I know everyone has had those moments when you’re in an environment that’s serious and you know you shouldn’t laugh or be silly like when at church, but then something funny happens and you just can’t help laughing. You know, that silent laughter that you try to control but it shakes your body and makes your eyes tear. The more you try to quell it the more it rises up. You laugh so hard it hurts your stomach as if you just did a bunch of sit-ups. The worst is when you have a partner in crime with you, who makes it harder for you to control yourself. You know those times? Well, for me almost all of these incidents happened with my mom in cahoots.
One time, when I was seven or eight and my mom was in the dentist chair and I was waiting in the room with her, I moved aside her hair and whispered a little kid’s limerick in her ear. Because she wasn’t expecting it and because it involved a rake and a weenie, she couldn’t stop laughing. Every time the doctor went to work on her mouth she'd start laughing again. It got so bad that the doctor asked us to leave and had my mom reschedule her appointment for another time. We both felt like little kids when leaving the doctor’s office and returned home that day.
Another time, we were at a very important Navy ceremony. It was small and private and very serious, but then this huge guy in army fatigues comes out and blows on this puny whistle, which emitted sharp piecing rhythmic sounds like Captain Von Trapp in Sound of Music. It looked so funny and was so unexpected by us that we erupted in laughter. Although it was silent, we made such a fuss shaking about and gasping for air that we received an evil look from an admiral, but that just made us laugh all the more.
The best incident though was when we were in my high school auditorium for a welcome introductory assembly with parents and all incoming freshman. The place was packed and silent, all the other students are nervous and excited to be starting high school and the auditorium is decked out in red and white—the school colors. After an hour, my mom and I were bored hearing about classes and electives that I had yet to take, when the Q&A started. One parent after another raised their hands and asked intelligent questions like how soon could their children take AP classes and even the percentage of students going to Ivy league schools that year. NO pressure right? My mom then pokes me with her elbow and says out of the side her mouth, “I have a question.”
Recognizing that mischief look on her face, I knew she was going to say something embarrassing, I quickly grab her hands from rising up in the air and hiss, "tell me first." She leans her face close to mine and goes “how much is lunch?” And we both do one of those releasing of breath explosions and can’t stop laughing from picturing how ridiculous that question would sound. Every time I finally got control of my laughter I would see her shoulders lifting up and down and I’d start again. The couple in front of us even turned around and shushed us, which of course made it all the funnier, especially as my mom dismissively waved them off in a gesture that said they should mind their own business.
Finally, we both start taking deep breaths and seem to be more stable now, when I get that mischief look in my eyes and whisper to my mom, “I have a better one, what are the school colors?” And then we were gone…again. When we left the auditorium, my friends ran over to us in wonder asking what was going on, apparently they could see us squirming in the uncomfortable metal auditorium seats in the 1000+ crowd. I don't remember anything important from that assembly, not that it hurt me any, instead I remember how much fun my mom and I had trying to control our laughter and then giving in to it.
PS: This post is part of a a word suggestion (laughter) supplied by Blog-Off For Breast Cancer, hopefully I'll make it to the next round in the competition, so there will be more.