Laughter is always a blessing

Laughter is free. Unlike material blessings, no one ever builds up a tolerance to laughter. We will always be grateful for our ability to turn hard times into humorous past events, to view as bits of nostalgia to cherish rather than to fear. Laughter is the sacred path to resolving any trauma.

Our stories make us who we are, make us unique people. Isn’t that terrific? These are not positive nor negative character traits. These can be things that fascinate us.

Do you know why I am interested in famous prison escapes, espionage, magic, Houdini, solving puzzles, cracking codes and ciphers, courtroom drama, exposes, and why ultimately these childhood fascinations led me to take on role of whistle-blower?

These interests were borne of a specific early childhood trauma. This wasn’t a source of angst in my life, but a thing I ultimately thrived on. I did not “suffer” throughout life due to this trauma, but instead, enjoyed my hobbies and interests.

The actual trauma might as well have happened to any child. I was born with an anatomical defect. Many of us are. Actually, we all are! Can you name a few? I’ll bet you can find one or two things. The fact that we exist at all is somewhat of an odd fluke anyway.

I was born with a urethra that wasn’t quite formed properly.
I was also born with scoliosis in my back.
I also ended up with supernumerary teeth when my teeth grew in.
My feet didn’t face the right direction.

My very wise parents didn’t do anything about the scoliosis. I’m awfully glad, since nothing needed to be done. My back is fine and never hurt. I’m very happy my mom handed me a backpack, saying, “Now, Julie, ‘I forgot my books’ is no excuse. You can’t say that anymore and use it as a reason not to do homework. Put them in this backpack and get to work.”

Shucks. I tried, you guys. I even tried hiding my school books in the bushes!

My feet weren’t too big a deal. I had to wear shoe pads inside my shoes. Many kids also wore them.

As for the urethra, well, that had to get operated on. I was five. Unfortunately, there’s no way that couldn’t scare a five-year-old. There wasn’t any way around it. I was okay for a few years, then ended up with minor behavior problems a few years later. Thankfully, someone figured it all out.

Why? Because I didn’t get diagnosed with a disorder. I didn’t have a disorder. I didn’t know how to express my fear. I imagine I came away from what had occurred with a feeling of distrust of adults.

Stay away from my body please and don’t call me Julia. That’s not my name.

You know, if you stick a needle in a five-year-old’s arm, for all that kid knows, the needle will be in there forever and drain all her blood. This is the case especially if no one explains otherwise. However, I can’t imagine anyone, at the time, realized the kid’s point of view. Yet it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination, is it? Is that kid going to believe a nurse who calls her by her wrong name? Not likely.

I distrusted adults when many college students distrusted the government that had put young men to war in Viet Nam and they were coming back in body bags. I fit right in in 1967. I was the nine year old who protested homework. I was not labeled ADHD. Had that happened, it would have been a crime, in my opinion.

My life went on. I stopped acting out. Instead of being a bit of a pest, I delved into my hobbies. Soon enough, one of my Hebrew school teachers taught us Biblical law and compared it to USA law. Now that was my decent year at Hebrew school, the one year when it all made sense and had meaning for me. Let’s pick it apart on a human rights level. A rebel is born. Or right around the corner.

Yes, you can find yourself. Your story is who you are or who you become. Even if you have the most horrific event in your past, it doesn’t have to translate into a negative character trait. It”ll certainly translate into a character trait, but not one that has to have a value judgment or moral basis. It simply is.

So when I look back on psych abuse, I realize that now, I can laugh over it and to have the gift of laughter is a blessing to me. Yes, after the abuse my whole personality changed. I won’t be the same person that I was before. I’m okay with that. But now, I’m so much funnier. I love that. I love putting a smile on people’s faces. I love making myself burst out laughing so hard I cannot contain myself, even in the face of adversity.

They say he who laughs last, laughs best. Undoubtedly this is true. The day I die, I’ll probably die because I flew off the planet due to laughing too hard, and never landed back down. Uh oh, gravity screwed up this time. Where’d she go? I suppose no one will know. But I’ll be busy cracking jokes.

There’s a joke I recall about the Joke Book in Prison. The prisoners were bored, so they memorized the joke book, by number. To tell a joke, now, all the prisoners had to do was say the number of the joke.

Number ten.

Now, everyone remembers number ten. A good one, right? So all the prisoners laughed. In comes a new prisoner. As per usual, he’s handed the old, tattered joke book and is told, “Get memorizing.” So he goes back to his [padded] cell and memorizes absolutely perfectly.

They’re sitting around acting normal, playing cards, while the guards are all acting off the wall. So the prisoners start joking.

“Number thirty-two,” says one prisoner, an old-timer. They all laugh.

The newcomer gets himself all worked up, then says, “Number eight.”

No one laughs.

He tries again. “Number eight.”

Nothing.

Later, they’re in their gang showers, being watched by the sadistic guards (remember the Stanford Prison Experiment?). The newcomer asks the guy in the next shower, “Hey, I told one of the funniest jokes in the book. No one laughed. What gives?”

The seasoned prisoner responded, “Hey buddy, some can tell ’em, some can’t.”

Feedback and comments welcome!