A Day in the Laugh of…

To succeed in life, you need three things:

a wishbone, a backbone and a funny bone.

—Reba McEntire

Being the butt of a joke is not always the most pleasant experience. However, what if one of the Velcro curlers your friend had in her hair when you picked her up for work, ended up on her butt? Now that could be funny. Of course, between fits of laughter, you sound an alert before she walks into the conference room for the staff meeting.

Have you ever been at a dental appointment and the newly trained hygienist accidently activated your gag reflex with the spit-sucking wand? Personally, I would rather lose my dignity at a holiday gag gift exchange fighting over a set of electric eyebrow tweezers. By the way, those things are lethal!

Remember middle school physical education class where a good part of our grade depended upon how fast we ran the mile? Ohhhhh it still hurts to think of the searing side aches we tried to ignore by vice gripping our waistlines. But hey, give me a sidesplitting reason to laugh and I am all-in for a marathon!

Reality is…

…belly fat can ruin a cute outfit, but the belly laugh will never go out of style.

…spilling our guts in an effort to heal from emotional trauma is exhausting, but laughing our guts out brings a sense of energetic relief.

…vindictive people often get the last laugh, but looking for a laugh a minute can assuage the sting of life’s injustices.

…we avoid facing the fact that sometimes we err, but other times we are first to pay good money to be entertained by a comedy of errors.

Reality is…people we love die, but to die laughing is the best way to go.

With this introduction, I am happy to announce the first post in a series I am calling “The Day in the Laugh of…” Too many days are too serious, too busy, too sad, and too frustrating. My hope is to counter balance days like these with laughter. Humorist, Erma Bombeck, was a master at this. Her motto was, “If you can't make it better, you can laugh at it.” And that she did—column after column, book after book, and interview after interview for over thirty years.

My paternal grandmother, Delpha Virginia Jones Hall, was 15 years old when Erma Bombeck was born in 1927, giving her a head start when looking for humor in everyday experiences. Granny was a master storyteller and wished to eventually become a published writer, but that day didn’t come until after she had lived a lifetime of laughing at things she couldn’t make better. When Granny’s health drastically declined due to heart disease, she spent her days sitting in a recliner, aging backwards in her mind as she wrote out her memories in the form of letters to the family.

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Somehow these letters caught the attention of a staff writer for the Tooele Transcript-Bulletin, the local newspaper that serviced the small town Granny lived in for the majority of her life. And, like Erma Bombeck, my grandmother became a newspaper columnist. She was 86 years old and the name of her column was “Granny’s Gumption.” She loved it and the readers loved her.

Granny eventually had to move to a nursing home, but that didn’t stop her from preparing her articles. She was so dedicated to her readers that when she was unable to do the actual writing, she would dictate her stories to a staff writer who was sent by the newspaper to the nursing home. Her last article was printed the day before her death in September of 2000.

I now present to you, “A Day in the Laugh of Delpha Hall.” May it bring a smile to your face.

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In 1943 my husband, Ray, and I bought our first real home. We moved with our four children from Mercur, Utah to Tooele, Utah, a distance of twenty-two miles. We were the first ones to live in the house and it was great. In the past we had always used an outhouse, but our new home had an indoor bathroom! It also included a coal furnace, an electric cook stove, and many other modern conveniences I never had before.

I thought I was really something with all these nice things around me, but there was one thing that was missing—a telephone. When I went to apply for a telephone, I was informed we couldn’t have one installed because only government workers could have them. I explained that my husband was a mechanic and worked on government cars so the government workers could get to their government jobs. I was told that didn’t count. But I still wanted a telephone and I wasn’t about to give up.

One day I looked out my kitchen window and saw two men digging a trench in our garden. I went to see what they were doing. Lo and behold they were from the telephone company! They said they were putting a guy-wire in the ground. I said, “Stop right there! No one is putting a guy-wire in my yard unless I get a telephone!” They responded with, “We’ll see about that.” As soon as they left, my boys and I covered the trench.

When the men came back, they had the boss with them. Again they started digging in my garden, but as fast as they dug, the boys and I fill it in. Again I told them when I got a phone, they could plant their wire. By this time even my husband was mad at me, but I didn’t care. The telephone company needed to plant that wire and I wanted a telephone. From my point of view, it was an obvious win-win situation.

Not much time passed before the men returned. For this round, they brought the big shot boss from Salt Lake City. They demanded that I let them bury the wire. I planted my feet, squared my shoulders, faced those men straight on and said, “Not until I get a telephone!” Big Shot Boss then declared, “I have never met such a stubborn woman in all my life! You get your phone.”

And that is how I got my two-party phone line, and how the telephone company got to bury their wire in our row of radishes... 

I encourage you to thoroughly enjoy every "Day in the Laugh of..." moment that comes your way.

(Note: To learn more about the importance of laughter in our lives see chapter 33, "Humor Me," in my book titled Sacred Soul-Space: Making Room in Your Life for What You Have to Offer This World. I know by personal experience even serious issues, such as infertility, can produce laugh out loud moments!)