I was blindsided by a humdinger of hilarity this afternoon, overcome by convulsions of cheer: I laughed until tears streamed down my face and I gasped for breath. My abs are killing me – I’m sure I pulled a muscle.
But I was left feeling utterly cleansed, restored, invigorated. The occasional good belly laugh is critical to good health after all, more restorative even than coffee enemas or any of the other wacky “wellness” solutions and potions peddled by the likes of Gwyneth Paltrow and Dr. Oz. It’s no accident that medieval monarchs, weighed down by the stresses of presiding over the peasants, employed court jesters to crowd out their worries.
My earliest acquaintance with laughter as elixir came when I was a lad, long before I entertained the notion of becoming a doctor. Laughter is the Best Medicine, declared Reader’s Digest (that staple of my TV-bereft youth) each month as caption to a collection of (mostly) corny jokes. Some of those jokes were even funny. More reliably humorous were the anecdotes related in Life’s Like That at the back of the magazine – funnier because they actually happened to real people. Read the rest of this entry »