Tuesday, March 23, 2010

On the salutary effects of incendiary facial hair

So, Buffy, Hammer, and I are outside the university art museum, and there are all these fire trucks out front. Out back, there's a little knot of fire fighters, but no obvious emergency.

Then, at the head of the reflecting pool, we see it: a wide, black monolith holding a steel outline of a giant mustache.* And the mustache is on fire!

We giggled, snorted, and guffawed all the way across campus. Giant mustache! On fire! Hello, 911? My mustache is on fire! (OK, maybe you had to be there.) I could hardly breathe. Continence was a problem.

Then Hammer looked at me, eyes wide with delight. "Mom's laughing!"

Once I'd gotten over the giant, flaming mustache, this made me think. Our family loves a gut-busting, drink-spewed-out-the-nose laugh. It lingers all afternoon, both in little giggling aftershocks and in a general feeling of having shared something wonderful. Cuts right through teenage and tweenage angst, and parental exasperation. But if the kids are astonished to see me howling in glee, then by golly, we're not LAUGHING enough!

So now I actively pursue stuff for us to laugh at. Some of it comes naturally: we're kneeling in a circle for family prayer, and the cat settles himself in the center of the circle, as though we're praying to him. This is good for at least five minutes of hilarity. God doesn't seem to mind waiting. I also seed the reading areas with Calvin and Hobbes, the iPods with Weird Al, and the DVD player Abbott and Costello or the Marx Brothers. You just can't laugh with your brother and be mad at him at the same time.

Just don't light his mustache on fire—'kay?

*Andrew Sexton, Self Portrait, 2006, steel, rubber tubing and propane, 19 x 66 in. Brigham Young University Museum of Art "Mirror Mirror" exhibit. October 2009.


  1. love this.
    I can relate to the family being surprised at bursts of laughter. I'm glad you are on the lookout for hilarity!
    The reference to the cat made me laugh out loud.:)

  2. "continence was a problem" LOL! Your cat and my cat are apparently but two physical manifestations of the same inner cat. Ours visits our prayers regularly, and requires us to open the door for her merely so she can enter, stretch luxuriously, and walk back outside. Or so she can better contemplate coming in or going out without actually do so.

    I think my favorite funny moment recently was while I was on tech support for my computer. The man from HP was from India, complete with thick accent. We'd been on seven (you read right) hours when he decided it was really a Verizon malfunction, at which point, he made a conference call to their tech support so they could help me together. The Verizon tech was from the deep south. I was explaining my horrendously frustrating day on the phone to my husband, and when I told him how I'd had to "translate" for the southerner and the "Indian" to each other, the comedy of it hit us both and I couldn't finish the story. Humor--the lubricant of human relations--so great!

  3. Ha Ha Ha Ha! I'm still laughing! Thanks!


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