Need a laugh? Go out to lunch. Take your best friend. Meet at one of your favorite hangouts where there the specialty—homemade ice cream—comes in generous portions. Realize how awesome it is that your friend is mature enough to determine that, today, ice cream is lunch. Because it is! (Banana splits have fruit and even protein if one of your toppings is the establishment’s homemade peanut butter sauce.) 

Giggle over the antics of the family and their pets as you regale stories, while delicious ice cream and carmel sauce drip all over your plate and make your hands delightfully sticky. (And express gratitude that napkins, when necessary, are happily plentiful.)

Update each other on various goings-on as you exchange Happy January Winter/Late Christmas presents which make the cold, grey day feel like bright spring. 

Try to remember to breathe as tears—icy in the winter air—stream down your face in laughter after your friend relates an awkward work experience in which a co-worker tells a client that she can qualify for more money once she has some dependents, to which the client responds, “How do I get those?” (Laugh more when you think of the people driving by in the parking lot wondering what is making the two of you laugh so hard, and how they can get in on it.) 

Marvel at your friend’s professionalism as she explains how she holds her breath on the other side of the cubicle to keep from laughing as she hears her co-worker’s awkward silence, and her maturity to resist the urge to go over and ask her co-worker, “Yes, how does one get dependents, dear?” while mentally hearing the opening line, “When a mommy and daddy love each other very much . . .” Cheer for the co-worker who, in her slightly stunned state, is able to form the very professional response that once one gets married and has children, then one has dependents in the form of spouse and said children.

Laugh with good nature when you realize that the dear client was simply asking what a dependent was, but the question implied something else that you would hope a nineteen year-old would know by now, and laugh even harder when you realize you understood your best friend perfectly without her having to explain all of this. Because after so long, friends come to share mental links.

So now upon hearing the word “dependents,” I may smile. And then giggle as I imagine my friend’s infectious giggle. And that may escalate until my sides hurt, my smile is stretched to the limits of my face, and I am once again reminded how gloriously good life is and why it is said that laughter is the best medicine.

Thanks for the dose of the best, Leaf Child!

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