Wednesday, 27 August 2014

I giggle at very inappropriate times

I giggle at very inappropriate times
27 August 2014

Giggle – to laugh lightly in a nervous, affected, or silly manner

I am known to giggle at times.  Unfortunately, mostly at inappropriate times.  Brought on by inappropriate things.

This is a problem.

Bouts of giggling are usually precipitated by an extreme case of nerves.  Or funny things.  Uh, duh!!!  Funny things - it goes without saying. 

But perhaps the problem lies in the particulars of my sense of humour.  Odd things amuse me.

And let’s be honest – the world is filled with odd things.  And odd people.

Someone once sent me a pic of a woman with a terrible condition (I’m not known to laugh at people with disabilities or hardships, but this took my surprise and the caption was VERY FUNNY), which meant that she practically had a prolapsed chin.  Or maybe it’s a collapsed chin.  Basically no chin to mention at all.  And the caption of the photo was, “How does she fold towels?”.

I laughed for days.  Days, I tell you!  More-over, I even laughed at night.  I’d get up to go to the loo, and burst out laughing again.  Immediately grabbing my phone, to check if it was really that funny.  Only to see the pic, and collapse into gales of giggles again.  Waking my husband (he did not find it funny).  This continued for many, many days and nights.  I still laugh when I see it.  My daughter has asked if she can load the pic onto her phone, so that if I’m ever annoyed at her, she can flash me the photo.  A sure fire guaranteed way to distract me and get her out of trouble.  Rather clever.

But laughter of this manner, is okay.  I can indulge privately.  On my own time.  It is provoked by something that is obviously humorous.

However, it’s that inappropriately timed laughter that usually gets me into trouble.

As a Matric student, with a passion for the piano, friends of my folks once arranged very expensive, zhooshy tickets for us to go and watch the symphony orchestra.  A great treat.  The musicians were spectacular and super talented.  The ambience of the theatre, with patrons all dressed up, was incredible.  The music was phenomenal.  Everything about the evening was magical and majestic.  It was by all accounts a very, very grand and stately affair.  Sedate.  Grown-up.

But unfortunately, there was a very theatrical solo violinist.  Who made her stage debut in the very first song.  And that was it.  Done.  Over.  Uncontrollable. 

It was the first smart event Grant and I ever went to as a couple.  We dressed up and the whole toot.  But by the first dramatic upstroke, Grant and I were toast.  We did not stop the entire concert through.  Song after song, we collapsed.  The difficulty being that we had to be quiet.  Not distract other patrons.  Not offend our hosts.  Not make a peep.

I leant forward and put my head between my knees.  My shoulders were shaking.  And I thought I would burst.  My mom kept on giving me evil looks.  I would just barely get it under control, and the violinist would start up again, or I’d see Grant’s shaking shoulders out of the corner of my eyes.  We were horrid!  We still speak about it to this day.  During the interval, my mom wisely separated us.  Ensuring we didn’t sit together, so that we wouldn’t trigger each other.  But alas it didn’t work.  We were both a goner.  My mom was mortified! 

Then there was the time Grant and I, as well as a school friend went to the movies together.  I was also in matric.  For the life of me, I can’t remember what we went to see.  But all that I do remember, was during the previews before the show, the guy next to me broke his seat.  Well, perhaps he didn’t really break it on purpose.  It was just his time.  Or the chair’s time.  Still, there was a really loud thwack, during a very quiet moment.  And when I glanced over at him, he was sitting with his bum on the floor, but his arms still raised upright on the arm rests.  And there he uncomfortably remained for the remainder of the movie.  Once again, I had it really bad.  Hence I can’t remember what we went to watch.  What I do recall though is the end of the movie.  Walking out of the theatre, and the guy being right behind me, tapping me on my shoulder and saying, “You can stop laughing now”.  I.  Nearly.  Died.  Still, it made me laugh even harder.

However nothing can ever compare to getting the giggles during a funeral.  I kid you not.  In addition, it wasn’t just me.  But most of the rather large Lombard family.  We’re not so much a family as a tribe.  There are loads of us. 

Someone really special died.  And we not only cared about this family friend, but we cared about the family he left behind.  In fact we were terribly heart sore for them.  It was a very sombre, sad occasion.  The church was absolutely packed to the rafters.  And somehow we found ourselves sitting in the very front.  The problem came in though, when it became obvious that it was a very evangelical and charismatic church.  And one lady in particular, was extremely vocal.  Loudly.  Exuberantly.  Which is all fair and well.  No judgement whatsoever.  No mocking intended.  It was just unexpected.  And unanticipated. 

The first time she shouted affirmations, it was so surprising, that someone giggled softly.  And just like that, it was an epidemic.  Unstoppable.  Right across the family it came in wave upon wave.  The funeral was a rather lengthy one.  And this passionate lady gave it stick.  We would barely get it under control, and she would start up again. 

My brother, sister and I, are known to laugh and giggle a lot when we’re together.  Even at the best of times we trigger one another.  On this occasion, our predisposition to laughter was not a good thing.  My mom poked me in the back a few times.  I would imagine she prodded my brother and sister too.  Our shoulders were shaking.  At times we were spluttering.  I could feel my face glowing, and my eyes watering.  Convinced I was going to spontaneously combust.

We were not trying to be disrespectful.  We weren’t any less heart sore. 
We were just sad.  And having the giggles.  At the same glorious time.

Laughter is always a very good stress reliever.  Though timing is everything.

And sadly, at that, I suck.

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This still gets my every time - poor girl. Absolutely dreadful. And had I seen the photo, minus the caption, I would have been horrified and felt terribly sorry for her. But the caption killed it for me. I still feel awful for her. And I'm not really laughing at her. Just the choice phrasing. Which cracks me up every single time. 

Shame man!


  1. Helene, ek het my nou weer vrek gelag!!
    That caption is too funny!
    I think the funeral was the worst....oh my hat!!
    Ouma Helene says it is a Nel kwaal from Ouma Ydie Hofmeyr who could apparently giggle A LOT at the most inappropriate times.
    Ouma Helene is a good one too for giggling, and Bettie and I are also experts!
    What a lovely problem to have!!

  2. My deepest laugh from the bottom of my socks, the one that makes my eyes stream, hurts my stomach, lasts the longest - is with my sister Maggie!! And the more imappropriate - the funnier!! BEST medicine EVER!!!