It seems to be deeply ingrained in human nature that we can’t help laughing at inappropriate times. Sometimes it’s nerves that make us giggle during an interview, or when meeting the future in-laws for the first time. There are so many things that make us laugh, even when it’s generally not appropriate …
Why oh why do we find this funny? We wouldn’t want everyone laughing at us if we took a tumble, so why is it so hilarious when it happens to someone else? It’s even amusing when it happens to an unfortunate senior, until our ‘good citizen’ reflex kicks in and we realise that the correct response is to rush to their assistance.
Now, I defy even the most solemn person to resist a snigger when somebody farts. It’s just one of those things that makes our sense of humour regress to the level of a five-year-old’s. And everyone loves a fart joke, even if they deny it.
Like falling over, pain is funny – when it happens to someone else. We put on a sympathetic face and enquire if they’re okay, while desperately trying to suppress the urge to giggle. It might be a bit mean, but we just can’t help it!
It’s funny enough when someone stumbles, so if they actually fall right over it’s even funnier. Unless they’re older, in which case even the automatic humour response does the decent thing and switches off. I do worry that one day I’m going to laugh out loud at someone falling over … someone big and beefy …
Now I have no feeling of guilt whatsoever about laughing at skaters. Anyone who takes up such a daft hobby has only themselves to blame if they fall off, especially if they’re old enough to know better! The teenage skaters near my house provide endless amusement as they attempt over-ambitious tricks.
Kids do the funniest things, don’t they! Sometimes they say and do such hilarious things that they are adorable. They’re so entertaining that we can’t help laughing, even at their little faces when they fall over. How mean grown-ups can be …
Given that I’m quite sure I have made countless incredibly embarrassing linguistic errors when I speak Spanish, I really shouldn’t laugh at other people’s mistakes when they speak in English. But nevertheless, I just can’t help it. It’s one of those things that seems to be automatic.
This has to be one of the worst times to inadvertently express amusement. Maybe it’s the very seriousness of the occasion that makes you want to laugh. I suspect that most people have had to suppress the urge to giggle during a wedding, exam or funeral. Has that ever happened to you?
What kind of things make you laugh in spite of yourself, and have you ever incurred disapproval for laughing when you shouldn’t?
Top image source: For Ashlee
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