Picture this: a woman and a man sitting in a living room, relaxed, eyes gazing upward toward the black and white TV screen.
They are laughing. Not giggling, not chuckling—they are laughing, and they are laughing so hard that it has become a whole-body experience. Arms and legs are moving, chairs are rocking with the force—tears may be next.
Sitting with them is a woman, younger. Look at them together, and it’s obvious they’re a family.
The younger woman, a daughter, is laughing as well, but her eyes are not watching the TV screen. Instead, they’re flicking back and forth between her parents in front of her. She’s mesmerized by the laughter, by the joy, by the humor—by the pleasure of it all.
The black and white images running across the TV screen make this all feel like it was an idyllic scene from the 50s, but really this was me, with my parents in 2017.
If I were to distill human emotional needs down to three necessary things, I’d say they would be love, humor, and gratitude. I’m sure others would have a different opinion on that, but I’m also sure that almost everyone will agree that humor is one of the most sought-after qualities in another person.
Humanity runs on food, water, sex, and the ability to laugh and make others laugh.
And so, here I was with my parents appreciating the sound of their laughter. The mirth and giddy joy in the room contagious. For those 20-odd minutes of our lives, we were fully present, enjoying the moment—yet also able to push concerns, stress, and worry to the back of the bus.
It struck me as I watched both scenes—the TV and the one playing out in my living room—that true humor is timeless.
It is a gift.
We were watching an episode of “I Love Lucy.” Humor isn’t all black and white—history shifts perspective, of course, but the lighthearted, classic sitcom is still a gem, if occasionally a bit rough. I can only guess that my experience was not much different than that of the people watching it 60 years ago when it first aired.
And somehow, that adds to my experience. Knowing that humor is one way we connect, heart-to-heart, and that we always have.
It wasn’t my own laughter that reminded me of the need for it in life, but instead, the sound of another’s laughter. It was the act of sharing it with someone I love. Perhaps in the rush of our chaotic 21st-century lives, we need the reminder to laugh at ourselves a little more—or at the very least, share a laugh.
May this clip be of benefit to you in the pursuit of laughter:
“Laughter lets me relax. It’s the equivalent of taking a deep breath, letting it out, and saying, ‘This, too, will pass’.” ~ Odette Polla
Author & Editor: Molly Murphy
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