Stripling

Stripling

Have you exercised your hippocampus and amygdala lately? I had a good session with mine recently at a Jeanne Robertson show. Laughter is linked to these parts of the brain, and she gave them a good workout. She is a comedienne who talks about the humor she finds all around her.

One of her favorite sayings is, “You find what you’re looking for.” If you are looking for the good in life, and fun and laughter, then that is what you will find. But if all you do is focus on the negative and bad stuff, then that is what will fill your life.  

Her husband, whom she calls “left brain,” is the butt of many of her funny stories. On meeting her before the show, I told her I had one of those “left brains” at home. She said, “Well you can’t fix them.” I told her, “I know.” I have tried for 56 years.  

She is 6 feet 3 inches tall and finds much to laugh about when dealing with her size. What might be a liability for some, she makes light of.  

She recently broke her femur and had some complications with it, but still found humor about being in the hospital. Now, let me tell you, I was recently in the hospital and it is a real stretch to be able to find humor there, but she did.

How much better our lives would be is we could see the light side of things instead of focusing on the dark. We should take a lead from therapist Barbara Johnson, who says, “Whatever it is probably won’t go away, so we might as well live and laugh through it. When we double over laughing, we’re bending so we won’t break.”

 There is much to be said about the therapeutic effects of laughter. To quote an old Yiddish proverb, “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” It is said to exercise the muscles, get the blood flowing, decrease blood pressure and stress hormones, improve sleep, and boost the immune system. It just makes you feel good.

Our most important book, The Bible, tells us, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” That is found in Proverbs 17:22. 

Throughout the years, we have been entertained by those who make jokes and do comedy acts. We have loved them and laughed with them: Lucille Ball, Bob Hope, Robin Williams, Jerry Seinfeld, and countless others.  

The very purest art of comedy is a simple set-up where a man or woman walks onto the stage by themselves, in front of strangers and a spotlight and starts talking. Then they eventually exit, hopefully to the laughter of a room full of people. Jeanne Robertson accomplished this, which can’t be an easy thing to do.

There is a quote from old-time show host Art Linkletter which states, “And keep a sense of humor.  If you can’t think of anything else, when you’re my age, take off your clothes and walk in front of a mirror.  I guarantee you’ll get a good laugh.” 

Today is the present; a gift from God. Make the most of it. It is even better when sprinkled with laughter, and brighter if viewed through windows of light. Have you had a good laugh today? According to Jeanne, if you look for it, you will probably find it.  

 A former longtime Baytown resident, Ginger Stripling now lives in Mont Belvieu. She can be reached at viewpoints@baytownsun.com, Attention: Ginger Stripling.

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