Posted by c. wagner on January 28, 2010
“Laugh and the world laughs with you; / Weep, and you weep alone” is not an ancient proverb. It is the opening two lines of the poem “Solitude” by Ella Wheeler Wilcox which was first published in 1883. Strange, but apparently true.
[found on page 60 of When You Were a Tadpole and I Was a Fish by Martin Gardner]
Posted in Recent reading | Tagged: Ella Wheeler Wilcox, history, laughter, poetry, proverbs | Leave a Comment »
Posted by c. wagner on November 5, 2009
The other day, I read this passage from Richard Wiseman’s Quirkology:
Although this contagion usually has limited effects, sometimes it can get out of hand, and an otherwise inexplicable epidemic of laughter can sweep through thousands of people. In January 1962, three teenaged girls attending a missionary-run boarding school in Tanzania started laughing. Their hilarity quickly spread to 95 of the 159 pupils at the school, and by March the school was forced to close. It is reported that the attacks of laughing lasted from minutes to hours, and although debilitating, did not result in any fatalities. The school reopened in May but was again forced to close within weeks when another 60 pupils were struck down with the “laughter plague.” The closure created its own problems: Several of the girls returned to their hometown of Nshamba, promptly causing more than two hundred of the 10,000 residents of the town to descend into uncontrollable giggling. [page 206]
Last night, I had a laughter attack that lasted, on and off, for about an hour. It was bad enough that my girlfriend was worried about me. Was I having a delayed reaction to the story or did it have something to do with my YouTube viewing habits?
[Edited to add: Upon further reflection, the proximal cause was probably watching the very funny Penn and Teller’s Magic and Mystery Tour. Which contains this. And that bears a striking similarity to what I went through last night. Minus the big guy and the canned pears.]
Posted in Recent reading | Tagged: Africa, humor, laughter | Leave a Comment »