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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Thank You, Charles M. Schulz

When I met Bruce, the first thing I noticed about him (besides the fact that his last name was the same as someone I knew from college - but, that's another story) was that his shirt, a hunter green button-up, had a small, embroidered Joe Cool on the pocket.  I didn't know he was an elementary teacher.  I just knew that any man who could proudly wear clothes with the Peanuts characters on them had to be someone with an appreciation of the whimsical.  Knowing him as I do now, that was an under-assumption of colossal proportion!  Bruce not only appreciates whimsy, he creates it - every day.  The joy of life surrounds him.  He is amusing, light-hearted, quirky, clever (remind me to tell you the "As for me and my mouse" story sometime), and downright funny.

Me?  I was always a very serious girl.  I grew up with the tendency to smile easily and to get tickled at things I found really and truly funny; but a return to tears, worry, and sadness was just as quick.  My imagination tended toward the serious rather than the silly.  Because of this I could cry at the drop of a hat, fail to see any humor in a situation that had a hint of sadness in it, and get angry at people who didn't treat things I cared about with the same gravity I thought they deserved (okay, I still do that sometimes).

Knowing this, you might wonder how we ever got together.  In answer, I refer you to Charles M. Schulz, creator of The Peanuts.  (Are you seeing a trend here?)  Come on, now.  Two people, ages twenty-nine and thirty-nine respectively, who have had their shares of life's sorrows and come out on the other side a bit lonely, perhaps, but wiser for the trouble, who have managed to retain the joy of watching Charlie Brown try to kick that football year after year after year and who still laugh at lines like, "Of all the Charlie Browns in the world, you're the Charlie Browniest" and scenes depicting a beagle boxing with lawn chairs belong together?  It was meant to be!

I laughed at something today that I might not have laughed at years ago.  I can thank my husband for encouraging that lighthearted spirit in me to grow.  His humor has tempered my seriousness over the years.  Yes, I still cry when I watch Snoopy, Come Home ("No dogs allowed. . .").  I'm not ashamed to say it.  But, Bruce has lightened my load in life by leading me to laugh more easily and more often.

So, in tribute to the guffaw, I challenge you:  find someplace private and do something utterly silly!  Make a face.  Sing a goofy song you remember from childhood.  Put on a ridiculous outfit and parade up and down the room.  Reenact a miserable scene from your workday with the part of you being played by Robin Williams or one of the Stooges or Carol Burnett.  Let your snicker become a chuckle become a giggle become a chortle become a laugh!

And, if that doesn't work. . . start small.  Check out Donald O'Connor's "Make 'em Laugh" routine from Singin' in the Rain.

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