slipped. Imperfection snuck out for a breath of fresh air. I turned to Todd and after a nervous check confirming we had not cracked the lens and then we laughed, a hard grounding laugh.  Folding over with tears drowning our cheeks, we soaked in this relieved and thankful laughter. Thankful for more than the camera’s fate: I had shown my real cards for a second and they were not used against me. I saw what a generous, bouyant, and strong person my brother is in his light-heartedness. He is not weighed down by anxiety, his heart not full of grudges. Lots of space for grace and plenty of room for laughter.

Today it is gloomy and dreary. Everyone has the flu. And to make matters worse, it’s Monday. I’ve picked at least three fights, used my judgment as fact, and came a little too close to writing someone out of my life because of emoticon usage. It’s the definition of one of those days. And on days like this I have to double my intention to take it easy. To loosen up, even though there are no promises that if I do everything will be great. No, puppies will still go missing, children will get hurt, long and trusting relationships will end. Good days do not reconcile or cancel out the bad. But without laughter (and banjo music and time outside in cool air with good people) I too easily forget that the bad and the good can coexist, that the world can hold both, that a full experience of both is what a growth-filled life is all about.

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photo: Sarah Bacharach (of course)

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