A sense of humour

Different people see different meanings for this statement. Some think it means what your sense of humour is, such as slapstick, toilet (my personal favourite!) or something more sophisticated and ‘meaningful’, but I think it goes much deeper than that.

Remember your schooldays when you laughed at the kid who wore glasses, or whose teeth were skew, or was perhaps a little slower in understanding than the rest of the class? That kind of laughter is not a sense of humour. It is a sense of superiority and is the cause of many playground traumas. If you were the one being laughed at, I bet you didn’t feel like joining in.

Many people laugh at others’ misfortune and seem to take pleasure in seeing how the mighty have fallen. This, too, is brought about by a need to feel better than others. And yet circumstances often conspire to turn the tables and the laughter soon fades.

These are not happy laughs – they are the hollow variety, not the sort that hurts your stomach muscles and make you wheeze. Hollow laughter has no benefit for your body or soul.

The best laughter is when you laugh at yourself – when you get blown off your high heels in a southeaster or the hose bursts and you get blasted in the face when watering the garden. And then there is the laughter shared by good friends, particularly when you recall your youth – there is always something to laugh about there! I have two special friends who, when I think of them, the first thing that springs to mind is hysterical laughter and it is always about their particular life circumstances.

So the measure of how smart you are is whether your laughter is good for your body and for your soul. Let’s all be smart.

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