Laughing In LaVergne

I’ll be the first to admit it. I laugh a lot. Like, a LOT. I am also the person you hear in the back of the church, giggling. My very most favorite thing to do in this world is laugh. And nap. But that’s another topic for another day. And the more inappropriate the situation or joke, the more likely I am to pull a muscle laughing.

But, before I go on, I’ll introduce myself to the This Is LaVergne audience and a little backstory. I’m Stacy and have lived in LaVergne for just over 4 years. I found this gem of a community by way of South Florida. Yes, I voted in the infamous “hanging chad” election but make no mistake, not a one of my chads was hanging. I’ve had what some might consider a bit of a difficult time the last few years. Again, different topic(s) for a different time. But just when my life seemed to be sailing smoothly along, I was diagnosed with non Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I went into the doctor for a routine chest x-ray since I believed I had bronchitis or pneumonia. No. What I had was a 13.4 centimeter tumor dead center of my chest that was causing fluid to back up into my heart. Which also meant I was in congestive heart failure. Long story short, I was getting ready for the battle of my life. At 44 years of age, it’s surreal to hear that you have what is considered and “old person’s disease” and they can’t take this tumor out because of it’s proximity to your heart so whatever horrendous chemotherapy drugs they will soon pump into your veins, MUST work. Or you’ll die.

This is where the laughter comes in. I had always loved to laugh so I knew right away that this skill was going to factor into my battle somehow, some way. My sisters immediately came to Tennessee when I got the news. And what transpired next would prove to be largely what I believe, the reason I survive to this day. I spent the next 6 days in ICU with a drain in my heart. And my sisters and I began the first steps of this journey by thinking of the most inappropriate and hilarious cancer jokes we could come up with. We were disruptive, a little obnoxious and hands down, the most entertaining room I believe that ICU has ever seen.

Because people who can’t laugh at a good cancer joke have no sense of tumor.

Countless times people asked me how I was able to keep such a positive attitude. And the answer was always the same: if you don’t learn to laugh and see just how funny life is, what is left of your life will be very, very long and very, very difficult. Because let’s face it, life is going to happen. You don’t have a say in that. And absurd things are going to happen. Most of the times, you don’t have a say in that either. What you do have a say in is how you choose to process it.

I’ve heard it said that laughter and fear cannot live in the same place. The last year of my life has proven to be an experiment in this theory. Not surprisingly, I found it to be true. I started hanging around funny people whose hearts are filled with laughter while closing the door to those whose drama could rival the most dramatic movies you’ve ever seen.

Then I started learning about the science of laughter. Did you know that humor is processed through many parts of the brain before erupting in the physical act of laughter? It’s true. Both the left and right cortex, the frontal lobe, the occipital lobe and motor sections of the brain are all engaged in what will eventually become a laugh. It’s like a circuit running through your brain.

Did you also know that there is such a thing as the scientifically proven funniest joke in the world? Also true. British researcher, Richard Wiseman, conducted an experiment in which he asked over one million people to rate their favorite jokes. After analyzing all the data (jokes) he concluded the following to be the “scientifically proven, funniest joke in the world”.

Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He’s not breathing and his eyes are glazed, so his friend calls 911. “My friend is dead! What do I do?” The operator replies, “Calm down, sir. I can help. First make sure that he’s dead.” There’s a silence, then a loud bang. Back on the phone, the guy says, “Ok, now what?”

Now didn’t that feel good? I’m not entirely sure that’s the funniest joke in the world. In fact, I doubt that it is. But it’s funny and I laughed. And to be completely honest, all I really know for sure is that it feels good to laugh.

So this guy walks into a bar….

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