Wednesday, February 22

Summer of Her Laugh

She was there.
‘How was Friday?’
‘Ah, shit, I drank too much,’ I said—‘Woke up with one of the worst hangovers I’ve had in ages. Woke up at half-twelve then went to bed again at three. Fuckin wasted the day. Wasted pretty much the whole of Saturday. I’m in the summer of my life and I’m wasting my Saturdays.’
She laughed and laughed—‘“Summer of my life.”’ She had tears coming out of her eyes—‘I’ve never heard that before: “Summer of my life.”’
I smiled at her laughing.
He didn’t get it from his mother. His mother had no sense of humour beyond anything that can be chuckled along to on Saturday night television. She laughed only to appear more likeable. His father had a sense of humour, a joie de vivre stifled slightly by his wife, but there, bursting at the seams, waiting to get out. It manifested most of all, when playing with us, his grandchildren, I think; a series of games away from the grown-ups; my grandfather, the saint, chasing us around his unlit house with a torch, before showing us the way to the spaceship. The spaceship was his study; the computer set up with a starry screensaver. She, my father’s mother, sat smoking with a frown, this dressing gown of a frown, disappointed that – for the afternoon at least – her husband’s attention was distracted from her. My grandfather gave my father a sense of humour, which I think was bolstered by his friends. It was encouraged further by building sites. Having spoken to his friends and colleagues, my father’s sense of humour is something they are drawn to, as well as his intelligence and lightness.
My mother, hm, she lost her own father at a young age and, perhaps, humour is the only way to cut across such a field. Her siblings and their tomfoolery may have nurtured it, too. Her mother – my grandmother – had a wicked sense of humour. It is true that I worshipped my nan, but the cut of jib was matchless. As her body crumbled, her mind stayed sharp as a tack, her wit remarkable! She laughed at the same things I did, often with tears in her eyes (so I write as tears come to mine!). Her dislike of people and her sense of humour are two traits of her that I will take my grave. When I visited her she would laugh with my parents and I. Leaning back in the chair (from which she barely moved) she would blindly laugh silently.
Either way, giving birth to three boys gave my mother no chance but to find more humour in life otherwise, in a house of four males, she would have turned insane.
I never really took too much time for making people laugh until I was in secondary school. Even then I did not attempt such a thing, the making of laughter. No, it was not until I was bullied very heavily that I learned it may be to my benefit. In nearly all instances the bully had me over, be it with brute strength or number, however if, in the right situation, I could make people laugh at the bully I could therefore belittle them and cause them some humiliation in front of their friends and peers. So I tried to use my wit to humiliate them. I remember one particular occasion where a bully came at me and I made the whole class laugh at him! I felt so victorious! The sharper I could become, the more I could make people laugh at him, the more he would be humiliated. Perhaps, you say, I only made the bully’s persecution greater, but, no, the adolescent mind is foolish and a classroom of laughing pupils is a powerful thing. So I made the boys who had chosen to become my enemies the centre of laughter. From them I hung very quick jokes, lest I be hit before I quip!
And that is where it began.
Those who bullied me gradually saw that I wasn’t some moss to be stomped upon but a sharp young man who could, if the opportunity arose, amuse even them. Word spread and I began to be welcomed by the high-flyers of my school as well as all the downtrodden who I had always associated with.
I have never liked school, finding its purpose misaligned with its method, and this continued through college into university. There, feeling utterly alone, and in a search of friends, I used my humour to gain appeal. I would make friends. I had to! University could not go its whole torturous length without giving me a friend. Finally I arrived into a good group of young men to whom my sense of humour fit just right. Our points of reference were identical. In pitch-black rooms were drank alcohol from jerry cans, got high and listened to Irish folk music. We thudded around the room and I laughed until I vomited. These were my people. I knew that some of them would be with me for a long time.
Full-time work meant I had use to my wit once again to ensure that people did not take me for a fool, did not think I was some stupid kid. Of course, I was a stupid kid, but I could deflect such suspicions if I could make people laugh along with me. And, most of all, what is work if you cannot laugh?! What is a whole day without any joke? I could not bear work – it is an awful habit of civilisation – but if I could laugh with others during it then I would survive, most certainly. Nowadays I enjoy spending time with my colleagues; we all get along swimmingly, have a laugh, and a lot of the day we make jokes and laugh at one another.
Yes, so that’s how I got a sense of humour. Besides, life is just too difficult without one.
Anyway, there’s all of that and it’s just so I can experience her laugh.
Her laugh is one of the best things I’ve ever seen or heard. The whole universe flowers in her laugh and it’s one of the reason I adore her so.

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