When I was a kid, I went to a memorial service for a man who died way too young. During the service, a monk stood at the podium and chanted, low, rhythmic, droning, and long. The man’s two young daughters sat near me. At one point during the chant, they both started to giggle, and I recall a few adults looking over towards them, with a mixture of surprise and quiet smiles.
I remember being struck by that, by the girls being able to laugh during a memorial service for their own father. I think of that moment from time to time; it’s one of the best examples I know of from my life of the power of laughter and the healing effects of humor.
Humor is an extremely important piece of my life. I make jokes all the time; I look for humor everywhere. It’s a significant piece of my identity. Jessica and I work so well in no small part thanks to how much we make each other laugh. Moreover, I revert to humor during difficult times, sad times, and serious times. Sometimes it doesn’t fit. Sometimes it’s exactly what was needed.
Jessica and I watched this video last night, of a bride and groom up at the altar who cannot stop laughing after the best man’s pants fall down at an inopportune moment. They get a serious case of the giggles – especially the groom – and they just won’t go away. Many of you in wedding-blog-land have probably seen it, but it’s worth another watch:
I love it so much, for a couple reasons. One, I’ve had the unstoppable giggles many times, usually in some sort of situation where it’s caused a lot of awkwardness, like in class. I’m sure everyone’s experienced it before – you start laughing, and for whatever reason, it’s impossible to stop. You look at the floor, you close your eyes, you think of something horribly sad. At a certain point, you think it’s all over. And then it starts again.
Two: it happened during the culminating portion of the ceremony – the vows. The groom gets the giggles, he gets them bad, and the bride has them too. So does the best man, seen wiping the tears from his eyes. For a little while it seems to straddle the line between hilarious and semi-inappropriate, until you realize it’s THEIR wedding. It’s going to make for a great story – “when we got married, Bob’s pants fell down, and your mom and I got the giggles and just couldn’t stop.”
Weddings, in a lot of ways, are pretty hilarious. Everyone gets dressed up and eats fancy food. Then there’s dancing, and a giant cake. And to recognize the hilarity in that, even if it’s involuntary, is pretty excellent.