LOL – It’s time you give laugh a try

Always laugh when you can. It is a cheap medicine – Lord Byron.
I was walking in morning on the beach in Mumbai, India. I saw a group of people standing in
a circle, with one person acting as a leader. I found that someone will cut a joke or tell a
humor; and everybody will laugh loudly. This was a laughing club whose members try to
meet at least twice a week.

Laughing is a reaction to certain stimuli, fundamentally stress, which serves as an emotional
balancing mechanism. Traditionally, it is considered a visual expression of happiness, or an
inward feeling of joy. It may ensue from hearing a joke, being tickled, or other stimuli. It is in
most cases a very pleasant sensation.

Laughter is used as a signal for being part of a group—it signals acceptance and positive
interactions with others. Laughter is sometimes seen as contagious, and the laughter of one
person can itself provoke laughter from others as a positive feedback. This may account in
part for the popularity of laugh tracks in situation comedy television shows. Laughter is
anatomically caused by the epiglottis constricting the larynx. The study of humor and
laughter, and its psychological and physiological effects on the human body, is called

Children are known to laugh a great deal more than adults: an average baby laughs 300 times
a day compared to an average adult, who laughs 20 times a day. Researchers have shown
infants as early as 17 days old have vocal laughing sounds or laughter. Babies have the ability
to laugh before they ever speak. Children who are born blind and deaf still retain the ability to

Toddlers love humor. Look at their toys – a jumping jack or a monkey. It makes the toddlers
stop crying and start laughing.

A link between laughter and healthy function of blood vessels was first reported in 2005 by
researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center with the fact that laughter causes
the dilatation of the inner lining of blood vessels, the endothelium, and increases blood flow.
A very rare neurological condition has been observed whereby the sufferer is unable to laugh
out loud, a condition known as aphonogelia.

Laughter is the best medicine (Readers’ Digest) prescribed for years. One can laugh out
reading a joke, or a book full of humor. This can be done privately in your space, not
necessarily in an open ground on the beach.
A practical situation like below, can cause laughter. Such responses would have relieved the
stress from work.

Tech Support: What kind of computer do you have?
Customer: A white one.
Tech Support: What’s on your monitor now, ma’am?
Customer: A teddy bear that my boyfriend bought for me at the 7-11 store.
Do not lose your sense of humor – be young at heart. At workplace, this is the advice for
lowering your stress level. Majority of speakers start with an icebreaker to defreeze the
environment for participants. An icebreaker makes you chuckle, smile or laugh out loud.

Yet the caution is that the humor should be harmless. Do not inflict a criticism in the name of
humor; or not to be sarcastic just to look down at somebody. Humor should be innocent.
There are funny characters from books and movies. They are famous because they create fun.
Mr. Bean, Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Steve Martin, Peter Sellers, Denise the menace, are but
few examples of funny characters.

The trend continued and heroes in movies have to be humorous for success.
Fortunately (or not), when it comes to books, as much as I love a funny read, it’s a rarity that I
actually open my mouth and laugh out loud (‘LOL’ if you wish). And those books that can
manage it are all the more valuable to me as a result.
So here is a tribute to those rare literary gems that have made me cackle and chuckle my way
into near hysteria.

I find many books amusing, funny, entertaining, and grin-worthy, but there are a very select
few that can elicit actual laughter in me is a rare and precious gem.

It seems to be more about a turn of phrase, and the quickness of the writer’s skill that can turn
a smile into a guffaw, for me, than it is about the particular situation.

English language is boon to create Puns – it is intelligent and can make you smile or laugh.
Cartoons also use Puns.

I remember the cartoonist R. K. Laxman who appeared every day for many years in Times of
India, a Daily published in Mumbai. I find his cartoons ‘You said it’ with a caricature of a
common man in the city, very funny. As we say picture tells thousand words, one can make
out from such cartoons.

In today’s world, apart from reading and recommending a book on humour, we often share
something interesting by emailing to friends, or posting on a blog, or Texting (SMS) on

A description of an absurd situation can be funny, but it takes a particular style and sharpness
of word choice to get me. I assume everyone is different. For instance, I have had
innumerable people recommend P.G. Wodehouse to me as a writer that made them laugh
until they cried. Same with Kurt Vonnegut.

If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are
misinformed – Mark Twain Mark Twain was popular because of humour in his writing.

Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest
in you! – Pericles (430B.C.) Humour dates back to 430 B.C.

The books that cracked me up to the point of helplessness at numerous points throughout its
reading were Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman.
Humour is ageless – Humour is always young, even Seniors love to laugh.
Three old guys are out walking.
First one says, ‘Windy, isn’t it?’
Second one says, ‘No, it’s Thursday!’
Third one says, ‘So am I. Let’s go get a beer..’
Accidental errors create humour ….
Errors in Classifieds
These four classified ads appeared in a newspaper on four consecutive days. The last three
hopelessly trying to correct the first day’s mistake…


For sale
Victor has a sewing machine for sale.
Phone 98407 16581 after 7PM and ask for Ms. Mary who lives with him cheap.

Notice: We regret having erred in Victor’s ad yesterday.
It should have read,
“One sewing machine for sale cheap.
Phone 98407 16581 and ask for Ms. Mary, who lives with him after 7 PM.”

Notice: Victor has informed us that he has received several annoying telephone calls because
of the error we made in the classified ad yesterday.
The ad stands correct as follows:
“For sale – Victor has a sewing machine for sale; Cheap. ‘’
Phone 98407 16581 after 7 PM and ask for Ms.Mary who lives with him.

Notice: I, Victor, have no sewing machine for sale. I smashed it.
Don’t call 98407 16581 as I have had the phone disconnected.
I have not been carrying on with Ms. Mary.
Until yesterday, she was my housekeeper but she quit!
For those readers who are interested, I share some of the Titles I liked:
Pygmalion (Drama) by Bernard Shaw (a movie My Fair Lady), Going Dutch in Beijing by
Mark McCrum, When you look like Your Passport Photo, by Erma Bombeck (she has many
other titles), Talk to the Hand by Lynne Truss, and A Suitcase of Adventures by Brendan

Or a movie like Father of the bride!

Suresh Shah, Managing Director, Pathfinders Enterprise

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