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The Newcomer

Laugh a little; it's good for you

Laughter comes at the craziest times for me. When it rolls over me, I feel great. 'They' say that laughter is healing. I believe it.

Last week I was in the middle of a tense time, wound up to the nth degree, strung tight as an old fashioned clothesline, stretched to the limit, bent out of shape, riding on empty-you get the picture. It was not just a bad hair day; it was a day gone south.

In that frame of mind, I was attempting to forward an e-mail to a fellow employee in the office. Flying, fumbling fingers hit the wrong icon and the e-mail zipped off to an unknown name. Same thing happened a second time.

I said nothing; thought . . .'oh shucks?' . . . something like that.

Went about my business-still totally wired and harried-then I delved into the e-mail pool again. And there was a missive from the unknown name to which I had accidentally sent my message.

"Why are you sending me this stuff!' his e-mail to me shouted. "Take me off your distribution list!"

Well, I fell over laughing.

I laughed until I was helplessly foolish.

I could just picture this guy somewhere out there, hunched over his desk, wired tight and strung taut just like me, and having the granddaddy of all days that my fumbling fingers had just made worse.

It's weird how laughter can be set off by something that really isn't very funny at all.

That roiling, boiling, silly laughter that takes hold of one and won't let go always strikes me when I am extremely tired or stressed.

It hit me once, a long time ago. when I was sitting in a restaurant at the end of a grueling day.

A mother with two pre-teen girls came in and sat at the table next to ours. Midway through their meal, the girls got an attack of the giggles. The more they giggled, the more the mother admonished them, until she was all but threatening them with banishment.

Then I felt the giggles hop the table and take up residence in my gut. Fight it I did, but the giggles were stronger than I was. They burped out in little squeals at first, then they bubbled over and soon I was giggling harder than the girls.

The mother glared at me, glared at the girls, and then the three culprits looked helplessly at each other and we just giggled harder.

I giggled until my stomach ached. I don't know about the girls. The mom marched them out of the place, throwing indignant looks over her shoulder at me. My escort just raised an eyebrow and shook his head.

That night my grueling day was washed away in giggles. Last week, the laughter drew the tension out of me just like water down a well-plumbed bathtub drain.

I don't need to be convinced. I know laughter is healing.

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