Who's Laughing At You?

Smiley Aliya.jpg

I am the proud father of a fat little 10 month old baby girl. Last night as I was getting her ready for bed she spit right in my face. No kidding, she puckered up and let it fly right in Dad’s face. And as if that was not enough she just laughed and laughed. And then, she spit again. And then she laughed again. Spit, laugh, spit, laugh….rinse and repeat. I sat there mesmerized at this adorable little baby who was laughing, almost uncontrollably, at herself.

It occurs to me this is a healthy type of thing. I spit on myself and others all the time. While I don’t actually pucker up and let it fly literally, I often find myself butt up in the middle of something socially unacceptable. And most of the time…I’m laughing. The great philosopher Voltaire observed, “God is a comedian, playing to an audience too afraid to laugh.” Well I’m not afraid and I don’t think you should be either.

An experience comes to mind I think illustrates my point rather nicely. Last year I was on my way home from speaking at a conference in Corpus Christi, Texas. As the plane was about to take off something truly magic happened. That day I wrote:

The adorable 4 year old little girl who sat in front of me on the airplane screamed in delight as the plane took flight. I thought of Maddie on a plane at that age. I could not help myself and joined in. As loud as I could, I yelled Wahooo!!! WE’RE FLYING!!! The woman two rows up turned back in shock. The man next to me refused to make eye contact for the rest of the flight. Two teenagers laughed out loud for an hour. I expected a US Marshal to come over for a chat. But it was worth it because, according to the look on the face of my new friend, she and I had drained the marrow out of the miracle of human flight. Also, I got to freak out a few stuffed shirts. 

Life is fraught with romantic comedy worthy moments. Here’s a few you may experience:

  • It’s that moment you find yourself nose-to-nose with a stranger in a crowded hallway. For whatever reason, you both keep moving to the same side in an effort to pass one another and…queue the awkward moment.
  • It’s that moment nature calls and you find yourself sprinting to the public restroom and seconds before you bound through the door, you glance up and see you’re about to go into the wrong restroom (I’ll bet this happens more to the fellas than the ladies).
  • It’s that moment you get home from an evening out only to discover a large piece of food in your teeth.
  • It’s that moment you realize you’ve been speaking really, really loud on your cell phone in a crowded public place and “the people” are looking at you.
  • It’s that moment you move your bottom against your chair in just the right way to produce that horrid sound of unfettered flatulence. Have you ever noticed how awkward it can be trying to explain to someone “that was my chair?” They just never seem to believe you.

The opportunities are endless. My recommendation is laugh right out loud. Even when there are no words, laughter fills the empty space like warm milk on the coldest day. Laughter is marvelously contagious and you just never know who’s watching. In a former life I taught high school students. Many a time my attempts at humor would be met with blank stares while in the distance could be heard the barking of a single dog. I learned early in my teaching career that if only I laugh, it’s worth it. This morning Aliya taught me a lesson I seem to require from time to time. Laugh at yourself. And when you finish…do it again, and again…

For those interested, here is the laughing baby who inspired this post: