Thursday, May 18, 2006

THE 400 CHALLENGE


Laughter 10c, originally uploaded by geor·gia.

One thing I learned from yesterday's post and the ensuing comments is that Kids pretty much own the joys of:

*Running for pure pleasure
*Climbing
*Cannonballing into cold water on a hot day
*Playing dress up (without needing to shop for designer clothes and matching accessories.)
*Catching fireflies in jars
*Jump rope
*Hopscotch
*Skipping (tell the truth, when was the last time you saw an adult skip? Not that I'd particularly want to see it, but still...)
*Playing make-believe and having no one question whether you plagiarized the characters or the dialogue.
*Putting on a real baseball uniform and having your family watch you play--not because you're a superstar, just because it's fun.

And what do we adults get in return for the time we've put in on this planet:

*The right to go to a bar and pay five bucks for a watery beer anytime we want.

*The right to sprawl on the couch in front of the TV at the end of the day--at least, as long as none of the kids' shows are on.

*Credit cards! That's right, we can go into the store and buy anything we want, kids. So there. Bet you'd like to try that one.

*Credit card bills. Oy vey. Apparently, if you can't afford it today, you're probably not going to be able to afford it tomorrow either? Who'd have thunk?

*Nagging phone calls from some very dogged folks employed by the credit card companies. Seems they want their money and they want it now.


*Caller I.D. Now we're talking.

*Ever mounting late fees and fines.

*Another trip to the bar for more watery beer where you can stare at another TV, and practice Scarlett O'Hara's philosophy: I'll think about it tomorrow.

*The chance to worry about global warming, distant wars, rising interest rates and lowering pay scales--and the increasing sense that you can't do much about it.

*All washed down with more watery beer on credit. What a deal!

No seriously, it's not that bad. I love being an adult. I don't have to eat my vegetables, if I don't want to. (The strange thing is, I do.) No one gets to be "the boss of me"--err, except of course, my boss. And no one ever tells me to clean my room. Now that I"m the mom, I get to clean all the rooms while everyone else is running, playing make-believe, and get this--laughing.

That's right. It seems that while no one was looking, the little buggers took control of laughter, too! According to this source, most kids find something worth laughing about more than 400 times a day while we adults manage only about fifteen grudging hee-haws in the same time period.

Well, this is where I draw the line. Today I'm going to walk around with a little notebook and put a mark in it every time I laugh--and I'm not going to stop till I reach 400. I'll laugh at the guy from the credit card company when he calls on the phone; and when someone dumps a back pack or a pair of socks or a half-eaten grilled cheese in the middle of the living room, I'll laugh at that, too.

I'll laugh at spilled milk and bad news that I can't do anything about.
I'll giggle about the characters who aren't cooperating in my latest novel, and my own reluctance to sit still and get the work done.
I'll laugh until the dogs bark back and the cats run for cover.
The only thing I won't do is tell knock-knock jokes. After all, we adults have our dignity.



(Oh crap, just noticed it's already noon, and I haven't laughed once yet. I've clearly got some serious laughing to do.)

46 comments:

rdl said...

thanks for the laugh! check in tmrww. AM for joke friday. :D

MB said...

Only 15 times! Oh dear, we are a sad lot. Fortunately, I'm convinced I laugh more than that. At least that many times already today, I'm sure... Plus several times at least while reading this!

Laughter is good for the soul and the notion it is the perogative of the young... is laughable!

Dale said...

Only 15? That's dreadful. I'm sure I'd clock in at upwards of a hundred. I had an officemate who commented on how often I laugh. I worried that it bothered her, but she assured me she preferred it to her former officemate, who swore and stamped when something unexpected came up, rather than giggling.

One of the greatest gifts my father gave me, was the example of an adult who skips. He skipped with us in the park, on the the sidewalk, in the store parking lot, anywhere. When you were holding his hand and skipping with him, you'd soar up into the sky.

Not to mention climbing trees, walking bridge-rails, and crawling around on the ground to look at bugs. I never had the idea that adults quit doing those things. Thank God.

Kerstin said...

My mother is currently visiting from Germany and two days ago we walked through the supermarket and I stopped at the little red mini Babybel cheeses, remembering that as a child they were a rare treat because they were considered expensive. As I grabbed a bag I caught a glance from my mom and said immediately "I am an adult now, I can have these whenever I want!" This was probably the first time we laughed over a Babybel cheese!

Lorna said...

As an adult, I have to confess to skipping last Sunday. I wanted to hop, but skipping happened mysteriously instead. Also laughter.

