“A Little Trick of Laughing”

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.

Self-Portrait Laughing by Richard Gersti 1907

Self-Portrait Laughing by Richard Gersti 1907

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.

Happy writing.

About cmwriter

I'm a writer ... of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. I blog about writing, short stories, poetry, books, plays, and thoughts on life. Love reading and travel and being with friends!
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13 Responses to “A Little Trick of Laughing”

  1. Susan says:

    Wonderful article – thank you, Carol. I may even frame a poem this weekend. 😉

    • cmwriter says:

      You could find one of these framed poems in Stillwater. They’re very collectible. Or write one of your own to go with a piece of your wonderful photography! Thank you for stopping by!

  2. j says:

    What this reminds me of, Carol, is that my mom used to say that laughing was good for your insides–gives it some nice exercise. I think that’s true.

    • cmwriter says:

      Like your Mom’s words. So while walking, if I also laugh, I can exercise my whole package all at once! And really feel good! Glad you stopped by.

  3. Love this and loved laughing with you at lunch yesterday!

  4. The poem may seem corny at this time but to me, like the movies then, it was a tribute about how people were learning to live with their hard times. As humans we have this way of not looking at history to see how we were then and learn from our history. Thanks for reminding us that people have always found ways to laugh and love through the good and bad times. Love it or should I be 21st century and say Like it.

  5. cmwriter says:

    As always, love your “take.” Laughter is a wonderful coping device. No wonder these types of poems were favorites in the 1920’s and 30’s, pre and post the Great Depression. Have a wonderful day!

  6. jim parrish says:

    Thanks for the imagery it is like Double Mint gum doubles your pleasure doubles your fun. Mark Twain is my favorite humorist.

  7. Kerry Peyton says:

    I find myself laughing at times while reading our book for this month “The Book Thief”. I hope it is doing the same for you. I was a little suprosed to feel like smiling and laughing since the story took place in such a sad and horrible time. I guess that’s just a sign of great writing.

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