There are lots of reasons to laugh. First, laughter is fun – and fun is reason enough for all of us to laugh lots.
Secondly, because non-laughers are usually boring and uptight people. The kind of people we don’t want to laugh with anyways.
Thirdly, because laughter cleans out the psycho-social pipes when things are bad.
Now you need to know that there are two kinds of laughter: “laughter, the funny kind” (LFK) and “laughter, the mean kind” (LMK). LFK brings people closer and LMK breaks, butchers and belittles that which is important.
I am talking about LFKs or “laughter, the funny kind.”
Cleaning out the pipes: You saw it in “The Bucket List” when Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson laughed until they cried. Well, they needed to laugh. They were both dying and they were leaving those who wanted them to live. (Go rent the film. You will laugh and cry and get your pipes cleaned all at once.)
The laughing contagion: Do you remember in high school when you couldn’t stop laughing and when your teacher threatened you with “whatever” (you were laughing too hard to remember) and that she began snickering too? Laughter is contagious and that is a good thing. You avoided a detention or writing lines or visiting the principal. The laughter contagion brings people together when they are opposites.
“No laughing matter”: You have heard that truism; that the severity of the situation requires solemnity or reverence or some other form of sadness. However, authorities from the Bible to Reader’s Digest remind us that “laughter is the best medicine.” A best-selling Norman Cousins book and a popular Robin Williams film, “Patch Adams,” teaches us that laughter might even heal people. Still, even if you die, laughter is the best way to go. It’s called “dying well.” It’s a funny way to go.
Getting unstuck: Unsolvable problems are usually better solved through laughter than “serious, urgent, important” strategies (“SUI” sounds like a pig call doesn’t it?). If your life has 20% problems and you invest 80% of your resources in strategies like problem solving, worrying about things, and “daring to discipline,” well, you are likely to add to the unsolvability of it all. Makes you want to laugh. Or cry.
“So what’s this all got to do with sex?” you asked.
Good question. Of course if you have looked at yourself naked recently, laughing is way better than crying!
And if you think about orgasms, erections, the “missionary” position, all that wetness, well, it is pretty funny isn’t it?
And of course, all orgasms don’t call for the “Hallelujah Chorus!” (That’s a joke.)
“So, a guy walks into a bar…”
Dr. Paddy Ducklow, Psychologist
Paddy is the Erb-Gullison Professor of Family Studies at Carey Theological College (UBC campus) and is in private practice doing marriage, family and sex therapy.