Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide

Where's Your Funny Bone?

Do you know that laughter actually lowers your blood pressure? That laughter actually acts like an exercise for your insides? That laughter is catchy? Did you know that laughter helps to relieve pain?

My German grandmother used to tell us kids, "Go ahead, cry. You'll pee less." Granny didn't like cry babies.

You say you have nothing to laugh at? Just look around, there are really funny things happening all the time if you are open to a good laugh. Human beings are funny. We all do the most amusing things.

When was the last time you attended an AARP meeting or any senior citizen meeting and the chairperson scolded the whole club for not helping out and volunteering. Now that is funny! I found myself the visiting guest speaker at a senior citizen club recently, and guess what? Right before I was introduced, the president, secretary, and two committeewomen hollered at the whole darn bunch. Then they introduced me to talk about humor. Now that's funny.

I stood there trying to transition from hollering to humor and thought about the silliness of the whole thing. I know how much I like to volunteer for anyone after they have reamed me out. "Whew!" I told the group, feigning wiping my brow, and we were off and running. Everyone needed to laugh away the stress.

Here is another example! Sit between people in a restaurant sometime and just watch the interactions. I saw one exasperated mother in a McDonald's telling her little daughter, "Enjoy that hamburger, it's the last one you will ever get. I'm never taking you shopping again." I remember when I was that mother. Ah, the humor of being human. We say the most ridiculous things sometimes.

Recently I thought I had an inner ear problem. Well, everyone around me was getting attention for some ailment and no one was taking my ear problem seriously. So I went off to an ear doc. My husband kept telling me to throw away the new pillows I bought. "They are the problem," he told me." His unprofessional and unsolicited opinion did not deter me. Old Dr. Ear looked at my ears and my throat and my nose and said I needed to exercise my neck. My neck? I have a bum as big as a chair—a big chair—and he says exercise my neck.

I realized I had to take this ear thing to a higher level if I was to get any sympathy. I told Dr. Ear that I was going deaf in my one ear.

He put me in a big plastic soundproof box and gave me a hearing test. Diagnosis? "You have the hearing of a newborn baby."

"But," I protested, "I have this dizziness."

He told me that they could do a special test. They could put me on a table, spin me around very fast, and then force water under pressure into my ear. I threw away the pillows. I am symptom free now.

After coughing my guts out for 3 weeks, I took this sorry excuse for a body to the doctor. Pneumonia? Bronchitis? Surely double or triple pneumonia. Surely I would be told to go home and go to bed and, "Do not cook, clean, drive anyone anywhere; just lay there and be waited on hand and foot."

Instead I was told to take an aspirin and to work it off. "You'll be just as sick at home as at work," the doctor advised. Now, Alan, my beloved husband who is retired, forgot the name of a book he was reading. The doctor put him in the hospital for 2 days with gorgeous solicitous nurses catering to his every need. Rubbing his back, getting him tapioca, and small tasty snacks were his prescription. No "work it off" there.

How about a movie? Always a laugh there. I remember that big hit, "The English Patient". A very long movie about this doctor who is the patient and all the care he receives. It goes on and on. Then that one Indian fellow takes dozens of crab shells and fills them with oil and lights a path to a very romantic rendezvous for the leading lady to follow. (Actually I don't see anything funny there because Alan has never done that for me, ever.) Or consider "Bull Durham". Remember the bath tub scene and the hundred million candles all around the bathtub. Well, forget that we couldn't fit in the same tub anyway.

But then we have traveled. We went to England in 2001. A dream come true. Our tour took us for a 2-day trip that was the equivalent of the Pennsylvania Turnpike of Scotland with festive stops at Burger Kings. There was a real treat. Four days total on the Scottish Turnpike with a tour guide who had no bladder and no appetite, which made for few comfort stops and fast food.

We did stop by a pile of rubble she told us was the remains of Hadrian's Wall and we traveled over a lot of bridges that had important meeting places of Kings and Queens under them, which we never saw. She debunked the Loch Ness Monster completely and told us it was just a plain old lake and that the monster was for Americans. And the only castle we stopped to see we couldn't go through because our schedule would have been out of sync for the day.

Alan and I did visit the house of Sherlock Holmes on Baker Street. Alan climbed the steps to the third floor. I stayed on the second floor settling into a sofa. (Since Sherlock was not a real person, they let you sit on his furniture.) Two hours later I was giving the tour pitch to visitors while the hostess took a comfort break. Around this time, the hostess asked me if my husband had abandoned me there. She offered to climb the steps to the third floor. No Alan. (Now this is a man who can't find Warrendale and he has taken off in the middle of London.) I found him outside looking frantically for me with a security guard.

The highlight of the trip was the ride back to Gatwick Airport from Victoria Station the day after a bomb threat by Iranian terrorists was announced on the BBC. We were seated on the train when a very Iranian looking man took a seat opposite us placing a nice bomb-sized box on the empty seat next to him. He smiled knowingly at us. It was a LONG thirty-minute ride with my very vivid imagination.

Life is so funny. So full of humor. So wonderful. So tasty. At every age, it is to be enjoyed. Make some good memories for yourself this week.

Go for lunch with a friend, visit a shut-in, volunteer somewhere, enroll in a class, bake some cookies and give them away. Do something just for fun. And smile, the fresh air is good for your teeth!

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