Thursday, July 31, 2008

Do you remember laughing so hard...

There are times in my life I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe. I laughed so hard that if I recall those moments now, years, perhaps decades later, I smile, maybe even chuckle.

Can you remember those moments in your life? Laughter is so important heart. Proverbs tell us a merry heart works like medicine.

I thought I'd recall the top laugh times in my life and hopefully inspire some of you. Leave your stories in the comments if you want. :)


We laughed a lot in my family. A top laugh time would be watching my dad's big but silent laugh as he listened to Bill Cosby's "Roland and the Rollercoaster." I loved hearing my parents laugh with their friends, which they did a lot.

Here are my own personal laugh times:

Playing the game Pente with my youngest brother and sister, Pete and Beka, during college Christmas break. I was cheating, and when Pete finally realized... He gazed up at me, appauled and said, "You're cheating." I laughed so hard I couldn't breathe!

Went to see an Eddie Murphy movie with my brother Danny. Eddie was doing a bit about whining to his mom to take him to McDonalds like all the other kids. She said, "I can make you a burger at home." He goes on to describe the scene. Danny and I were laughing so hard, because you know, we'd heard the same conversation from our Mom and Grandma, we couldn't breathe. Danny was gripping my arm, stamping his foot, laughing, hoping to draw air soon.

Sharing a room with my sister Beka about twenty years ago when I'd just graduated from Ohio State. We were talking about writing, (she was in high school,) and I said I didn't want to write some cheesy story like, "and we turned twelve cartwheels into the fullness of an oak tree." We burst out laughing! Laughed and laughed. We still quote that line today.

There are many other laugh moments, worthy of blogging, but those are the ones that stick out to me.


Laughter for me usually comes with an element of surprise, the non-obvious, perhaps the blatant obvious, the humor in every day events.

My roommate pre Tony, Renee was a mentor to a girl from youth who hung out at the apartment sometimes, Sheree. She was the quiet type. Seriously quiet. One night she was at our apartment while Renee, Tony and I were debating who among us was the funniest. I said, "I'm the funniest person you know."

Renee claimed she was, countered by Tony. Suddenly, out of nowhere, the silent-for-hours Sheree said softly, "I'm the funniest person you know."

We howled and at that very moment, it was true! She was the funniest person we knew.

Wow, nothing else is rising to the surface of my brain and I know I laughed a lot with friends. Suzanne, Kathy, Connie and Michelle.

Okay, here's one. The summer before I graduated from Ohio State, Connie Snider Gleason and I did nothing but laugh. We both worked on the newspaper as photographers. She came in one day telling me a story about spotting one of our fellow photographers, Rich, out looking for a feature photo. We were required to turn in so many for the quarter. As she tells the story, he was walking down High Street, camera around his neck, looking up in the trees, turning circles, as if the feature photo might just drop on his head. Oh, we laughed so hard! So very hard.

Spent some time at the Flying Tomato, a local pizza place right by the Phi Mu house, and laughed a whole bunch.


Many, many laughing stories from work. I joined Harris Publishing now Media Span in '86. There were a few new grads who joined at the same time and we hung out some in the beginning. Sometimes we'd travel together.

Julie Love and I went to Martha's Vineyard to install a classified advertising system. We worked and laughed a lot. What else can you do on Martha's Vineyard in early December?

For awhile, all the trainers and roadies were in the engineering department. We'd have quarterly meetings where the team was updated on... whatever. The Veep of Engineering was a nice man from India. He had a deep voice, and the standard English-Indian accent.

So, we're all gathered in a board room, stuffed in there like sardines, when the director of engineering gets up to present. Now, this was pre Power Point, so graphs and data were displayed with an overhead projector. It gets embarrassing for me here. D of E slips his presentation under the projector. Immediately it's obvious he didn't account for any enlargement of the projector and used a point size too big. I mean, the letters showing on the screen were half as tall as he was!

We all smiled, giggled, wondered silently, "What point size did you use, Jim." This goes on for about two, three minutes when in the midst of Jim's review, the Veep of Engineering says in his deep, accented voice, "Gee Jim, what point size did you use."

