When I am laughing

Matt and Drew laugh it up with their cousin Emily, 1988

Matt and Drew laugh it up with their cousin Emily, 1988

“I love myself when I am laughing…” — Zora Neale Hurston

Do you have memories of times when you laughed until you cried?  Or when you simply couldn’t stop laughing?  We used to call this “getting our tickle box turned over” but whatever it is called, it’s wonderful.  In such a state, almost everything that is even mildly comical suddenly seems uproariously funny.

In childhood these times often happened when we were supposed to be quiet.  There’s nothing like trying to suppress a laugh to make it irresistible.

Hurston’s quote has a double meaning to me.  I agree that we never feel better about ourselves than when we are laughing, even if we are laughing at ourselves!  I also think that one of the best ways we show love to ourselves is by getting a good quota of deep, giddy laughter now and then. Research has shown that laughter really is good medicine for most of what ails us.

If you haven’t had a good laugh in a long time, make it a point to watch a funny video (the old movie What’s Up Doc is one of my favorites), or check out Dave Barry’s blog, or enjoy the cartoons of Roz Chast.  We are blessed to have endless sources of humor; I hope you will laugh today!


  1. I love this. There is no better feeling than laughing hysterically with friends over something ridiculous, then laughing harder at the sound of your own laughter.

    • Yes, I’m convinced it’s better than any drug for making us well (in every sense of the word). I love the scene in Mary Poppins where Uncle Albert keeps them floating up to the ceiling in hysterical laughter. Some of my favorite memories are of laughing like that. Thanks for your visit here, and for your comment!

  2. Sheila

    Good Saturday morning,Julia. I hadn’t thought of a “tickle box” in a long time. We had three granddaughters with us all week and the laughter rang constantly. Their ages are 20,16, and 14, so we were flattered that they opted to “hang out” with us. This blog has brought me happiness and laughter, too! With a smile, Sheila

    • Sheila, I can’t believe you have GRANDCHILDREN that age. Even though I’ve never met you, you are a young spirit in my mind! It is great when young people WANT to hang out with us, isn’t it? I wanted to add a special note here, unrelated to today’s post…many months ago you told me of the book The Art of Racing in the Rain and I got Jeff a copy of it to read aloud with Matt (they read aloud together each night, taking turns reading paragraphs). By coincidence — or maybe not — they just started reading the book. After they got through the first chapter, he told me to read it that chapter. He hardly ever does that. For obvious reasons, it really hit home. I want to see if I can send Eric just the first chapter. Last week he lost his wonderful dog Austin, who died after many, many happy years with him. Thanks for telling me about the book. I know I will read it when Jeff and Matt finish it.

      • Sheila

        Julia, you are so kind! I have been very blessed and I’m definitely young at heart.
        I am so glad that Jeff and Matt are enjoying that book. It is a very tender read! I read that it will be a movie at some time.
        I am so sorry to learn that Eric has lost his beloved, Austin. He has mentioned him before. Eric, although it hurts so bad, just be glad for the love you shared.
        Well, Julia ……. Company is coming! In haste, Sheila

        • Thanks Sheila, enjoy your visitors!

  3. Mike Bertoglio

    Recently watched “Housesitter” – Goldie Hawn and Steve Martin. Very funny. Also Ferris Beuller’s Day Off. Any other funny movies to recommend?

    • Hi Mike, I love Ferris Bueller. We’ve watched that movie several times and I never tire of it. Oddly enough, I’ve always thought that movie reminds me of my relationship with Jeff (where he is Cameron and I am Ferris). We haven’t seen “Housesitter” but I’ll have to look it up. I love Steve Martin. Speaking of which, “Bowfinger” is another great one for laughs. Steve Martin and Eddie Murphy together are fabulous. An old movie I totally loved, but some people don’t at all, is “The In-laws” with Peter Falk and Alan Arkin – another “buddy” movie with one crazy character and one serious one, that reminded me of Jeff and me. It was a more automatic comparison because the Alan Arkin character is a dentist just as Jeff is. I also love “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (a favorite of both my sons), “The Return of the Pink Panther” (we liked all that series, but the second one is my favorite), the movie “Airplane” and old videos of Victor Borge, whom we saw in concert not long before he died; an amazing concert pianist and comedian who was still playing beautifully when he was 90 years old! He was a great favorite of Matt, who introduced our family to him. If you are unfamiliar with him, go to YouTube and watch some clips. He was an amazing man.

