I like to yuck it up. For any of you that are part of the younger generation, that translates to LOL. I am not afraid to giggle and guffaw in public. I am that person in the movie theatre who isn’t shy to shriek and/or snort if there is a funny scene. Yes, I am the obnoxious one who doesn’t care what anyone else thinks because if it’s funny then I will laugh out loud. However, there is one thing that I did not expect would ever happen to me…the jovial laugher. I now refer to this day as “The Day of the Cackle”.
I was a shy kid and always wanted to fit in. If others weren’t laughing then I wouldn’t either. I might smile, but no sound would emerge from my mouth (or nose for that matter. I am also a bonafide snorter). I might embarrass myself. The more I got comfortable with just being ME, the more I went from smiling with no teeth showing, to wide-mouthed big smiles and finally to the contagiously loud laugh. All was well in my amusing world until the Day of the Cackle.
I had met my BFF for lunch and we proceeded to share our hilarious tales of adventure that is our daily lives. We started to laugh about something. Suddenly a bizarre sound filled the airspace. I tried to maintain my composure, but the sound irked me. It grated on my nerves. We continued with our fun stories and this time when I opened my mouth to let out the oncoming guffaw I heard that nasty caterwaul again. Suddenly a strange thought hit me. Did that hideous noise emerge from my diaphragm? I also had this eerie feeling that I had heard it somewhere before. It wasn’t until I was driving home after our luncheon that it hit me. I had been pondering giving my mother a call and the lightbulb switched on above my head. Eureka! But not in a good way. I had shockingly realized that my previous melodious laugh had turned into the OLD LADY CACKLE!
I remember listening to my mother talking on the phone and hearing that abrasive sound. Really, it was a sound I despised as much as nails on a chalkboard (*whole body shiver*). I can clearly recall listening to her laughing with her friends, but all I heard was the sounds of chickens clucking and cackling. Now….THAT’S ME!
I’ll be completely honest, it took me awhile to adjust to this. I almost stopped LOL-ing. It’s weird enough if you hear your voice recorded and played back to you, but to have a glorious, lulling laugh morph into the sound of chickens being tortured was not something I had prepared myself for with my middle age creeping up. Now, besides the creaking and cracking joints, I have to listen to my nail-on-the-chalkboard laugh. I actually prefer the snorting to it. Ok, maybe I’m going a little overboard with my drama, but it was not an anticipated event. In my usual Pollyanna way, I decided to find the positive in my negative situation.
First, I realized that I was the only one who seemed offended by my noise pollution laugh. No one looked at me any differently. No one stopped saying funny things either. Perhaps it wasn’t that bad after all. Getting old and changing is great! I still have my faculties, and my health, and wonderful people in my life. Super-great people actually! I always try to be happy and share my joy with others. I LOVE TO LAUGH!
SIDE BAR: I laugh every time I watch “I Love to Laugh” from the “Mary Poppins” movie. Seriously, I can try and sit there without laughing, but it’s just too contagious. So, if you are feeling down and need a pick me up, just watch this. I promise you’ll be feeling much, much better. I Love to Laugh
Back to my cacklephony. New word. It should be added to the Miriam-Webster or the Oxford dictionary soon. So, I shall now let you click on the following links so you can hear exactly what I hear. The first is a lovely video of “aged women” cackling with laughter. Yes, I couldn’t help myself. I laugh-snorted listening to them. Such fun! They sound just like me. Cackling women. The next is chickens. Sounds quite similar. *SNORT*.
Ahem…let’s get serious. A synopsis of my laughing habits. