The following is a recent conversation with my 6-year old son, a newcomer to the English language:
Ezra (from the backseat): Mom, konk konk.
Ezra (a little louder): Konk! Konk!
Me: Okay. (feeling defensive)
Ezra: No. You talk “what?”
Ezra: Hamburger stinky on a bus. Ha, ha, ha. Now, you turn.
Me: Oh! (just beginning to figure out what he’s talking about) Knock, knock.
Me: No. You say “who’s there?”
Ezra: Who there?
Ezra: Boo what?
Me: No. You say “boo who?”
Ezra: Boo who?
Me: Boo hoo? Hey, why are you crying?
Ezra: Me not crying. Me not laughing either. Boo Who not funny. Stinky Hamburger is funny.
I’ve never been all that great at remembering jokes. Usually, if someone puts me on the spot and asks me to tell a joke, I draw a blank. And anyway, who really laughs that hard at a knock-knock joke or a posing of the eternal question about the chicken who crossed the road? To me funniest material is anecdotal. True (and probably exaggerated) stories about people in familiar but absurd situations. Anecdotes just close enough to my own reality to be applicable delivered by a true storyteller are comedy gold.
I don’t mean to give the idea that my brand of humor is overly highbrow and intellectual. Years ago, my husband, sister, brother-in-law and I laughed like lunatics for half an hour just by blowing into our hands to make tooting noises in their living room. It was a magical recipe of exhaustion, late night, funny sounds, and adults acting like kids. We’ve never attempted to recreate the situation again.
A keyword search of “laugh” in the Bible reveals a mostly not-so-funny picture. Several references are from Abraham and Sarah’s exchange about the improbability of them becoming parents at such an old age. Then there are the “We’ll become laughingstocks” references in the Old Testament made by the Israelites questioning their obedience to God in all things. Surprisingly, the overall depressing book of Job has a sizable share of laugh verses along with Ecclesiastes’ “a time to weep and a time to laugh.”
All in all, it doesn’t reveal that God has a particular fondness for laughing. In other words, we may not have Open Mic Nights in Heaven for rising comedians. In spite of the lack of comedic evidence in the Bible, just knowing that we’re made in His image makes me believe that God loves a good chuckle. (Plus He makes us go through puberty. Surely He cracked up when He first invented that one.)
There’s nothing quite like a hearty, tear-producing laugh. One that makes you have to cross your legs so you don’t wet your pants. One that lasts longer due to your company of fellow laughers. One that makes your abs hurt like you’ve been doing 100 sit-ups. One that makes you sigh satisfactorily when you’re finished, wiping your eyes and rubbing your sore cheeks.
We may not find humor in all the same things, but I feel pretty confident in saying that all of us love a good laugh.
My favorite stand up comedian taking a bow.