There’s a commercial that plays on the radio here in the Bay Area, sponsored by a local hospital in its campaign to encourage healthier living, that got me thinking this morning. Apparently, when you’re five years old you laugh about 3,000 times a day. By the time you hit your forties, that number has dropped to 14. (Typing those numbers, I realize one of them couldn’t possibly be correct. That’s the number for the adult. Fourteen strikes me as high. I’m guessing it’s closer to two, and you only get there by counting the grim laugh that escapes from you when you get your property tax bill in the mail.)
Anyway, I thought I’d respond to these statistics by doing a little Laughter Audit today. So far, I’ve counted the following Laughter Moments:
- three Laughter Moments in child’s school conference. One being a laugh of relief when parents heard child described, without a hint of irony, as a “Scholar and Gentleman.” Second laugh came when parent pointed out that there were six teachers and two parents in the room and that was plain scary. Third laugh, and best of all, came when parent told teachers –ten minutes into praise of child — that they’d better escape while they (and child) were ahead. Teachers laughed at this suggestion, meaning child had managed to get through term without getting in any fights with other children and had basically turned in homework on time. (I’ve just remembered one other Laugh Event: in parking lot after school conference, father of genius child describes him as “fruit of my loins.” Mother laughs and says, “everyone knows genius comes from maternal line.” Father, as I recall, doesn’t exactly laugh. Small smile.)
- two laughs at conference in chambers at the court where I work. Cannot repeat either, because they were law jokes, and so only funny to an extremely limited number of people, people many believe incapable of ever being funny.
So, okay. That’s five. That’s a bit pathetic, as it’s currently 11:57 a.m, pacific daylight savings time. Obviously, I’ve got some work to do today. I’ll report back at 5:00. In the meantime, go out and look for laughter of your own. Feel free to report back; perhaps a cumulative laughter audit will get us somewhere close to that of a five year old.
Allrighty, it’s 5:30 (PST). Laughing began in parking garage on way home. Odd guy who works in garage was signalling people to the exit by doing funky chicken dance. A Bay Area moment: no one can just be a parking lot attendant. There always has to be something more, because one’s personhood cannot be suppressed by one’s day job.
Home after school, I notice that, with children, many Laugh Moments have to do with, well, excrement. Several jokes about bodily functions, more than I’ll actually admit, occurred blindingly fast. No wonder five year olds laugh so often. Put a bunch of them in a room and the amount of bodily function jokes must be huge. In our house, there was much laughing after each and every one of these jokes. And I’ll tell you right now, not a single one of them was particularly new. However, I’ll admit I do find this sort of thing funny, although it’s my job to act like I don’t. Still, the fruit of my (well, my husband’s) loins apparently were blessed with my humor genes, which is to say we all like pretty much the same really stupid stuff.
Let’s see, oh, a conversation with an older child in which older child complained about younger brother being terribly immature, in a way he was not when he was that age: “mom, he can’t even tie his own shoes. And he can’t just USE the bathroom, he has to talk about it. A lot.” Several moments of laughter, which I should have suppressed because it’s not nice to laugh at the fruit of your husband’s loins, but really, I’ve noticed these two attributes of terrible immaturity seem to be evenly spread throughout the male line in our household.
In an effort to game the Laughter Audit (and at least see if we can approach the laugh per day numbers of, say, a mirthful young adult), we’re going to watch our netflix movie at dinner tonight. And no, we don’t do that all the time. It’s plain weird having the computer on your dinner table, which is the only way we can watch dvds. It’s like having a super geeky dinner guest at your table. One who doesn’t eat but just watches you. We’ve been on a Sitcoms-From-Days-Gone-By kick, so tonight it’s Leave it To Beaver. We’ll see. I like the Beave, and sometimes watching the parents interact totally cracks us up, so different are they from we.
Happy Evening (or morning or afternoon, depending on your time zone, of course), BL