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A laughing matter

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 3:50 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014 9:10 a.m. CDT

I spend a lot of time in meetings. Some are worthwhile; some are not. But that’s not the point to this column — though it would probably touch a lot of nerves with a lot of people.

So the other day, I was out of the office and sitting in a rather somber meeting. While the tone of the meeting wasn’t necessarily a bleak or gloomy topic, everyone was quite serious. There were tasks to attend to, and all the meeting members were diligently working toward the same goal. That’s fine. I appreciate a group who stays on task and gets their work accomplished. That way the meeting can be adjourned, and we can all get on to the next task before us — sometimes yet another meeting.

As the meeting wore on, I couldn’t help but notice some hoopla going on in the room next to us. I realized another group was having a meeting (a group of which I am not a member), and it just so happened they were meeting at the same time and location as the meeting I attended.

While there was a wall and a closed door between us, I have to tell you the noise coming from the other meeting clearly caught my attention. Why? That’s easy ... There was laughter — not just a few giggles or chuckles, but downright, nearly roll-on-the-floor type of laughing going on next door. You know the type of laughter of which I’m writing. The laughing was so hard and persistent that before I knew it, I found myself even wanting to laugh out loud — much like my next door meeting friends.

Obviously, I had a difficult time keeping my mind in my somber meeting room. I noticed some in my meeting appeared rather annoyed, but personally, I was really enjoying it. Actually, the sound of continued laughter next door made me almost want to join that meeting, even though I had no idea what their meeting was about.

“Isn’t that terrible?” one of my meeting participants finally said. “You’d think they would keep it down.”

I didn’t say a word, but inside, I secretly hoped they wouldn’t “keep it down” at all. Instead, I was voting for more laughter, louder and uncontrollable laughing mixed with a variety of voices. I could picture the smiles. I could almost see tears of laughter rolling down some of the mystery faces. I could feel the way your stomach feels when you’ve laughed so hard for so long — almost an exhausted feeling. I yearned for more ...

Oh, I miss laughing. Don’t misunderstand, I laugh a lot, but I’m talking about that can’t-get-your-breath laughter. The kind of laughter that makes you start laughing again and again. The laughter that can’t be stopped, no matter how hard you try. The laughter that creates those lines around your eyes that can’t be erased. That’s the kind of laughter I miss.

It’s been said, “Laughter is the best medicine.” I have to agree. Who doesn’t feel better after a good laugh? Who doesn’t look at life a little differently after one of those times when your sides ache from laughing so hard? Who doesn’t have a better outlook after a good, old-fashioned dose of laughter?

I know there are a whole lot of things in this world that aren’t funny — sad things, miserable things, scary things, horrible things ... you get the idea, and God knows we all spend a considerable amount of time on those non-funny issues. We dwell on them, worry about them and fret minutes, hours and days away on them. And unfortunately, those somber issues get most of our attention and our emotions.

But I think we have to try. Sounds kind of sad, but I think we need to surround ourselves with as much laughter as possible. We deserve it. We owe it to ourselves.

Ironically enough, my somber meeting and the laughing meeting adjourned at about the same time. As the two groups mixed in the lobby, you can guess who was walking away with smiles on their faces.

Tonica News Editor Terri Simon can be reached at tsimon@tonicanews.com.

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