The last laugh

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Rarely does a day go by that I don’t laugh. Even on bad days. It’s normally on those days that I laugh the hardest. Like eye-watering, nose-dripping, laughing. Like lose control of your face and body fluid laughing.

I love that. I love laughing like that.

Throughout my life, I’ve laughed with many people. Some strangers, some friends and some sworn enemies. Never have two laughs been similar in style or sound. But some have been more memorable than others.

The following is a collection of my favorites:

The jolly laugher: My mother-in-law has the best laugh in the world. Her laugh starts with her eyes. Because she’s the person in the room whose gaze you try to catch when something out of control crazy just happened. So, when your eyes meet, her eyes immediately widen and then turn into two little crescent moons, which is the cue for the laugh dance to start.

She kicks back her head and grabs her stomach, while holding out her left hand pointing at you. This means, she’s about to say something funny. Only she starts laughing on a perfect beat, one ha-ha-per-second perfectly synchronized with the way her shoulders move up and down with every “ha-ha” sound. She never finishes what she’s going to say, ever. But because her laugh creates such chaos, she never really needs to.

The crazy laugher: My friend Carlos, is the most refined person I know. From the way he dresses to the way he carries himself, he is the personification of a Ken doll. He is excessively polite and well-mannered, but there’s an evil that brews within him.

We may be at lunch and have a polite laugh, where he’ll smile and let out a small “ha” if even that. Most of the time his laughs are silent, controlled and pleasant. Unless he’s completely caught of guard. And when he is, this monster “bwahah” comes from inside his gut that scares everyone around him, including him. His reaction is always the same; he immediately slams both his hands on his face while apologizing with his eyes. I’ve thought about recording it, so I could play it back whenever I want, but it happens so unpredictably that it is just as impossible to catch as it is to imitate.

The violent laugher: I once had a neighbor named Charles who would party every Friday. He had a pretty important and well paying position at a bank with a ridiculous schedule that allowed him to finish his day as early as noon. By the time I would get home on Friday evenings, he had been drinking for four solid hours. He would sit in his patio with the music blaring from his insanely expensive entertainment system – located in his living room. He never got around to setting up outdoor speakers, so he would just turn the volume loud enough for him – and all of us – to have to yell at each other for the rest of the evening.

“Come here bro!” He would yell with a drink in his hand. He would follow it up with a menu of food and beverages available at his apartment to entice me further. “I’ve got Red Stripe, Bud Light and Fosters. The ribs are almost ready and my girl will be home any minute with the Doritos!” All of this would be screamed at me from downstairs, before I had a chance to turn my key and unlock my door.

“Let me just drop my stuff, I’ll be right there!” I would yell.

With beer in hand, we would sit and yell about our day. It didn’t matter how funny something was, Charles would laugh loudly over the music. Along with his literal LOL-laugh, he would punch me in the arm. A full-force blow.

The first one would always catch me off guard. The next few I would try to catch with my fist, so as to do a fist bump. Only, after a few high-impact, slightly off-centered bumps, my knuckles would start bleeding.

By the end of the night, I would use the beer bottles to ice down my arms and hands.

The delayed laugher: Minutes after the group would finish a good laugh, Tania, the CFO at a place I once worked, would start-up. It was a weird mood killer too. Maybe because she would re-tell what just happened, as if we weren’t in the room a just laughing about it. I’m telling you it was weird. But genuine.

A typical incident would go down like this:

A group of co-workers are cleaning up the coffee pot that just exploded, still smiling and wiping tears, from the laugh they just had. Tania, who had been there, having lunch and a witness to the incident all of a sudden, lets out a loud laugh. Everyone turns to her, thinking something else has happened, until she says while laughing:

“Oh my God! We were all here having lunch and then Elayne made coffee and then the coffee pot exploded!! That was funny!!”

To which a few would respond, “Yeah,” and “I know.”

But, it would always make me laugh hysterically.

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