We’re all familiar with our usual days of celebration, such as Mother’s Day, Thanksgiving, and more. Yet, there are days of celebrating every day of the month, according to Chase’s Calendar of Events, and other sources. Since I grew up with a mother and siblings, who had a terrific sense of humor, I decided to write about some of those fun and laughter days.
April Fool’s Day-I’ll start with the most fun-loving day of the year that we’re all familiar with. A day when pranks, getting someone to do something silly, even hoaxes on radio or TV that happen on April Fool’s Day.
Some historians believe this foolishness day started in 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII replaced the Julian calendar with the Gregorian. By doing this, the New Year’s date of April 1, moved to January 1st. Yet, some people didn’t accept this change and kept April 1st for their New Year’s. People that did change the date, would make fun of those who didn’t, by sending them on “fool’s errands.” Yet, it is known ancient cultures celebrated days of foolishness even before the calendar was changed by Pope Gregory.
I think the best April Fool’s story, in my life, in the 80s, was when my sister, Dorothy, decided to have a gathering at her home on April 1st. My sister, Gladys and I, couldn’t resist the date for some fun. We concocted a story that we both broke our arms on the same day, at different times, and were now in casts. We each called Mom at different times to tell her about our broken arms, knowing she’d tell the other sisters. She did just that. Our plan was working perfectly.
On April 1st, Gladys knew a nurse who gave us some material and some kind of spray, with the caution, “Don’t overdo the spray!”
We arrived at Dorothy’s front door, only to be surprised when the door opened and there stood Dorothy with her head bandaged. Close behind was Anita with a bandaged finger.
That isn’t the end of the story. Since our joke back-fired, we asked for a scissor to cut off the casts. The casts wouldn’t budge. We became concerned we’d have to be taken to the hospital to get them off. Dorothy’s husband came to the rescue, with a tool from the tool room. Our arms were a slight pinkish, and we haven’t had a cast on since.
National Humor Month – April 1-30- And now you can celebrate laughter for a whole month. The day was founded in 1976 by comedian and author of 53 books on humor, Larry Wilde, Director of the Carmel Institute of Humor.
Wilde’s few tips on using humor for stress are: You get immediate results, it’s good for your heart, problem solving, best way to start a meeting, and makes you more efficient.
Steve Wilson, a joyologist and psycologist spent 30 years “specializing in applied and therapeutic humor with a humanitarian mission.” In 2008, Wilson took the reins from Wilde. According to Wilson’s web site, “I have worked with 100s of organizations, small and large businesses, and corporations to teach them how to form an organization where people are eager to improve performance and profitability. He is also founder of the World Laughter Tour.
Why not start today thinking of things you can do to make yourself or others laugh for the whole month of April?
Global Belly Laugh Day- January 24th---This day is held January 24th at 1:24 pm (local time) around the world. Elaine Helle, the founder, chose the date due to a British researcher, who claimed January 24th to be the most depressing day. Thus, she decided this was the day to celebrate the gift of laughter.
Helle is actually a certified laughter yoga teacher, developed by the Indian, Dr. Madan Kataria, written in his book, “Laugh For No Reason.” This movement started in the 1990s, and later the formal version called “Laughter Clubs” was created.
The first Laughter Yoga Club began in Mumbai, India, with 12,000 members from local and national clubs in 65 countries.
According to Wikipedia, “Laughter is easily stimulated in a group when combined with eye contact, ‘childlike playfulness’ and laughter exercises. Fake laughter quickly becomes real. Laughter yoga brings more oxygen to the body and brain by incorporating yogic breathing, which results in deep diaphragmatic breathing.”
Tell a Joke Day- August 16th---Jokes come in different forms, such as a single word or gesture, gag, quip, prank, one-liner, and more. I did not find in my research the person who started this day, but I did notice August 16th date, was my mother’s birthday, who loved jokes.
I also had a sister, Jannetta, who carried numerous jokes in her purse. She loved to make people laugh, but she wasn’t that good at memorizing, so she read them. One time, I insisted she empty her heavy purse so I could see what made it so heavy. I couldn’t believe the stack of papers she had, which contained jokes. The sisters heard them numerous times, but we’d laugh at them all over again.
Someday We’ll Laugh About This Week- January 2-8---The above days are from the HUMOR Project, founded by Dr. Goodman (mentioned in Love Make the World go ‘Round).
