I was cracking myself up earlier today and this made me remember a conversation I had with my friend Doreen (who does not often read this blog because she is a very busy woman who is not enamoured of computers).
We were literally LOL-ing. Something we did every day because we worked together and face it: we are both funny. No really. REALLY funny. (Not being vain here, it's just a fact.)
The conversation was about laughing aloud alone... or making yourself laugh out loud. Seems this is something we both did on a regular basis, but turns out it is not a universal phenomenon.
I have been making myself laugh since I was a little kid playing by myself in my room. Being an only child does that to you. But never did I consider it unusual or odd in any way. I know there are lots of things about me that are odd, sure, I accept that - hell, I embrace it. But this one got me. I could not believe that not everyone laughs at themselves.
Okay, rarely have I been on my own laughing uncontrollably... but it has happened once... okay twice, I admit it, stop pressuring me! But I do laugh - out loud - frequently. Hey, if I don't think I'm funny who else will? I think it's important to laugh frequently - even if it's just at yourself... or your wacky pets. Laughing at movies or books while alone doesn't count - that's outside interference, I'm talking self-induced hilarity here... pets count if you crack yourself up with the stand-up you're doing for them. Oh come on! Tell me you don't do stand-up routines for your pets.... okay, again, that's just me then. Never mind.
Laughter is absolutely free and as cathartic as crying (and it doesn't make your eyes puffy... though it can make your nose run... okay, just me again? Alright.).
When I was sick, I still laughed. I did it because it covered the bad shape I was actually in. It's a lifelong defense mechanism and a simple case of suicidal depression wasn't going to make me stop working the room. But I didn't laugh when I was alone. Not at all. Not even a grin. I sure did cry though.
And so we come to LOL. How often do we write this in an email, an IM, or a txt msg. Pretty often. Check your old emails - you'll see. This should indicate an abundance people sitting in front of computers laughing the walls down... and yet, how often do you laugh? Are you really LOL? Probably not. But it's become the accepted expression of 'yeah, that was amusing'.
I wish people were laughing out loud as much as they type that LOL. What a wonderful thing that would be! People thumbing away on their blackberries on the street with tears of laughter running down their cheeks. People in offices chuckling and trying to suppress the 'church laugh' (you know, that crazy urge to laugh in inappropriate settings... does any laugh feel as good as that one???)
If we really meant we were LOL we'd all feel so much better, our moods would improve at least a little, and the world might be a happier place for everyone. Don't you think?
No one would ever have guessed how laughter deprived I was in the years I was sick. You couldn't possibly guess, I was laughing ALL the time... in public. But if you'd had a nanny-cam on me when I was alone you'd have known... even when I typed LOL.
Of all the things I have found about life that I love now... new things I never even thought of, old things I'd forgotten I loved... the most important one is laughter. I didn't realize how much I missed it until I got it back. Of course I got it back in public, but I knew the second it happened that it was a real laugh again... and it was an earthshaking experience for me. To finally feel something good in the midst of absolute soul-crushing misery. To hear myself laughing out loud and realize it wasn't part of my act. Startling? Life altering? To put it mildly.
I've been laughing in public and private ever since that laugh. And nothing is going to make me stop ever again. Nothing. LOL