It's time to laugh again

 

Dedication:

To my ever-lovin’ daughter and loyal assistant Rachael without whose constant companionship, advice and encouragement, this book would have been completed six months earlier.

Bad decisions make great stories

My friends Kurt and Lynn were strolling a busy mall one Saturday. Like most married couples their wish lists differed, so they agreed to part then rendezvous in two hours. At the agreed upon time, Lynn spied Kurt ambling toward the agreed upon spot. A grin tugged upward at the corners of her mouth. Stealing up behind him like a guided missile, she pounced upon his back, clamped her legs about his waist, and bit him—a little too hard—on the neck.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t Kurt.

Unfortunately, I am not making this up.

Lynn had few options at this point in her life. She tried to explain herself, but the words were jumbled. She tried to run, but her feet were frozen like in those childhood dreams where the Communists are chasing you. The poor, traumatized, joyless man saw no humor in it. He turned and fled, leaving Lynn standing there center stage, the focal point of a sell-out crowd of shoppers.

Then the most glorious thing happened: Kurt arrived to listen wide-eyed to a shopping mall stalker story. And standing in that crowded mall two grownups began to laugh. They laughed like little kids. Until they couldn’t stand up straight. Departing through automatic doors, Lynn leaped onto her husband’s back, biting him playfully on the neck. This time there was no doubt. She had the right guy.

Laughter. What a lifesaver! I know of no stronger medication to help wage war on embarrassment, stress, discouragement, fear—maybe even death itself. Unless you’re diabetic. Then insulin is rather important.

Children love to laugh. Ka-thwack your head on a tree branch and they’ll love you forever. Slip on the ice and they’ll offer you your own sitcom. But by the time we’re a little older, many of us allow the gift of laughter to get sacrificed on the altar of maturity. We still savor a laugh. But life sucks it out of us: Work. Deadlines. Inlaws. Pimples.

I began to lose my laugh back in fifth grade. That was the year grownups started snarling at me: “Smarten up! Wise up! Listen up! Sit up! Stand up! Pick that up! Wash up! Speak up! Shut up! Grow up!” (As if we weren’t confused enough they’d add, “Quiet down! Simmer down! Settle down! Slow down! Get down from there!)

I deserved it. But since when does growing up mean we have to grow cranky? Since when does growing up mean we have to look like we make a living sucking buttons off sofas?

We all agree that life gets serious, that tough times are upon us. That’s why I’m a firm believer in making laughter a part of our daily schedule—like sleep, exercise, and the mandatory naps here at the home. But how do we keep a laugh handy when the world around us hides them like Easter eggs?

This little book holds five secrets guaranteed to help you say good riddance to the joy suckers. If the laughter has faded from your life, your workplace, or your home, that is about to change.

For twenty years it has been my privilege to entertain audiences with humor. Anyone who does this knows that there are few thrills as exhilarating as watching folk slide from chairs lubricated with a glorious jolt of laughter. I have come to believe that a laugh is something deep inside you trying to shout, “Hey! It’s okay! Everything’s gonna be alright!” 

And it will.

Just ask Lynn and Kurt. And a stranger in the mall with an unforgettable story I hope the poor guy tells his grandchildren one day. A story that—like this little book—should bring a little laughter wherever it goes.

[Order a First Edition copy]

Read more of Phil's articles. Like to see Phil's articles syndicated in your magazine or newspaper? Email for info...