TODAY THE WORDS are TABOO LAUGHS. This morning I saw some posts and videos on Facebook and I am going to admit I was laughing at a few things which are hilarious when you are watching a video or looking at a picture but could not have been funny to the person it was actually happening to at that very moment. This thought brought to mind a few people who will remain nameless, but who would have to laugh even before helping someone. They can’t help themselves and I call them the taboo laughers…you could be hurt and they would laugh; you could be in danger and they would laugh!
I wanted to share an interesting article by Sally Wadyka on laughter before telling a tale about uncontrollable, taboo laughter:
13 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Laughing
Laughter is a funny thing: Why did we evolve to giggle and cackle and guffaw, and what purpose does it serve besides, well, making the world a happier place? Here, some more surprising facts about cracking up.
By Sally Wadyka
1. Contrary to popular belief, the number one catalyst for laughter isn’t a joke: It’s interacting with another person.
2. That’s because the modern-day ha-ha! probably evolved as a form of communication. Our primate ancestors used a similar sound—a sort of pant-pant—to reassure one another that their rough-and-tumble play was all in good fun and not an attack, says Robert R. Provine, a professor of psychology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, the author of Curious Behavior, and one of the foremost experts on laughter.
3. One of Provine’s earliest experiments proved that just listening to recorded laughing could evoke fits of giggles in subjects (which is why television studios use laugh tracks on sitcoms). In fact, according to his research, you’re 30 times more likely to laugh when someone else is around than when you’re by yourself.
4. The ideal number of words in a joke? 103.
5. “There is no magic formula or key for what’s funny,” says Scott Weems, Ph.D., a research scientist at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the author of Ha! The Science of When We Laugh and Why. But, in general, he says, what often makes us laugh is when our brain is expecting one thing and then, in the space of a few words, that expectation is turned on its head. Take the classic Groucho Marx joke: “One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know.”
6. Ten to 15 minutes of daily laughing burns 10 to 40 calories.
7. Our appreciation for the unexpected starts as early as infancy, although on a very basic level. “Parents will notice that they can elicit a giggle from their baby by making a funny face, talking in a funny voice, or playing peekaboo,” says Merideth Gattis, Ph.D., a psychologist at Cardiff University, in Wales.
8. British psychologist Richard Wiseman, Ph.D., the author of Quirkology, has revealed clear regional preferences for what we find funny. Americans often like jokes that include a sense of superiority. (Texan: “Where are you from?” Harvard grad: “I come from a place where we do not end our sentences with prepositions.” Texan: “OK, where are you from, jackass?”) Europeans tend to laugh at jokes that make light of anxiety-provoking topics, like marriage and illness. (A patient says, “Doctor, last night I made a Freudian slip. I was having dinner with my mother-in-law and wanted to say, ’Could you please pass the butter?’ But instead I said, ’You silly cow. You have completely ruined my life.’”) And Brits? Wiseman finds that they are tickled most by wordplay. (Patient: “Doctor, I’ve got a strawberry stuck up my bum.” Doctor: “I’ve got some cream for that.”)
9. An adult laughs an estimates 15 to 20 times a day.
10. “The same pleasure sensors in the brain that are activated when we eat chocolate become active when we find something funny,” says Weems. “It’s a natural high.” In fact, a 2003 brain-scan study published in the journal Neuron found that the dopamine reward centers and pathways in the brains of subjects lit up when they were treated to a funny cartoon, but not when they were shown an unfunny version.
11. Research has linked laughter with boosts in immune function, pain tolerance, cardiovascular health and maybe even memory retention.
12. A typical 10-minute conversation has an average of 5.8 bouts of laughter.
13. Even those with zero sense of humor can reap the benefits of laughter. How? Fake it. A 2002 study in Psychological Reports reveals that forcing yourself to laugh (or even just to smile) can improve your mood. The human brain is not able to distinguish spontaneous laughter from self-induced; therefore the corresponding health-related benefits are alleged to be alike, according to a 2010 report in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine by Ramon Mora-Ripoll, M.D., Ph.D., an advisory board member of the Laughter Online University, a supplier of online laughter education.
The crazy part about these crazy laughs seems to be they are uncontrollable. People I am referring to are fantastic people and very caring but they are going to laugh. Let me give you an example and for this example, we have to go back to a different time in my life.
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When I owned the decorating business for manufactured homes (in the south, better known as mobile homes or trailers) we were under the gun for completing the houses before a trade show. We had to load our arms with pictures, accessories, napkins, floral arrangements, pillows, dishes, etc. When it was loaded, our frontal vision was blocked somewhat so accidents could happen easily. One wrong step or move and you could find yourself splattered on the floor. Without calling names, Worker #1 was in the house and Worker #2 was loaded with supplies, tripped over the threshold, and looked like a free falling skydiver with all limbs extended and never mind all of the decorating items all over the floor. You would think Worker #1 would have hurried over to help Worker #2 but no; Worker #2 finally looks over to the sofa to find Worker #1 kicking her heels up and down dying laughing. This is the Taboo Laughs I am referring. If this was the only time and if it was only Worker #1 doing it, it would be funny but a couple of weeks later, the roles reversed and exactly as you are thinking; Worker #2 had her opportunity to Taboo Laugh at Worker #1 and so on and so on.
I know most of you have been the victim and the instigator of the Taboo Laugh when no matter what; you have to laugh. I don’t know if there is a deeper thought but here are my thoughts on why we Taboo Laugh. It may be an escape from the fear of someone you care about being hurt. Whatever the reason; it happens so if you are a victim of the Taboo Laugh; remember your time will come. But at this time, try to remember about God requiring us to forgive others.