Laughing Over Bowls Of Chicken Soup

The first thing I ever ‘liked’ on Facebook was laughing.

It was April 23, 2009. 10:52 p.m.

It wasn’t an organization, a brand or a nonprofit. It wasn’t a blog or a photography company or a celebrity fan page. It was just a sound, a sound that changes everywhere you go, but always comes back to that deep-rooted feeling of okay-ness.

I think I knew not to like something that might change, like my taste in music or favorite food or clothing style. I think I knew, on some level, that that first commitment had to be transcendent.

Laughing is something I didn’t do a lot of in college. Not that I wasn’t happy – just that I didn’t laugh out loud, let myself be me, not the way I had all the way through high school.

In high school, I felt embarrassed for laughing, always at the wrong times: when I was nervous or someone had whispered something under their breath during a lecture.

Maybe, on some level, I thought there were limited numbers of laughs in this world. Like I was diluting the level of humor floating around the atmosphere and other people were overcompensating, trying their hardest to be funny because it wasn’t easy to find joy anymore.

That’s a shame.

Because I can tell you, having laughed more in the last six months than I did in four years, probably, that it is a release some people don’t allow themselves.

I’m undoubtedly self-conscious. And there is this weird feeling of hyperawareness that settles over me when I’m trying too hard to be still or not care one way or the other. I could never be one of those royal guards in England. I’d be fired within minutes.

Good thing I’m not a tall guy, right?

Because if I was having a rotten day, like somebody in my life had been hospitalized or my best friend was in a car accident or my sister’s car got keyed – all of which have happened to me – I would not not not be able to stand in front of some building and stare into the abyss of the world.

It would feel a little like giving up my power to live. Like giving up my ability to contribute to society in a meaningful way.

I’d probably have some sort of dormant self-esteem issue because I’d feel like a doormat. And I know those guys are working for the protecting of others, that they are serving, that it is their calling, but imagine how hard it would be to go home and laugh.

Imagine how it might feel to suppress joy for ten hours a day and then try to conjure it up over a pot of your wife’s homemade chicken noodle soup, the steam fogging over the microwave as you bend down and ladle a bowl for yourself.

I want to be able to laugh over my chicken soup. Or let the newly-reached one billion Facebook users know that laughter, well, that’s something I’ll value for another couple decades at least.

It feels worth liking. Unlike Cookie Dough ice cream, which I will no longer be indulging in due to digestive concerns.

What else have you liked – or regretted liking – on Facebook that’s maybe a bit bizarre or hyper-specific?

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One response to “Laughing Over Bowls Of Chicken Soup

  1. I miss laughing out loud. I’m just the opposite of you…I used to laugh alot and laughed heartily. I didn’t care what the world thinks. But I realized the number of times I laugh has waned over the years…I want that number to go back up!

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