Let me first acknowledge that families are facing much worse challenges in the pandemic than snoring. When you can’t breathe on your own, snoring could feel like a victory. But when you’re sleeping in the same bed with someone for over 20 years, someone you are now spending 24 hours a day with and have been for 9 months, it can be a little, shall we say, grating. Then there is the other challenge about snoring, you have to believe the person who tells you that you’re guilty of it. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to admit that there is something happening with some combination of my mouth and my nose when I am unconscious that is more annoying than what is happening with these body parts when I am awake and talking – which after nearly a year in quarantine I can appreciate might be a little much. But, and here’s what I learned last night. If I turn my body over, if I am willing to accept that I am a person who maybe, sometimes, even though I am embarrassed to admit it, snores, and am willing to take a suggestion, I can reposition myself to relieve my disruptive roar.
Why am I revealing all this? Because at 6 am when the snoring stopped being a problem since I was wide awake, I made this unexpected connection between my experience during the night and what we do at Laughter On Call. Like my husband, we make suggestions to people that bring them relief. Not from snoring, but from just about everything else that plagues the human spirit. It is our raison d’etre! Which sounds pretentious except that I have yet to find a phrase in English that nails it. “Purpose” could work but it’s very Simon Senek and our mission isn’t something we learned in a seminar, it’s in our blood. Plus it’s very hard to say raison d’etre without attempting an Inspector Clouseau accent which is just silly and at Laughter On Call we love silly more than ice cream.
Back to why this matters in a pandemic. When we were working exclusively in the Alzheimer’s world I used to tell people who scoffed at the idea that you could find laughter anywhere near this disease, “I get it, it’s sad, no one is saying it’s not sad, but it is not sad every minute and that’s what we are about. We ferret out the moments that aren’t sad and then we…dance. Or sing. Or make a funny face. We seize them and let the person we are working with know, we see you, we see you smiling in there somewhere, let’s do more of that!”
Since March 13th most of us with fine cognitive ability have been feeling any combination of anxious, depressed and isolated. Uniquely qualified to handle these conditions, Laughter On Call has been doing the comedy equivalent of asking people to “turn over.” Although not in your bedroom, we are coming in to your ZOOM room, or your Microsoft Teams or now your Blue Jeans’ space (yes this is a thing) and nudging you to “turn over.” We’re asking you to accept our invitation to do something different – to engage with us, to get up out of your chairs and breathe, to answer funny questions – to do something other than what you’ve been doing alone in your home office, or surrounded by children and pets and spouses and parents in your work slash sleep slash eating space so you can feel better. And just like my experience, it’s helping. You are laughing together. You are feeling relief and feeling more connected to each other. You’re also getting more oxygen, releasing oxytocin and…wait for it…burning more calories. Christmas Eve will be our 200th episode of Lunchtime Laughter.
Turn over. Click the link. We can’t wait to laugh with you.