    • Rene

      “Romy & Michelle’s High School Reunion” (which put my own 25th HS reunion in perspective) & “Mystery Men” were two movies that made me laugh hysterically in public.

      • Thanks for the recommendations – I have not seen either, so I’ll have to make it a point! I can always use more hysterical laughter. I honestly believe it’s better for our bodies and spirits than any medicine.

  4. Scripture, of course, backs you up. “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine” Pro. 17:22

    • Yes, a friend of ours stitched that verse on a little sampler for me when we left San Antonio, and I had it hanging in my kitchen for many years. I am so thankful for laughter. As Jimmy Buffet sang, “if we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.”

  5. MaryAnn

    Oh my! Julia, Looking at these lovely babies makes me want to hug them! They are precious! I am so blessed that God connected us with an unbreakable heart string!
    My family & especially the grandchildren love to get me started laughing, because it ends up uncontrollable, not being to breathe; then a sound emits that is hard to describe. As I am straining to inhale, the gasp is akin to an animal noise. They enjoy the “show”.

    • Isn’t it wonderful how each of us has our own unique laugh? There are some people whose laughter is so funny in itself that it’s very contagious even if you don’t know what started it. Your grandchildren will probably tell their grandchildren fond stories about the times you laughed together! I’m grateful for all the laughter we enjoyed during our years with you in California.

  6. Carolyn

    I didn’t laugh but a smile came to my face when I saw those to sweet boys and their smiles. Hope you all have a great week-end. Hugs and love to all.

    • Carolyn, they weren’t much older than that when you met them for the first time! We have had a nice weekend; on Friday they took Jeff off the Wound-Vac; HOORAY! Matt also got his full-arm cast off that day, but they put him in a space-age looking pivoting arm brace that isn’t much better…except he can take it off for showering! One step at a time…

  7. Ryan

    You introduced me to What’s Up Doc. Dave Barry is my kind of funny. I’ll have to check out Roz Chast, because I love laughing with you!

    • Yes, I love Dave Barry and have been reading him since he was so well known. His column ran in the Dayton paper during our years there. Sometimes I would come in late at night from work at USAir (although it was actually Piedmont then) and Jeff would leave his clippings for me to read, and I would laugh out loud despite trying to be quiet and not wake anyone! Roz Chast is the patron saint of semi-neurotic women such as I. Though her humor is a bit slanted toward a female viewpoint, I think she would also be very funny to men. But perhaps April might enjoy her a bit more than you would. For some reason, the one about the Voice of Binky (the last one on this page) totally cracks me up!

  8. Just before I relocated from the East, I visited the Harvard campus to investigate the PhD prog in lang, literacy, and culture. After sitting in on her fun, wonderful class, I visited with a professor, an Afr-Amer, who took the time to answer some questions. Walking into her office, I looked at the framed photo on her desk: “Zora N Hurston,” I said.
    She said, “Honey, you’re good. Most people ask me, “Is that your aunt?” !!

    Did you read Their Eyes Were Watching God? Zora was discredited at one point for plagiarism. Not for that book, I believe. Yeah, sad. She was so talented.

    • No, I haven’t read it, but I want to read it. From what little I’ve read about Hurston, she sounds as if she would be fascinating. That book was required reading for the high school students at the private school where I used to work as a librarian.

      • OH MY! There’s a steamy part. HIGH school….PRIVATE school??? Sigh.

        I thought the guy was a hottie. Name, Teacake.

        • Hmmm, maybe it just moved up my list. And this was a CATHOLIC school, too!

          • Hmmm, maybe it just moved up my list.




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