On a few occasions, I’ve been blessed to find fellow travelers with an equally cheeky sense of humor. In seminary classrooms, we naturally gravitate to the back of the class where “under the breath mocking” might occur with minimal disruption to the rest of class. That works in theory but occasionally the reality of it is something else.
You might be temped to think that the mocking would have a negative impact on my grade point average. The truth is- that if I can joke about it- I can remember it. The funnier I can make it- the better off I am in the long run. If nothing else- classes seemed to go by faster while laughing.
I’ve yet to figure out my friend’s, (whom I’ll call “Lori.” To protect the not-so-innocent) attraction to the back row. She is very quiet and rarely mocked with the rest of us. She does, however, love a good laugh and it is a joy to get her snickering in the back of the classroom. One thing Lori doesn’t have is a low volume. If I lean over and make a snide remark- Lori is more than likely to bust out with a head turning “BAH!!” than a quiet chortle. It is why I love her.
There was a class that was particularly mock-worthy and Lori sat next to me in my back row perch. A presentation by one of my more dramatic classmates struck me as inappropriately funny. Who know a verse of “This Little Light of Mine” could be sung in such a dramatic lounge-singer fashion? My poor classmate was doing her best, but some phrase or expression just captured me and I was off. Within seconds, I was head in my hands, eyes down and shaking trying to hold in my laughter. Lori noticed my predicament and began to share in my amusement. Soon, I reached the crisis point. It is the point in covert laughter when you run out of oxygen and your only choice is to snort or take in a loud breath. I sat for a moment as my oxygen ran out and I struggled with the decision to breathe loudly or pass out. I waiting too long and a reflexive snort- not a particularly lady-like noise- emanated from my being. It was loud. It was “Lori” loud. It caused the front row of class to cast their disdainful look upon the back row as all had been collectively condemned by my horrid behavior.
The looks of contempt invited the impertinent members of the back row to join in the giggle-fest. Within moments we had slid down the slope to open gales of laughter accompanied by tears and snorting and all of the bodily sounds and fluids associated with uncontrollable laughter. It wasn’t pretty.
The secondary problem with any uncontrollable laughter is the ending. Just when one person started to gain control, another person would snort and the calm person would be swept right back into the stream of laughter. Jesus said, “When two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.” (Matt 18:20) I’ve yet to find the place where it says that if three or more are giggling uncontrollably, I’ll be there to shut you up. And, on that day, in that class, only a miracle of Jesus could have stopped the laughter. But, I like to think He would have giggled right along with us. I wonder if he would have snorted.