WHAT DOOM AND GLOOM?
First, the bad news: Nearly 80% of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, while roughly half of us think a second “Great Depression” is right around the corner. Hell, we’re in the middle of a malaise that would even make Jimmy Carter proud.
The good news? We couldn’t be happier. That’s right folks; according to a new poll, America is the funniest country on the planet, which basically means we can find humor in anything. Like Congressman Anthony Weiner, for example – although, those jokes pretty much write themselves, don’t they? Perhaps the Obama Administration is a better example. Besides, there’s a whole lot more material there.
Social network and dating website Badoo.com asked 30,000 people from 15 different countries to name the “funniest,” or “best at making people laugh” nationality in the world, and the good ol’ U.S. of A. kicked butt. We may not be respected or feared anymore, folks, but at least the rest of the world is laughing
at with us.
All of this got me scratching my head; how is it that we can laugh in the face of all the doom and gloom going on around us? Are we oblivious, in denial, or do we simply not give a damn anymore? Perhaps we’re just so fed up with politicians and politics that we’ve thrown our collective arms in the air, and said, (in unison, of course) SCREW IT.
Then of course, there’s the old saying: Laughter is the best medicine. Perhaps we’re onto something here. Laughter is generally shared with others about something external – a hilarious comic or a funny movie, for example – as opposed to all of the brooding and worrying we do that we tend to keep on the inside. Laughter is not only a healthy escape; it also helps us connect with others in a non-threatening, non-revealing way. There really are medicinal benefits after all:
- Laughter relaxes the whole body. A good, hearty laugh relieves physical tension and stress, leaving our muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes or more.
- Laughter boosts the immune system. Laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, thus improving our resistance to disease.
- Laughter triggers the release of endorphins. Endorphins are the body’s natural feel-good chemicals; they promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.
- Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect against a heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems.
So, there you have it: The economy, Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, Liberals, The Middle East and Project Runway – all pretty gloomy stuff. Humor, belly laughs, happiness, the thought of Fareed Zakaria moving back to India, or the way “former-President Obama” rolls off the tongue – all good stuff. As long as we continue to laugh until we cry, we’ll be fine. Unless things go terribly wrong in the 2012 election, that is. THAT’S WHEN WE BUST OUT THE CRYING TOWELS.
Heaven knows, with all of the nonsense that goes on in Washington on a daily basis, if we don’t keep laughing our butts off – constantly – we’ll fall behind. On a related note, it occurred to me as I was finishing this post, that I almost got all the way through it without mentioning JOE BIDEN. That, in and of itself, is pretty funny too.