I am in love with that feeling. The one that starts deep in the pit of your stomach, then bubbles up, growing bigger and bigger and climbing higher and higher in your body, until it consumes your entire being and bursts out of you in a series of wonderfully weird sounds. Laughter so gloriously uncontrollable that sometimes the feeling of undiluted joy can’t be captured by a sound and you just sit there, silently heaving and waving your hands around like an excited seal. An emotion so exquisite that it literally reduces the biggest, strongest and serious humans to convulsing wrecks, faces split in two by a cheek aching grin, cheeks streaked with streams of happiness that gush from sparking, wild eyes. If you think about the physical consequences of laughter, the convulsions, shortness of breath and the tears, it is slightly reminiscent of a serious neurological condition. This condition is aggravated by certain external stimuli, including vines of dogs licking lemons, and little children smothered in peanut butter. We are sometimes directly exposed to triggers, in the form of best friends and dad jokes. Internal stimuli are make us prone to laughter, as memories cause us to relapse, or in my case, as I go through the day having conversations riddled with witty puns in my head.
According to my expert medical informant (Wikipedia), laughter is extremely contagious. I decided to put this theory to the test and marched outside to find humorous human beings. A minute later, I marched back inside because it was drizzling and had dropped below 10 degrees Celsius. Undeterred, I turned to yet another source (I am a journalist, I have many), and with great precision, typed the word “Funny” into the google search engine. Two hours later I emerged with full blown symptoms of someone who has had a prolonged bout of laughter. With blurry eyes, aching cheeks and a burning rib cage, I beckoned to my digs mates with a clawed, cramped hand, summoning them into my infested room. There the three of us remained, clinging to one another for support, clutching our agonised jaws, and making beautiful barking, choking, and insane screeching sounds together.
“There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”
― Charles Dickens,
I had a friend in high school that I found so utterly hilarious that we couldn’t do the same subjects in fear of being kicked out of the year for continuous disruptions. It was a serious enough case of Laughter that no words, pictures or videos were required. All it took was one sly glance and that would be us. Paralytic. We went to different universities and life seemed to get in the way of our chats a bit. However, whatever the little virus of laughter is made of, hers and mine are the same. For the last two years we have sent each other, on a weekly basis, a minimum of ten funny memes and videos that the internet is continuously creating. A thousand kilometres lies between us, but every week we spend a few moments laughing with hysterical abandon together. So, by the time I walked into the writing labs ready to complete the assignment (researching laughter evoking images and videos), I realised that I had been prepping for this practical for about two years.
Initially, it was bit daunting to nominate a funny video, despite the fact I basically could recite the URL’s. The thought of someone staring blankly at the video of a giggling baby having her nails cut struck fear into my soul. However, ten minutes in and the air was filled with a glorious cacophony and unique giggles, chuckles and snorts. The moral of my story is this- if ever you see someone portraying the symptoms of laughter, run to them, breath in their energy, let it flow over your cells and multiply within you. Infect as many people as you can.
With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come- William Shakespeare