If you can laugh at it, you can live with it.
-Erma Bombeck

From "No Laughing's the Matter," on SpiritualityHealth.com, by James A. Thorson:

On her deathbed, my mother spent her last days busy with visits from friends and relatives. In the evenings, though, when it was just the two of us, she liked me to read to her. I had brought a biography of the Windsors, a thick book filled with sex scandals and other gossipy tidbits about the royal family that she really enjoyed. One evening, nearing the end, she asked what page I was on.

"Page 87," I said.

"Read faster," she replied.

This from an 84-year-old woman who sensed that she had only a few days left. Her friend Viola, who shared her sensibility, once told me, "I'm getting so old, I won't buy green bananas."

These women used humor as a coping mechanism, and their ability to laugh at the world and its absurdities reflects a particularly healthy approach to life. People who adapt by using humor minimize their problems and put them in perspective, knowing that a hundred years from now, nobody - including them - will care. Such people are also likely to be healthier and live longer. Humor pays off.

If you smiled, laughed, or simply recognized either of these examples as humorous, we might say you are an appreciator. Those who appreciate humor don't necessarily seek it out (although some of us turn to the funnies first when reading the newspaper), nor do they avoid humor or humorous people. People low in humor appreciation may say things like, "Are you trying to be funny?" To which the best response might be, "No, I'm not trying to be funny - I am funny. Are you trying to be hostile?" People high in humor appreciation get the joke. People low in this trait may not even recognize that there is a joke.

* * *

Also on Beliefnet:

  • Is Laughter the Best Medicine?
  • Sign up for Beliefnet's Religious Jokes newsletter

  • Sign up

    to receive Health & Happiness insights in your inbox everyday.

    more from beliefnet and our partners
    Close Ad