Patry Francis said...

r: I'll be there.

mb: I have to wonder where they get this data. Do they attach laugh-o-meters to their test subjects? Anyway, I'm happy--and not at all surprised-- that you're doing your part to bring up the averages.

dale: I had a co-worker like you at my last job. Her laughter was infectious; and whenever anyone did anything spiteful or incompetent, she always said, "I'm sure they didn't mean it." Apparently, it's almost impossible to indulge in office gossip or petty politics when you're laughing.

kerstin: What a wonderful story about you and your mother. I think I can picture the store in Noho where you would be likely to find Balybel cheese--a small independent grocery --though the name eludes me.

lorna: Both you and Dale's father proved me wrong about the skipping. I'll have to give it a try--preferably, in a conspicuous place where people will be inspired to join in, or at least to increase their laughs per day.

Sarah said...

Yes, I laughed at this too. Thanksx

Simply Coll said...

Loved the post. Reminds me of a quote:

"I am thankful for laughter, except when milk comes out of my nose." ~Woody Allen

Nova said...

What a cute post, and it just reminded me to stop being so adult and to enjoy life more!

Shai Gluskin said...

My kids and I are listening to an audio book on the way to school in which the song, Yakety Yak (circa 1963) played a part in the story. I bought it on iTunes, played it at breakfast and did the goofiest dance possible to it in front of my kids.

This is the kind of stuff you can only do in front of your kids when none of their friends are around (kids are 11 and 8.) But when you've got them to yourself, these silly times create precious moments that will be remembered a long time.

chiefbiscuit said...

I think I laugh quite a bit inwardly - perhaps I should try laughing out loud. Apparantly women laugh more than men do; often as part of their communication (as the poet George Szirtes delightfully pointed out in one of his blogs.)

robin andrea said...

We have a couple of really good, deep laughs everyday. I don't count them, but I count on them to open my lungs and heart, and make me glad that I am alive.

I also feel like crying everyday, but mostly I don't. I find it easier to laugh than to cry.

Jonathan said...

What's skipping in America? In the UK it is the name for both a kind of running technique in which a hop is introduced between steps AND rope jumping whether individual or in a group.

My dad taught me to skip (jump rope) and he's still very good at it. He will always join in with the children when the ropes come out. He also has a voluntary job helping people sort out their credit card problems. Whether these two things are related, I don't know. They may be...

Have you heard of Iona and Peter Opie? They devoted their lives to studying childrens' games and nursery rhymes and wrote some fascinating compediums of their findings.

finnegan said...

Lack of laughter is the only thing worth cryin' about.

TDharma said...

I'll be celebrating on June 21st! WHAT a great idea!

Love the list of things kid's own...we grown ups outta be boring heavily from that one.

I laugh a lot, as it is preferable to the alterntive; and I get around the watered down beer by having a martini at home! Now that's a drink you just can't water down.

Marilyn said...

I seldom laugh aloud. I might smile, sometimes only to myself. But when I do laugh, I tend to laugh hard...like how I lost it in the midst of a planning meeting at work the other day...one of my coworkers gave me a funny look (because our eyes were starting to glaze over)...and I could feel the laughter erupting from way down deep...and even before the first giggle came, I knew I'd soon be bent at the waist, shaking with laughter, tears streaming down my face. I don't laugh often...but hopefully I make up for it with quality. ;)

kate said...

bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahah!

now: off to drink champagne (watery beers sucks!) with buds and giggle some more :)

bluepaul said...
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floots said...

if you're ever short of a laugh
think about how long it takes me to put my socks on :)
(only good news is that i laugh too - you are so right)

liz elayne said...

how i envy their 400 moments of laughter...400. wow.

Swirly said...

I've listened to this radio program about 6 times, and I crack up everytime I hear it. Go here: http://thislife.org/ and enter "fiasco" under the "search this site" on the left side. The story about the production of Peter Pan is hysterical - I actually just listened to it this morning!!

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Linda said...

The 400 times a day quote is a misquote. it is so popular now that it is everywhere. The original quote is from "Living Wonderfully" by Dr. Robert Holden. Published in 1994, by The Aquarian Press. Page 126 last paragraph. "Social psychology research shows that children laugh on average 150 times a day; adults laugh on average only 6 times a day. During an average day, a child will smile 400 times; an adult will smile no more than 15 times".

He does not quote his source. This is the earliest place I found this reference.

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Anonymous said...

I know this is strange an 11-year-old girl is looking at you r blog... but I bet I don't laugh 400 times a day. Theres this boy in my class I swear laughs 800 times a day...