I will never forget the time Mr. Brickhouse and I attended a weekend Pre-Cana retreat as a requirement to marrying in the Catholic church. Many other couples were in attendance at this beautiful old Monastery. Of course, the boys slept in one building and the girls in another.
Why my thoracic diaphragm decided that on that weekend it would go haywire and erupt in involuntary audible contractions, is beyond me. It started with short little random outbursts. I remember thinking, Brickhouse get it together, the priest is addressing the group. We were at the beautiful church attending a Mass when I made the fatal mistake of looking over at Mr. Brickhouse. He looked back at me and that was it. The levee
burst breached so forcefully, that no amount of sand bags could have possibly stopped the blast of laughter that erupted out of my small Catholic mouth.
Shhhhhhhhhh, pleaded Mr. Brickhouse, in a look of horror. Nope. There was no shhh-ing to be had. I tried looking down and staring at the pews. I tried thinking of horrible tragedies I knew about. There was no turning back. I covered my entire face with the palms of both my hands in an attempt to muffle the gurgling sounds. That did not work. I tried burying my head in Mr. Brickhouse’s jacket but that only brought more attention my way.
God, please make it stop! I am so sorry for sinning in your house of worship.
My shoulders began to shake uncontrollably as I gasped for air. The side of my stomach ached and the tears of laughter came gushing down my face. I am pretty sure there was a lot of snorting going on as well. As tough and poised as Mr. Brickhouse tried to remain, I broke him down. Now, we were two Pre-Cana students hysterically laughing in the middle of Mass where the echo only amplified our seizure-like movements and noises.
That we were awarded the Pre-Cana completion certificate, was truly miraculous.
And then there was the time my mother accompanied me to one of my birthing classes because Mr. Brickhouse had a meeting that night. I was pretty pregnant by then, as were my classmates. I was aware that pregnant women came in all shapes and sizes but, WHOA. This one particular woman had a rather peculiar shape.
Rather than her baby bump protruding from her stomach and thus the front of her, somehow, the protrusion came entirely from her derrière. There was hardly a pregnant tummy to be seen. The almost at-term baby, seemed to be resting comfortably inside her buttocks. From the looks of it, it was going to be a rather HUGE baby.
Well, I was used to her unique shape from earlier classes but my mature and dignified mother, had never seen anything like it. All it took was a loud whisper (because my mother never learned how to whisper softly) in Spanish from her, commenting on the baby coming out of the woman’s butt, to open the gates. How my water didn’t break right there and then is incomprehensible.
The instructor stopped the class to ask if we were alright. We had to step aside and leave the room, for the night.
They say that laughter produces endorphins which can reduce pain, increase blood flow, reduce stress hormones and boost our immune system.
What they do not warn us about is that it may cause long-term embarrassment, child-like behavior, loss of bladder control and high likelihood of offending others.
However, the side effects seem to be a lot less severe than the side effects I get from my cocktail of medications.
Maybe laughter truly is the best medicine.
Here is Anderson Cooper ‘losing it’.
What laughing-fit stories do you have?