We all laughed, but I lost it. Could. Not. Stop. Laughing. I tried, but ended up snorting. My boss whispered, "Do you need to leave the room." I pinched my laugh, shook my head and kept my eyes focused on the table. The girl sitting next to me said, "Oh, don't look up."

Snort, laugh, snort, laugh! I wanted to go out of the room and let it go so bad, but I couldn't. I mean, it's the '80s, it's Yuppiville, you can't act THAT unprofessional. Oooo, it was funny, and ooo it was embarrassing. But I love the memory.

In '88 Harris sent me Down Under to do some training in Australia. (Hi, Rel!) I love Australia. I'd visit more if it weren't so darn far away... and if I had some money.

In Sydney, I met with our distributor and my Australian counterpart, Sean. New to the job, Sean was nervous about our trip to Tamworth and the training, but I assured him all would be well. Sean had a very dry, but witty sense of humor.

Day one on the job, I laughed and laughed. Out of the blue stuff, but so funny. Like, this big, tall, lumbering man who worked on the system we were training, comes up to Sean and asked, "I can't remember, how do I get into the system tables again?"

They started discussing, and the man says, "Yes, I remember it's alt, control, delete." He beamed, so proud. Next day, he couldn't remember so he's asking Sean again. Very dryly, Sean says, "I want you to remember, never forget, alt, control, delete."

Really, you had to be there, and there's a middle piece I'm forgetting, but I laughed so hard I had to leave the room and put myself in a corner.

Walking back to our hotel from the paper, Sean grouses how his cheap boss wouldn't rent us a car, going on about having Burger King for "tea." I fell to the sidewalk, laughing.

I'd lay in bed and night, laughing out loud over the things Sean said or did that day.

A few months later, I went back to Australia, (looong back to back trips me no like) this time going to a trade show in Melbourne. Again, Sean is very nervous about demoing the equipment to newspaper suits, so we practice and work on technique. I show him how to do certain things, like free drawing an arrow to use in a display ad, or whatever.

During one of my demos, I pulled up the saved, sketched arrow, showing how it could be used in a display ad, but also how it could be modified. Basically, I mess up the arrow. Demo over, Sean's up next, but I don't tell him I destroyed the arrow.

He pulls up the arrow. What's wrong with it? He panics, deletes it from the screen and pulls is up again. Still messed up! He panics. And he sweats when he panics.

Next demo, it's me again and he's sitting beside me. As I pull up the lopsided arrow, I lean over to Sean, "Oh yea, I messed up the arrow."

"Now you tell me... I thought the system had eaten it."

In front of five dark suits from Rural Press, I start to laugh. But I can't laugh, I have to do a demo. The more I try not to laugh, the hard I want to laugh and the moment I pictured a panicked Sean, my torso is full of explosive laughter.

I flew through the last of the demo, got up, ran to the break room, fell on the little couch and laughed for oh, fifteen minutes.

Yeah, Mr. Mason made me laugh. Still does 20 years later.

To be continued.... more work laughter, and husband laughter tomorrow!


Lisa said...

Laughter is the best! The other night one of my girlfriends and myself laughed and laughed as we packed up her apartment. The our other friend came over and we watched a dvd of comedian Brian Regan. Hilarious! It was just so good to laugh with friends over stupid stuff. It made my week bearable.

Sharon Hayes said...

Rachel I enjoyed reading this blog SO MUCH!! Loved remembering your Dad and Roland & the Roller Coaster. And I loved reading your times with Pete, Bekah & Dan. Got any funny stories w/Joel?

I hope you write more of these.

Love Mom

Sharon Hayes said...

P.S. I liked all the other laughter memories too - so much fun peeking into your laughter w/friends and co-workers.

Rel said...

Hi back, Rach! I have to say we Aussies are a funny bunch! Don't take ourselves too seriously. I have to admit to laughing myself silly though over your American show Wipeout! What is it about people hurting themselves that we find so funny???