A week ago, Mariesa and I decided we needed an ice cream cone before heading home. We pulled up to the Dairy Queen drive through and a teenage boy asked if he could take our order. When he repeated it back he no longer sounded 17. Instead he sounded ninety three and a lot like the fairy tale witches of my youth.
It shocked me. My face must have registered surprise and I started to laugh. Obviously the star of some hidden camera feed, the boy on the other end of the microphone started laughing too.
I tried to place our order, but found that I could not stop laughing. Every time I tried, I laughed harder.
“I’ll haaavveee aaaahhhh..heeeehehehe….hahahahaha….aaaahhh …..heeehehe… snort….aaahhhhahaha.
It did not help that my daughter had slid out of the passenger seat and was half sprawled on the floor in her own fit of merriment.
Nor did it help that every time I tried to compose myself, I could hear shrills of laughter coming through the microphone. One 17 year old had turned into at least 3-4 boys who were yucking it up over the joke played on me.
In a matter moments, all of us, my daughter, me, the guys inside the Dairy Queen…all of us had completely lost our composure. We were no longer obeying established rules of decorum and politeness. Like a bunch of college kids on a drinking binge, we had run amuck.
And for the few minutes that it lasted, it felt AWESOME!
It also felt a little scary. Cars were piling up behind us. The responsible part of my brain kicked in. We couldn’t keep laughing forever. I either had to get the order placed or I had to hit the gas and charge Pell mell past the drive through window.
I finally regained enough control to place the order. As I drove up, four guys came to look at us. I shook my head in mock disgust and said,”You are an idiot” to the boy that grabbed my credit card.
This time I was the one producing the shocker. Still, laughter had created a bond between us and he immediately knew I had name called with love. He threw his hand to his mouth and then doubled over. We all burst out laughing again.
“Hey”, another guy said,” we gotta do something to have a little fun around here.” He shrugged his shoulders as he handed us our ice cream. We exchanged one last smile and then it was over. A few minutes later we were back to reality, lots of decisions to make, too many things to do.
But for a moment a little laughter made the weight of the world go away. If we’d had known it was that easy, we would have saved the calories. Turns out we didn’t need our vanilla twisty cones at all.
Did you know studies show that kids laugh 400 times a day? The number of times adults laugh? 15. Yet, the health benefits are numerous and more studies show that nothing breaks down cultural barriers like laughter. Laughter is a universal language that can forge an instant bond.
Those Dairy Queen boys reminded me how great it feels to laugh, how good it feels to be human, how lucky I am to be me.
If you are an adult, chances are you need to laugh more too. So find a kid, look at the world from their perspective or do something unexpected and create a reason for someone else to laugh.
LOL! It really is the best medicine.