Category Archives: laughter
the stories that make me laugh out loud every time
my sister frequently reminds me that i need to write another “Love Of Laughter” installment, and i agree. this particular story sent me into breathless, crying laughter after it happened, and then again every time i recounted it to someone. so here ya go.
sometime in the early third trimester of my pregnancy with graham, we had almost completed the nursery and everything was looking good in there…but smelling a little too “new.” (probably only to my sensitive nose. we chose non-toxic, zero-VOC everything.) i wanted to give the room plenty of opportunity to air out before bringing our little one into it, so we left the door open and the fan on 24/7.
the only problem with this arrangement was that our dogs had been the previous inhabitants of that room, and they were particularly curious about all the changes. while we have now successfully drawn an invisible barrier that they recognize, at the time they kept wandering in and rooting around in stuff. our temporary solution was to place graham’s inherited rocking horse in the doorway. it perfectly blocked the opening at doggie-height, while being low enough that the humans in the house could easily step over it to pass in and out of the room.
a pretty clever solution…that is, until you throw a clumsy forgetful pregnant lady into the mix.
one saturday i was headed into the nursery with an armful of books (what else?), and the pregnancy hormones must’ve fogged up my memory. (so nice to have that excuse, sometimes!) i obviously couldn’t see the obstacle between my burgeoning belly and the load i was carrying, and i didn’t remember it was there, so i hit the wooden horse with the full force of a pre-mommy in nesting mode.
my reflexes are usually pretty sharp, but those pesky hormones worked their special magic (again, a valid excuse, right?) and i went down in the most ungraceful slow-motion spill.
when i say slo-mo, i mean that it seemed to take forever before i was finally motionless on the ground. there were several moments of me alternately catching and losing my balance, and i could hear my grunts and gasps narrate the entire thing.
“oh! ugh! gah! oomph! engh! ouch!”
i went on like that for at least five seconds. the fall lasted long enough that i had time to hear my own gruff exclamations echo back and think to myself, you sound just like the grape lady.
seeing as you can’t hear my cacophony of guttural growling as i tell this story, and may not know of the grape lady, you may not be laughing just yet. but i am. sitting in front of my computer and laughing.
enter my loving husband. having heard the racket of bangs, bumps, and groans, he came to investigate. observing his pregnant wife lying in a tangled mess on the floor, the first words out of his mouth were, “did you fall, like, fourteen times in here? what an idiot. you sounded like the grape lady!”
and even though i was bruised and sore, and a bit annoyed that he was not more concerned about me, i couldn’t stop laughing. the fact that he was thinking the exact thing i was, and that he said it so frankly, was so hysterical that soon my sides were sore, as well, from laughing.
long after he helped me up (finally!) and we went about our day, i found myself stifling giggles as i remembered how hilarious i sounded. it was just like this (about 15 seconds in):
every nursing mama knows that breastfeeding can be an exhausting, wonderful, frustrating, rewarding, confusing, tender journey. most women welcome experienced advice and encouragement in the beginning, which is why lactation consultants have full-time careers mentoring breastfeeding mothers, and volumes have been written on latching, milk supply, positioning, “let down,” pumping, and every other aspect of this amazing gift.
however, i’ve found that there are a few cautionary tips missing from the standard literature on breastfeeding, and i feel it is my duty to pass along this information.
what the experts say: breastfeeding can be a sweet time of bonding between mother and baby.
what they forgot to mention: don’t try to connect with your infant by talking to him while he is feeding, as he may decide to stop drinking and smile at you while the milk is still flowing, drenching you both.
what the experts say: nursing mothers need to consume extra calories to produce milk for the baby.
what they forgot to mention: refrain from snacking while nursing. crumbs falling on your baby’s head may cause him to jerk his face upward while still latched, and this is to be avoided at all costs.
what the experts say: with practice, baby’s latch will become more effective and comfortable.
what they forgot to mention: even professional athletes miss the target sometimes. if something should go awry on the approach and your baby’s latch lands an inch or two off-mark, try to keep your screaming at a volume that won’t damage the baby’s hearing.
maybe these advisories can make it into the next edition of The Breastfeeding Book and help other new mothers out there.
another installment of the Love Of Laughter list is way overdue. i’ve found, unfortunately, that the majority of the laugh-out-loud-moments on The List are truly of the “you had to be there” nature. i’ve got a few more that i’ll share here, though, and new moments are being added to The List all the time. hopefully this short story will bring you a laugh.