I can attest to this week in the many articles I’ve written on my human foibles. My recent foible came this week when I washed the rug set in the basement bathroom. I hardly ever use this bathroom, but that weekend I did “try” to use it. As usual, the lid was up. As I looked closer, I realized the lid cover was on the seat with the hole in it. Immediately, I called my husband, “You did this! You put the lid cover on the seat with the hole to make me laugh.”
He came over to see what I was talking about and said, “No I did not do that!” Just then I admitted, “I know what happened. I was in a hurry that day and absentmindedly placed the cover on the wrong seat.”
I decided to let the lid cover on the wrong seat for the time being. Next day, my daughter, Mande, stopped by. I told her something was wrong with the toilet upstairs, and to use the one in the basement. Later, she came upstairs laughing. I told her the story.
That weekend a grand and great-grandaughter came over for the community yard sale. But, with all the business I forgot to tell them to use the downstairs toilet. But, I told them about the wrong lid story anyway. They laughed. So you see my “foible of the week” got five good laughs, which included my own. I like what James Carlos Blake said, “A man who can laugh at himself is truly blessed, for he will never lack for amusement.”
I have one more story, I can’t resist. As a lover of books, I often pick them up at yard or book sales. One of the books was called, “How to Act Like a Little Old Lady,” by Mary McHugh. What I loved about this 80 year old woman was her great sense of humor. One of her stories was about a Scotch Whiskey Tour, with 6 other journalists. The last night, one of the distillers hosted a party for them. It was great entertainment, but she made the mistake of blabbing earlier that she did an impersonation of bacon frying. At some point, the host had heard about this and announced, “Now it is the Americans turn to entertain us.” Thus, it was she was invited to do her bacon impression. “Because I have no shame,” she stated, “I went on stage, lay on my back in a dress, stockings and high heels. After laying still for 30 seconds, I wriggled one arm, then the other, to my leg, and the other, my belly, until the bacon was done.” Everyone cheered and laughed when she got up again. She thought it was because she did a great impression, until one lady said, “We were clapping because you could get up again!”
Love May Make the World go “Round, But Laughter Keeps Us from Getting Dizzy Week- February 8-14---The 36th event for 2016 was dedicated to Victor Borge, comedian/pianist, for his idea that “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.” The day is the brainchild of Dr. Joel Goodman, who believes “Seven days without laughter makes one weak.”
Dr. Goodman founded and directs the HUMOR Project, since 1977. This project provides grants to 475 plus schools, hospitals, and human service agencies, to help them “tap into the positive power of humor.”, or HOHO (Humor Outreach Humor Opportunity) for speakers for your organization or business. Also, you might be interested in “Laffirmations: 1001 Ways to Add Humor to Your Life and Work,” published by Health Communications.
Goodman also founded AHA!, the American Humor Assoc., which includes 165,000 humor “contributors.” If you love humor, you’ll enjoy all of Goodman’s humor projects.
Laugh and Get Rich Day- February 8---This day was founded by Rick Segal, a retail marketing expert and speaker, who wrote the book, “Laugh and Get Rich.” I think the idea for this day asserts that if you enjoy what you do for a living, you’ll laugh all the way to the bank.
In checking back on my income from writing, the most I ever earned was $1,031.78 in 2014. Now I’m certainly not laughing all the way to the bank, but I do love what I’m doing?
My stories revolve around most anything that pop’s into my head---from family stories, humor, and even research. Someone once said to me, “Carole, you tell it all!” I agreed. I learned something from my mother when she was in her 80s. She told me, “When you’re in your 80s, you can say or do pretty much what you want, as long as you don’t deliberately try to hurt someone. People will say, oh well, she’s 80.” I like Mom’s way of thinking. Some people will like my stories and some won’t. Some might say, “Oh, she’s 75!” Perhaps one day I’ll laugh as I’m walking all the way to the bank.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, in their “The World Happiness Report” ---collected data from 150 countries. Variables include social support, healthy life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, and more. For 2016, the three highest happiest countries are Denmark, Switzerland, and Iceland. The United States is considered 13th on the list. Our founding fathers knew enough to include “Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness” in our Declaration of Independence. Apparently, the U.S. is slipping in the happiness department. So let’s get back to laughing more, and by next year, perhaps the U.S. will make it for number one on the list.
I’ll end this article with a quote from Michael Pritchard: You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.