What’s So Funny?

My Mom falls down. Often. And this makes me laugh. Uncontrollably. Hysterically. Painfully.

Before you go all ‘elder-abuse’ on my head, relax. Yes, she’s seventy-one. But, since she left my Dad when she was 64, she’s started aging backward. She now looks 55; we should meet in about eight more years. She’s been checked for osteoporosis, and her bone density lies about halfway between granite and steel. She’s been checked for balance and strength, eyesight and awareness; Doc says she’s fine. Her Wii Fit age is 43.

Apparently, she’s just clumsy.

My sister and I got to joking about Mom at Dad’s funeral. We actually sat and listed the times Mom has taken a header. There were so many, we had to write them down, carefully taking the time to enjoy a good laugh as we reminisced about each event. Her sister’s wedding. The cattle ring at the Simcoe fair. The second balcony at Hamilton Place. The bench at the nephew’s school. The window well at the niece’s birthday party. Playing Monopoly. The cottage. The dock at the cottage. The stairs at the cottage. The pool. The backyard – okay, she did have a concussion from that one, but the hospital visit was a riot!

Oh we sound like such bad daughters. And while someday I may go into detail about these incidents – as well as a great many that didn’t actually involve a fall per se, but some sort of bad luck/injury/mishap, my point today lies elsewhere.

The point here is, that when these things happen – and some of them go back to my earliest memories – I laugh. I love my Mom. But I laugh.

In fact, I laugh at almost anyone taking an unexpected tumble.

My husband still does not believe that I am seriously inquiring as to his well-being when he experiences some misfortune because I am laughing as I ask. There is no one who knows us well who hasn’t heard him proclaim angrily, through pain and gritted teeth, “I’m okay. Don’t concern yourself.” Again, those incidents are fodder for many future posts.

I watch AFV. Religiously. On TV. Online. Reruns. YouTube. (This little number renders me helpless just thinking about it.)

Okay – I’m back. Just getting that link took me 22 minutes to stop laughing – and I’ve seen it a hundred times.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, the Husband.

He insists he has a sense of humour. In and of itself, this is funny. He does not have a sense of humour.

He yells at the kids for eating all the food on grocery day. This is funny.

He yells at the kids, and half way through, runs out of words. If you’re not the kid getting yelled at, this is very funny.

He tells us to stop laughing, “That’s enough. Stop that laughing.” This is hilarious.

He is not intentionally funny. Which makes him a constant source of humour. Even my Mom laughs at him. But he is not funny.

So why not? Well, five kids later, we do have to work to find anything funny. But he wasn’t funny before the kids.

I think we have to learn what’s funny. Babies learn early on – there is nothing on this earth more intoxicating than a baby having a great belly-laugh. (My boys agree – I watched from across the church as the pair of them got the baby in front of them laughing so hard he threw up all over his mom’s new coat. My sweeties got laughing so hard over the baby that they were asked to leave.)



But I distinctly remember having to explain over and over to my kids what was and wasn’t funny. Why it was funny. How to fix something they said that wasn’t funny. How to laugh ’til they cry. Between the five of them, that took up about 11 years of my life. but they’re coming along now.

(It occurs to me now that not one of them was born with the funny gene – apparently taking after Dad!)

They now laugh regularly with me.

One son has perfected the art – makes the best jokes, the farthest reaches, gets it every time. He’s nothing but fun now.

One daughter laughs at things she thinks up and doesn’t bother to share with the rest of us. Entertaining-squared.

One daughter suffers from girly giggles and laughs all the time, regardless of the situation. But, if we can understand her mumbling, she is genuinely funny.

One daughter tries hard not to laugh – is the most like Dad – but every once in a while the smile wins out and she snorts like a prize hog.

The other son, the one that keeps me up at night with worry, is impossible to yell at. The minute I make eye contact with him, no matter how mad I am, I bust up. I have to ‘reproach’ him back-to-back to maintain my composure. I had a conversation with the other boy one day. He was doing homework – studying body language – asked me which eye I look at when I’m talking to someone. I immediately told him their right eye. I’m very aware of this; can’t keep my train of thought on the listener’s left eye. Handful son leaned in the room laughing at me, “So what do you do if the person has an eye patch on.” I laughed, shrugged, and admitted, “I stop talking.”

Two weeks later I was furious with handful son – can’t remember why – but stood yelling at him in the living room, when he suddenly and abruptly slapped his hand up over his right eye, piercing me with the other. It took a second, but when it hit, it hit hard. Now I know why I can’t remember why I was mad.

In the end, I laugh at all the wrong things. Even now, thinking about the conversation the other night that led to this soul searching, I’m here, all alone, laughing out loud, trying to type with tears streaming down my cheeks – again. I think I’m laughing more at the circumstance surrounding the event than the actual event. I am not laughing at an old man left out on a hot sunny golf course all day to watch over the hole, with no bathroom breaks, etc. I’m laughing at our stupidity that not one of us noticed/remembered him. Writing it down doesn’t sound funny at all. But I’m laughing now.

I laughed the other night, in front of strangers who now think I’m some kind of nutcase.

But I can’t help it. Funny’s funny. I don’t know why. All I know is that nothing feels better than a good laugh. And if I can’t stop myself from laughing at others’ misfortune, as my husband calls it, there will always be a steady supply of feel good laughs.

I suppose that there are worse things in life.

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