Spending an hour in a doctor’s office waiting room is like being in the windowless elevator of a 3,000-floor building. Nobody talks. Nobody makes eye contact. It’s awkward.
Every hundred floors or so somebody else gets on and tells the elevator operator their name so they’ll know where to stop.
I was the responsible parent yesterday — it occurs with Leap Year frequency — and had to take the 15 year old in for a routine check-up.
There were about 10 of us in this 11-seat room the whole time. They’d come and they’d go.
A stack of of ancient People magazines on the corner table was being ignored in favor of an array of glowing tech.
E-readers and smart phones have rendered the 1964 Barbara Streisand song obsolete: People who need People are no longer the luckiest people in the world.
They’re just people whose monthly data allotment has expired.
I’m old school. I’d brought a book. A real one. Thick. It was the 1,232 page Churchill book I mentioned in Monday’s post.
I like taking it in public because I enjoy ostentatiously reading and because it’s thick enough to stop a stray bullet and these days you just never know.
Everyone in there was ignoring everyone else — everyone but Josie and myself. In an endearment I’ll treasure forever, she put her head on my shoulder and would chuckle at my whispered jokes.
After about 20 minutes, I told her I wanted her to stand up the next time the receptionist announced a name. Any name.
“If they say, ‘Amy?’ stand up and say you’re Amy. Same if it’s Tim or Beth or Joyce. Then start a fight with the real Amy, Tim, Beth or Joyce about who gets to go first.”
She said she’d get in trouble.
“You might even get beat up, but it would shatter the boredom and everyone would have a good story to post for their Facebook friends and that would make it all worthwhile.”
I believe we have a moral obligation to demolish life’s many tediums.
That’s why I’m ashamed of what happened next.
I was reading a passage about how FDR in 1942 wheeled himself into the White House guest room where Churchill was staying and found Churchill buck naked. And there these two world leaders began discussing how to best obliterate global tyranny.
As Roosevelt aid Harry Hopkins later recalled, Churchill was standing there “stark naked and gleaming pink from his bath,” when Roosevelt questioned Churchill on a point.
Churchill responded about his tactical intentions and then added, “You see, Mr. President, I have nothing to hide.”
The absurdity of the situation and Churchill’s sparkling wit provoked from me a snort of laughter.
I’d reflexively LOL’d.
Yet, I was too situationally coy to truly LOL.
I stifled my giddy laughter.
Really, I should have just laughed out loud. Even better, I should have right there rolled on the floor and laughed my silly ass off.
The spectacle would have made everyone happy.
I probably see ROTFLMAO about once a day, yet in my entire life I’ve never seen a single hysterical individual rolling on the floor laughing his or her asses off.
The Centers for Disease Control tracks the rise of infectious diseases. I wish there was an organization dedicated to spreading infectious laughter.
It needs encouraging.
If I, a sober and sane appearing middle aged man, had succumbed to an out-of-the-blue bout of hysterical laughter everyone in that godforsaken waiting room would have laughed right along with me. My insane laughter would have made everyone happy.
Well, everyone, but my teenage daughter who despite her paternal affection would have been mortified.
My stifling laughter, too, goes against what I advise people to do when they enjoy my book or blog.
I have friends tell me they stifle laughter when they’re reading my posts in some public place.
One friend said she got shushed in the quiet car on the Manhattan train while LOLing because of my blog.
Manhattan. That’s New York City.
If you can make it there, you can make it anywhere!
Or so I’ve heard.
I told her she should have said it was too funny to stifle and she should have as proof read the entire post aloud until everyone either got the joke or she was placed under arrested.
Imagine the euphoric headlines: “Woman arrested for excessive laughter!”
I’d be booked with Jimmy Fallon the very next night.
When was the last time you truly laughed your ass off?
Even just the memory of having done so feels so good, doesn’t it?
So next time something funny provokes you to laugh, don’t hold back. Just let it fly. Laugh loud. Snort. Pound your fist on the table. Get down and roll around the floor laughing your MFAO.
You’ll feel better. The whole world will.
We need all the laughter we can get. Even if it comes from observing happy strangers.
So it’s okay to laugh your ass off.
Just keep your clothes on. Because Churchill was wrong.
We all have a little something to hide.
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