i was engaged in one of my most favorite activities: riding the snowy slopes of colorado. it was later in the day and we had worked our way to one of the higher peaks on the far side of the resort, where the only lift to the the top is something called a “t-bar.” for those unfamiliar, this is basically a series of bars shaped like an upside down “T” hanging from the moving cable, rather than chairs. the bar pulls you along the surface of the snow on your skis or snowboard.
the ideal method is simple: grab the next approaching bar when you reach the front of the line, nestle it between your legs with the arms of the “T” snugly under your butt cheeks, and hang on. the bars have a retractable feature that allows them to stretch to accommodate the appropriate height for the individual using it, then recede back into place so it won’t drag the ground when unoccupied. as soon as there is no longer weight on the bar, it draws back to it’s initial position.
now that we all understand the rough mechanics of a t-bar lift, on to the hilarity.
as my slope-mates and i waited our turn in line, we couldn’t help but notice a boisterous group of male 20-somethings just behind us who were doing what guys do: ribbing each other mercilessly and laughing hysterically. they actually kept us quite entertained, and the wait went by quickly. when it was almost our turn, i happened to overhear the couple in front of us discussing the proper way to mount the lift…in increasingly urgent tones.
now, we’ve just learned that using a t-bar is as simple as taking a seat in a chairlift, but because most people haven’t used a surface lift since ski school when they were seven (if that), the unfamiliarity can be intimidating. and the less-trafficked areas don’t always have lifties working there to coach you through the process.
the man moved forward first, cautiously grasped the bar, and tucked it under his backside. only, i think he must’ve put it to one side instead of between his legs, because he got turned sideways. once his skis were perpendicular to the direction the lift was moving, he was jerked right off the seat! he toppled forward forcefully and face-planted in the snow a few feet above the start of the lift.
at this point the raucous group of guys was hooting and pointing at the poor embarrassed man lying face-down with his skis in the air, and my party was trying in vain to suppress our laughter. the commotion didn’t register for the fallen man’s partner, though. she was concentrating so intently on her own execution of the t-bar technique that she didn’t notice his misfortune until she was nearly on top of him, at which point she abandoned her bar and jammed her poles this way and that in an attempt to avoid crashing into him.
this is where it gets good. to add insult to injury, the woman’s released bar, which was loaded with tension from being pulled out to it’s fullest extent while she sat on it, sprang back into place via the man’s location on the ground. he lay there, prone, while the bar shot forward and smacked him hard on the backside! the roar from the group behind us drew the attention of everyone in line. they were freely razzing the humiliated skier as if he were one of their own, now.
“oh! you just got spanked!”
“hope that snow numbed your pride, dude.”
“um, the idea is to plant your a** on the bar, not the other way around.”
“don’t just lie there like a moron, man!”
(in response to his friend) “what would you do, dimwit? the worm?!”
if we weren’t already in fits of giggles from the scene unfolding in front of us, we certainly were doubled over from the peanut gallery behind us. by the time the shamed pair collected themselves and retreated to the bottom of the hill, we were breathless from high altitude laughter.
i don’t usually enjoy laughing at someone else’s expense if they’re not joining in the glee, but sometimes the situation makes it nearly impossible to keep a straight face.
image via teara.govt.nz
it’s hard to imagine a Love Of Laughter story emerging from a scene that delivered the worst news of my life, but that’s just what this is. the fact is, it elicits a burst of laughter even now, even when i recall it in the hardest of moments… so for what it’s worth, it fits the bill.
the setting is mom’s last appointment with the team of doctors at the NIH. the ultimate outcome of that meeting was learning that their experimental drug combo was having no effect whatsoever on mom’s cancer, proven by the growth in her tumors during the treatment time. but before we all forget that this is a LOL post, i’ll get to the funny part. the really hilarious part.
the clinical trial fellow bearing the news was the sweet, soft-spoken dr. lee – a tall, beautiful korean woman whose sparkly gold toenail polish poked fun at her ultra-intellectual demeanor. i assumed that dr. lee was absolutely perfect at everything based on our experience with her up to that point. i was wrong.
