You might not think it from reading this blog, but one of the things I’m known for is laughing: as one of my friends put it the other night, “I don’t know ANYONE that laughs more than you”. I’m often reduced to tears by the silliest passing thought, and the more inappropriate it is to laugh the funnier I find it.
Pre-COVID I’d risk a beating from furious parents during school shows, because there is nothing funnier than a child trying to play a musical instrument they can’t play in front of a whole bunch of people who know they can’t laugh, and I’ve been in fits of laughter a thousand times on live radio, while trying to record podcasts, during doctors’ appointments and even while getting electrolysis. All it takes is one stupid thought and I completely lose it.
Yesterday was a good example. I was waiting outside my son’s school to pick him up, standing among a smattering of other parents when a Parcel Force van went by. My brain, which loves Spoonerisms and puns, immediately piped up.
“Porcel Farce,” it said.
I started to grin. And then I thought about it some more and how funny “porcel” sounds. And I started to giggle.
I looked up. A couple of other parents were giving me odd looks. As soon as I noticed them I knew that I didn’t stand a chance.
When you’re laughing and trying not to laugh, the worst possible thing that can happen is for you to see someone judging you. It’s an amplifier that makes whatever you’re laughing about roughly one thousand times funnier.
“Stop laughing!” I told my brain. “People are looking!”
My brain paused to consider this information and respond in a mature and sensible fashion.
“Heh heh heh,” it said.
“Porcel farce,” it snickered.
You know when you laugh so much you start to cry? I was doing that. I whipped out my phone to try and pretend I was laughing at something I’ve seen on Twitter, desperately trying not to make a sound but emitting the odd squeak, and I laughed until I couldn’t see my phone for the tears. I’m quite sure my face was as red as my hair. I couldn’t dare look up for fear I’d make eye contact with another parent and it’d amplify the amusement even more, so I stood there shaking, squeaking and vibrating until my son appeared to save the day.
In the car, I told him about Porcel Farce. He thought it was funny too, but not as funny as the sight of his dad absolutely corpsing all over again.
I was getting facial electrolysis today, which was painful as ever. No prizes for guessing what my brain said to me or what happened next.