How often do you have a really good laugh? One of those laughs that starts deep in your belly and forces its way out, regardless of where you are or who you are with. One of those laughs over which you have absolutely no control, either to stop or even laugh quietly. Any attempt to dam this kind of laugh normally ends in explosive snorting noises which of course only makes you laugh more.
This happened recently to me while having a rather grownup and civilised meal in a restaurant in France. I was showing some family members a few photos of a christening when one of the group suddenly pointed to the picture and said ¨OMG!! Mother´s bloomers are falling down!¨ We all craned forward to see, and unfortunately, due to weird trick of the light and a flesh coloured skirt, it looked exactly as if Granny´s knickers were indeed on their way down. (see below)
That was it, I started to chuckle and shake and then laugh harder and harder. Pretty soon, tears were pouring down my face and while everyone else had a good laugh and moved on to other things, I continued snorting and spluttering through the Salade Montanarde and into my wine glass. Every time I managed to calm down, I would think of the picture and the whole thing would start over again. Luckily everyone at the table found it funny enough to put up with my intermittent giggling and eye-wiping and I eventually managed to gain some control.
There is something about laughing like that, that leaves you feeling wonderful and lightheaded and puts you in a tremendously good mood. Even remembering it brings a huge smile to my face. Apparently, laughing is very good for you, it raises your heart rate, releases tension and even burns extra calories. I might suggest it to my personal trainer, instead of some of the more unpleasant exercises he gives me.
On the flip side, it can be fairly uncomfortable being with someone who has the giggles and you either don´t see the joke or don´t know what they are laughing about. This has happened to Husband on a couple of occasions when we have been on a flight and I have started laughing at a book I have been reading. The need to keep quiet has made the whole thing worse and I have ended up snorting and hiccuping with tears pouring down my face while he has looked on aghast and tried to help by handing me tissues. I suspect that we are hard wired to find any form of loss of control uncomfortable viewing, whether it is crying, shouting or even unstoppable laughter. People seem to look away whether out of embarrassment or to give the person crying/shouting or giggling manically some privacy.
I can still remember most of the occasions when I have got the giggles and generally what has started me off roaring with laughter, can still make me titter today. Sitting on a chairlift with a friend who insisted that one of her colleagues was called Hugh Janus (say it quickly to yourself) and my subsequent inability to stop laughing for two days. Or the time someone broke wind loudly in a extremely serious school assembly. These are all memories which can bring a smile to my face and even make me laugh out loud years later.
So I am going to treasure the picture of the christening and take a quick look at it every so often to keep my blood pressure down and fool myself that I am burning calories as I chuckle.