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Lost Your Sense of Humor? Report It Right Away!

January 26, 2021 by

Life is serious right now. The pandemic rages; there was madness in our nation’s capital; across the world tensions are escalating. Each of these has a very real human toll. Record COVID death rates are tallied every day and they say the worst is yet to come, with variant strains threatening. I ache for the huge circle of family and friends affected by each loss. Hatred and anger shook our nation and lives were lost on January 6, a day few will forget in our lifetimes. Nuclear threats around the world seem to be rising, imperiling human existence.

Well, what else are our options? Laugh or cry? Let’s choose to laugh!

And a parallel, almost hidden pandemic is the loneliness and isolation that separates us. The older generation is most at risk from COVID statistically, but there are also many younger people dying and many more losing hope and despairing. I know college students trying to maintain sanity as they struggle along alone online. And in the real world, our common weapon against the virus is a mask that hides facial expressions.

As a teacher, these are really testing times, but by rallying with our students our school has managed to stay open for in-person teaching with only brief periods of remote learning and time out for contact tracing. We have been lucky, as so many schools started out bravely and had to close.

We have to act! We have to hope! We need to rise above this! But how? We all know the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” We all know people who are able to smile in the face of adversity. I have known people who, to their dying breath, use humor to overcome their fears. I can’t help but believe that there is an answer here. Humor and laughter can and will help see us through!

Andrea Kazlas, a friend of mine who is a physician assistant in New York City hospitals on the frontline of the COVID battle, creates her own musical YouTube videos to humor her coworkers through the ordeal they face daily. For her, laughter (and creativity) is a survival tool. Consider this Silly Covid Love Song by Andrea.

Recently I saw the headline, “Irish ‘Laughing Dad’ Goes Viral.” An Irishman, Vincent McDonnell, attempted to make a birthday video message for his grown son but ended up laughing uncontrollably for minutes on end. Once posted, the video struck a chord with millions of viewers. Why did this ripple of laughter spread around the world?

artwork of a person laughingArtwork by Justine Maendel

Well, what else are our options? Laugh or cry? Let’s choose to laugh! COVID health screenings ask these days, “Have you lost your sense of taste or smell?” So I’m asking an equally important question: “Have you lost your sense of humor?” Doctors will tell you endorphins are released every time you laugh or smile, boosting the immune system. So let’s help each person we meet, if not to laugh, at least to smile. Let your eyes twinkle behind your mask. You can cheer someone’s day with a phone call or even a text. And a hearty joke or a timely pun can crinkle those lines around someone’s eyes, even if that’s all we can see.

There is plenty to make the heart weep, but let us each day again choose joy and laughter. We may find, to quote the playwright Robert Harling, that laughter through tears is our favorite emotion.

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About the author

Mario Meier

Mario Meier

Mario Meier and his wife, Robin, are parents of four grown children, and grandparents of three.

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