"Laughter is the closest distance between two people."
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Author: J H McIntosh
Among my father’s many talents were three I remember most. A terrific sense of humor, musicality, and a keen intellect. Many that knew my father as a red-headed kid continued to call him “Red” even when his adult hair was black.
People greeted Red’s visits in their day-to-day life enthusiastically because he was sure to have a humorous take on whatever was reported in today’s news.
Red began his journey to mastery of the harmonica when at the age of twelve he was confined to bed rest when diagnosed with kidney failure. Of course, singing the verses of his favorite songs added to the entertainment value.
Red’s intellect was not the result of formal education at Harvard, Yale or Stanford, or any school of higher education. In his senior year of High School my father skipped school and while looking for his truant son his father was in a fatal automobile accident. I never knew my paternal grandfather. My father was blamed for the death of his own father.
There was little in the way of a “safety net” in those days so Red, as the oldest of four children became the family breadwinner. I wrote about the impact this event had in Red’s life in my book titled, “Can’t Stop It!” My brother Jimmy and I wrote twelve original songs that punctuate events that take place in the life of fictional teenager Jimmy Rogers’ battle to break from his father’s belief that “life is a cruel joke barely worth living”. You can listen to those songs here.
OK, I’m ten and wake up to my father yelling, “I’ve got that sonnabitch now!” Blam, blam, the sound of two shotgun blasts. All of us rush from the bedroom to see our father standing at the front door with a smoking shotgun. What appears to us initially is Santa, slumped against the barn door, dead.
As you no doubt have figured out, it wasn’t Santa but a Santa suit stuffed with hay and propped up against the barn door. What’s so funny about that? Not much! Especially for my younger siblings.
All of us manage better when we have a good dose of humor and Red was no exception. Humor is like a “knight in shining armor”. Especially when we’re having a bad day, dealing with personal or professional concerns, or even dealing with health issues.
Mark Twain said that “Humor is the great thing, the saving thing after all. The minute it crops up, all our hardness yields, all our irritations, and resentments flit away, and a sunny spirit takes their place.”
Mr. Clemons knew that humor is a life skill from which everyone benefits.
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Benefits of a Sense of Humor?
Being funny is arguably one of the healthiest things you can do. I think of my sense of humor as a principal part of my immune system. When depression arrives, a sense of humor is our best, first line of defense.
Humor also enhances people’s overall well-being. Researchers discovered that those with a “funny bone” have higher self-esteem, more positive effects, stronger self-competency, better anxiety regulation, and better social interaction.
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Developing a Sense of Humor:
Humor is an important distinguishing feature that brings out the lighter aspect of one’s personality. It also aids developing a positive outlook on life.
Lighten up, keep things in perspective, laugh a lot and you will discover these are the best stress management techniques known to humanity. These characteristics will do the most to help you meet life’s greatest challenges.
Scott Weems, cognitive neuroscientist and author of “Ha!: The Science of When We Laugh and Why” said. “There’s so much in the world that can make you laugh or cry, and it’s your choice which of those two to do.” So, I say “laugh a lot”.
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Humor Brings People Together:
The use of humor puts people at ease, especially if it is self-deprecating humor. You become more approachable, more human, someone with whom anyone can talk. People that are fun to be around because they have a sense of humor makes even the most tedious day’s work more tolerable.
Humor is a valuable skill, and those who have it are better able to meet targets and deadlines. We make better decisions and are better equipped to solve problems when relaxed and laughter promotes a greater state of relaxation.
A good sense of humor brings us closer together by strengthening ties and fostering trust. Positively sharing humorous memories and laughter helps improve and grow our relationships. People look forward to seeing those with a good sense of humor, like so many of Red’s friends, looked forward to his visits.
I was with Red the day we stopped by the local bakery to pick up some fresh bread. Red asked the owner: “What did the preacher say when the politician asked, what can the government do to help the church?” The preacher’s answer, “Stop making one-dollar bills.”
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Now if you happen to be one who was not born with a “funny bone” that doesn’t mean you cannot use humor to lighten the lives around you and improve the likelihood the sight of you will bring a smile on the face of others.
If you have a terrible memory, or just do not yet have confidence you can deliver a perfect punch line, you can always point whoever you are meeting with to your favorite funny videos here at Laugh a Lot 247.
So laugh a lot, already! Laugh out loud, laugh on the corner of the street, laugh in the grocery store, laugh when they are fixing your car, fixing your plumbing, pulling your teeth, etc., and eventually, someone is bound to come up to you and ask, “What’s so funny?”