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Laughter is the best medicine
If you consider how most Americans are clawing to survive, finding something to tickle your funnybone is about as hard as finding a few extra bucks in your wallet. You don’t have to look far to find misery, so why would you want to laugh?
Laughter is good medicine for what ails you. When you lose your ability to guffaw, you are slipping. And if you stop laughing, you just might start crying - or worse, commence cussing.
I work hard. I enjoy a challenge. But there’s so much that is out of our control. Leadership, at every level, is floundering, looking for a toehold to help us climb out of this gloomy pit. Like most of you, I do what I can to make a difference, trying not to lose faith in the American Way.
Some days, that faith is rattled. Like a ball-peen hammer, bleak news pounds dents in your day. While some would reach for a stiff drink, I grasp for a laugh. Humor loosens the muscles in my jaws, lifts my spirits and smoothes out the dings.
Like an old Wurlitzer, I store hundreds of jokes. I don’t have to drop quarters into the slot to get one spinning.
A favorite in my humor jukebox is a recording of my hometown friend, Patti Bryant, enjoying “a funny.” Her cackle is contagious.
Yesterday, I needed a Patti kind of laugh. Without looking, I punched the mental buttons, and thanks to Larry Walker, here’s what lit up:
Three little boys were debating about what was the meanest animal on the planet.
The first boy said, “A shark is the meanest that ever was. It swims in the ocean and has those big, sharp teeth. Why, it can chomp your legs off while you are swimming. A shark is really mean.”
His buddy countered, “A shark is mean, but an elephant is meaner. It’s big, really big. It can stomp you with those giant feet or poke you with those long, sharp tusks. A mad elephant can be mean, really mean.”
The third was sure he could trump the shark and elephant. “No, no,” he said, “The meanest animal in the world is a lioger.”
“A lioger? What’s that?” his buddies asked.
“Well,” he explained, “a lioger is an animal with a lion’s head on one end of its body and a tiger’s head on the other end. You don’t ever want to bump into a lioger in the jungle.”
Confused, one of the boys asked, “But if a lioger has a head on both ends, how does it go to the bathroom?”
“Oh,” the third boy replied, “That’s what makes him so mean. He can’t.”
Go ahead, laugh a little. It’ll do you good.
Can’t? The health care crisis got your jaws clenched? Maybe it’s a busted hose on the washing machine that flooded the house, or a letter from the IRS.
We can’t give up. Our chances improve when we lighten up and laugh a little. If the “lioger” didn’t do it for you, here’s one that might:
What did the fish say when it swam into the concrete wall?
• Dink NeSmith is president of Community Newspapers Inc. in Athens and serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Send e-mail to email@example.com.
Dink NeSmith is president of Community Newspapers Inc. in Athens. Send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. This column was printed in the Athens Banner-Herald.