I have been thinking about this piece for about a week now. My life is enriched by people surrounding me who entertain a sense of humor. As one who tends to drown in my own deep thoughts, a fresh slant with a lighter sense of being is mostly welcomed. A sense of humor that contains an ageless twist of irony tainted with dollop of sarcasm is best partnered with a hint of self deprecation, dressed in a shade of neutral humility. Conversations are memorable when in the pause between story and ending an element of quick wit is delivered like an after dinner mint.

One of the biggest ways to stifle humor is the claim to be humorous. Life’s training ground is ripe with opportunity to learn how-to be funny, to laugh, develop a philosophy on what is funny, and fine tune the timing of delivery. Innocence plays well on the side of youth. A young sense of humor is allowed great leeway.

A child watches funny movies to experience different forms of laughter. A forced laugh eventually tickles a cough with a demand from another room to quiet down. The sound of amusement ranges from the extreme loud belly laugh back to soft and into silent open mouth expressions. The struggle to find the most appropriate laugh takes effort, but the time to develop quick come backs requires chance.

While driving down the road one day, a grandfather asks his young grandson what was his favorite restaurant. The boy replies, “McDonald’s.” The older man responds, “Well, I called McDonald’s and they said they don’t like you.” The grandfather was amused by his own sense of humor. Not a block passed before the young one asks the grandfather about was his favorite restaurant. The grandfather thoughtfully names a few of his favorites and before he was done with his list the young one tells him, “Well, they called and said don’t come back.”

Laughter is a defense mechanism. A high school freshman sensed the tension of the school lunch line increase when an upper classman cut in. “Excuse me,” says the freshman. The noticeably larger intruder turns to see who dared to call him out. Again the freshman speaks, “excuse me, but the end of the line is back there.” “Yeah, so what, you want me to kick your ass,” questions the rude dude. “I just wanted to make sure you knew where it was and to make sure you are a fast runner.” “Why do I need to be a fast runner?” “Well, you’ll have to be fast if you are going to catch me.” Tension released with laughter, even though the older one stayed put at the front of the line.

My grandson was not listening during grammar lessons and his grades showed as much. One evening we sat at the dinner table and talked about nouns, verbs, pronouns, and adjectives sprinkled with prepositions with little headway. I asked him if his math tutor could help with grammar. My grandson may not be quick with grammar, but he quickly quipped, “For who, you or me?”

Things are pretty rough growing up and, well, right now. Change is needed and it will happen.  Until then, if it can’t change, change the attitude. Let the attitude look for humor in the lighter moments of the day. A good laugh gets the circulation moving and draws oxygen into the system. Laughter is good for you and the environment.