In the 1920’s and 30’s, overly sentimental poems with subjects like Mother, Love, Friendship, and Encouragement were popular. Copies of these poems were often put into small picture frames and hung in people’s homes.
I suppose the best way to describe this poetry today would be “corny.” Or nostalgic. Or naive. Or innocent. They come from a time when life wasn’t as complicated. Here’s a sample:
A Little Trick of Laughing
A little trick of laughing
… When all your plans go wrong,
Will turn a fit of growling
… Into a cheerful song.
A little trick of laughing
… When skies are dull and gray,
Will make your life worth living
… And roll your cares away.
Corny? Yep. But the words were sincere and special for the giver and recipient. And, as far as the message is concerned, we all know laughter to be a good thing. For the body. And mind.
However, there are times when laughing can be awkward. As a kid, do you remember giggling in church or at a wedding? And trying to stop yourself, which only made you laugh more? Or, as an adult, something in a conversation triggers your laugh meter? When laughing is totally inappropriate?
But, that being said, some of the greatest times occur while sitting around with friends, just talking … and laughing. The mood from that time can stay with you for hours. Even days later, you can think about it and just laugh to yourself.
Sometimes what you’re reading can bring a laugh. For me, one such moment occurred in The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Skeeter arranged for all the extra toilets in town to be delivered to Miss Hilly’s award-winning front yard. It made for a great laugh. (And wonderful revenge.)
The opposite can also occur with written text. As a writer, you may have labored all morning on three pages, only to decide, as you read it, that after all your effort, you’ve produced nothing but junk. Oh boy, this is when you really need a mood changer. Going for a walk might help. Or slamming a door or two.
Or, just maybe, it might help to get together with a friend and have a good laugh. Not take yourself so seriously. And, maybe, one of two things will happen later. What you wrote may not look so bad or, if it is bad, you’ll know how to fix it. Whatever happens, you’ve at least had a good time with a friend.
I like this sentence from Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer:
The old man laughed loud and joyously, shook up the details of his anatomy from head to foot, and ended by saying that such a laugh was money in a man’s pocket, because it cut down the doctor’s bills like everything.
(I like the imagery of shook up the details of his anatomy …)
Here’s to what makes you laugh.