My faculty have impish ways. One is jovial, spouting sarcasms and light-hearted ribbing. Another is a clandestine wit whose laugh-line missiles cause a 2 second delay in explosive glee. Still another lies in wait for the listener to fall into his word traps, a sly smile then dawning on his face. We spend half our time in meetings, laughing. I love it. My colleagues constantly josh and joke. Feeling at ease with tease means we are comfortable with each other.
Feeling comfortable with each other as faculty means our academic hallway is positive. Dr. Melissa Wanzer at Canisius College would approve. Professor Wanzer teaches a communication course which always fills to capacity entitled “Constructive Uses of Humor”. One study engaged by the class involves Southwest Airlines’ strategic effort to integrate humor into the workplace. Medical personnel deal with death and disease every day. With the serious nature of hospitals in mind, Dr. Michael Miller from University of Maryland reported that in some people, provoking laughter did as much good for the arteries as aerobic exercise. Dr. Lee Berk from Loma Linda School of Public Health discovered that laughter strengthens the immune system. After a bout of laughter, blood pressure drops to a lower, healthier level than when the laughter began. Dr. William Fry, of Stanford University, found that
“twenty seconds of guffawing gives the heart the same workout as three minutes of hard rowing.”
Now I am no medical doctor, but I play one on radio. It is my considered opinion that the American public might be served well by television comedies. I prescribe one dose of slapstick with The Three Stooges, two doses of farce with I Love Lucy, and three doses of jesting with Frazier. If the local television pharmacy has none of these medicinal shows in re-runs, purchase full seasons online. And if you want a book that tells jokes while explaining their theological importance, do purchase James Martin’s Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life.
I might be put off by the obnoxious joking of some but not with Mike. We mercilessly tease each other whether by text or in person. I’m not sure why that happens except that laughter for us is the cement of our friendship. Not unlike married couples who poke fun at each other’s foibles as an act of love, friends too enjoy life’s amusement. Whatever the state of one’s relationship with another, encourage laughter. Our faculty do not take ourselves too seriously; life is serious enough. So we laugh, and we ask you to join us.
For Moody Radio, this is Dr. Mark Eckel, personally seeking truth wherever it’s found.
Originally broadcast by Moody Radio, 2 January 2012.
Listen to it here: Mark Eckel – Laughter (01-09-12)