in order to help us understand the results of mom’s scans, she resorted to the same technique as many a doc before her – a sketch. only it was immediately clear that dr. lee must’ve struggled in elementary art class. she proceeded to draw a large circle with two ovals hovering inside toward the top of the circle. i presumed these were to represent mom’s body and lungs. i’m not sure where her other vital organs disappeared to, but since the lungs were our biggest concern at the moment, i let it slide. and then, ah, yes, the addition of stick legs and arms and shrunken faceless head confirm my suspicions. we are now looking at something similar to this:
at this point i’m a little giggly at the drawing, but maybe i’m just anxious. and then she sends me over the edge. the good doctor adds a feature to indicate which is the left side and which is the right (because it’s not like a mirror…it’s like you’re standing behind the person…which might explain the absence of a face…nevermind).
the distinguishing feature is obvious: mom had only one remaining breast. so dr. lee carefully traces the single breast into the drawing–without her narration i wouldn’t have been able to identify the foreign object–affixing a half moon squarely between the spindly arm and pea head.
it was all i could do not to snort out loud, looking at mom’s little character with a boob on top of her shoulder, larger than her head, attached to a balloon of a body! i glanced at dad, who i swear cracked a grin, and had to work even harder to maintain my composure. this is a replica of the final masterpiece (minus the ominous inky blobs that dr. lee added throughout the picture after that):
doctor lee may not have been the best artist, but she did us an unintentional favor by bringing some levity to an otherwise humorless situation.
p.s. i can’t deny that this may have influenced my comical view of the sketch:
now that’s something to laugh aloud at!
cooper is the canine george-michael bluth. at least when it comes to games of catch. i’d like to pretend that he’s been influenced by episodes of arrested development repeatedly playing on the television, but i’m under no delusions that cooper learned his flinch-and-duck reflex from studying michael cera.
nope, our playful pooch is an aggressive athlete in many arenas, but when an object – any item, small or large, soft or hard – flies in his direction…he’s a wimp. even when it’s a toy. a toy that you’re both playing with. a toy that he is springing up and down for. toss it his way, and he dodges it like it’s on fire.
i’m not kidding. he could be drooling over a treat in your hand and flee from it the minute if leaves your grip in a slow, soft lob. the very thing that he was just a nanosecond prior begging for with those big puppy eyes is instantly the most terrifying threat known to doggie-kind. it makes me laugh out loud every time.
this absurd response is almost the only reason the dog will break a stay command. cooper will stay put for ages, even if you forget about him (er, i mean, not that i would know that) he will still be waiting expectantly for you to release him. unless you flip a treat toward him – then “stay” is a dim memory.
i think a game of frisbee in not in his future.
i’m going to try to get it on video, but until then, view the original “cower instead of catch” move:
in order to enjoy this LOL story from The List, we’re going to work through an unconventional set up process. i think the incident is funniest when visualized in real-time, but so much happened in the matter of approximately 1.2495 seconds, that i’m going to need to explain the details slowly at first. then, once we can all envision the action sequence, we’ll go through it again real fast. okay? great.
so, it was a typical weekday afternoon after high school, and The Boy i was dating had met me at the drive-in joint for what we here in oklahoma refer to as a “coke date” (but you don’t actually have to order a coca-cola, or even a soda for that matter…oh, nevermind).
as we stood on the curb saying our see-ya-laters, sipping on styrofoam cups of fizzy refreshment chilled by perfect ice (some of you know what i mean), The Boy reached in for a goodbye hug. we embraced in the same way that we always fit together: his arms around my waist and mine around his neck.
if you’re keeping track, this placed his drink behind my back. when we pulled away, my arms were moving down toward my sides as his (transporting said beverage) traveled around from behind me, naturally. inevitably, my descending elbow tagged the hand holding the cup and knocked it loose from his grasp. it was presumably still precariously clutched by a few fingers, as evidenced by his lurch forward to attempt a save.
at the same moment that The Boy was lunging toward his falling drink, i comprehended that my elbow was connecting with something foreign and jerked my arm back in the opposite direction. yes, toward his face. which was itself rapidly advancing toward my fist.
my punch connected so solidly with his jaw that his forward momentum was immediately reversed, sending he and his beverage flying in opposite directions. i was left standing there, the lone survivor in the short lived battle, holding my drink in the non-violent hand and my mouth hanging open in surprise.
so let’s replay that without the slo-mo, shall we? are you ready? read as fast as you can: sweet hug…elbowjab-suckerpunch-TKO! to put it in comic book terms, because that’s what the sequence most resembled, would go something like: “aww…BAM! POW! ZAP!”
if you’re wondering, he didn’t dump me after i flattened him with a blindside blow. but now i’m wondering if it’s because he was sweet and understanding, or scared that i would beat him up.