Sunday, April 4, 2010

nervous laughter

   When I was eighteen months old, I was afraid of the lawnmower.  I pronounced it "mum-ower" and, legend has it, would dance in circles around the thing, pointing at it and shouting "MUM-OWER!" while laughing in an exaggerated manner.  So my tendency to laugh at fears I can't fully articulate is nothing new and I wasn't really surprised when my first therapist observed that I use humor as a coping mechanism. 

   A couple of weeks ago, my husband (who I call "Hotter" on my blog, short for "He Of The Ring" after I introduced him here) had a seizure.  He had a stroke after his transplants due to polycythemia, and the scarring in his brain occasionally triggers them; while this was the first time he's had a seizure since we moved in together, we both knew what to do.  I grabbed him a couple of Valium and he laid down on our bed, and I sat next to him touching his fingertips and made bad jokes while we waited: "You are SO INCONSIDERATE," I informed him.  "I am on a deadline and you could at least have done this while there was still enough snow on the ground to roll you outside and let you make angels for the kids!"  Because he was diabetic prior to his transplants, and has had a lot of eye surgeries, the pupils of Hotter's beautiful green eyes are permanently two different sizes.  When it was over, I asked him what I should do: "Should I check to see if your pupils are even--OH WAIT, I CAN'T, DO YOU SEE HOW DIFFICULT YOU MAKE EVERYTHING FOR ME?"  We laughed a lot.

   My kids' therapist recently started working with us all as a family.  The boys are getting comfortable with their stepfather, and vice versa, which means there is plenty to discuss.  Before the first session where he participated, Hotter kept making jokes about things he'd say to the therapist about beatings and establishing dominance, and when we walked into the counselor's office, he just came right out and said "she's worried that I'm going to make us look bad by making inappropriate jokes," and we proceeded to have our first fight ever right then and there on The Couch, and OH MY GOD.  Family therapy is educational, y'all.  You get to see how irritating your own habits can be as your loved ones model them.  Good times!

   Apparently we're both more worried about Hotter's new role as the custodial co-parent and effective male role model of my kids than we realized, and need to stop dancing in circles around that laughing and talk about it. 

   Do you ever laugh at things that aren't really funny?



MFA Mama copes with her daily life through inappropriate humor at her personal blog here.

1 comment:

  1. I do tend to giggle nervously sometimes. One incident that comes to mind is the day my dog fell down some stairs. I was a teenager at the time, and I think I was so relieved she wasn't hurt that I had to repress my laughter. My mom was nearby and I'm not sure she would've understood. Anytime I have that quick adrenaline fear response it is possible that I will laugh unexpectedly. I've been wondering about this with my daughter, too. She laughs unexpectedly a lot, and it always makes me wonder if she is afraid or confused by strong emotions and just can't help herself.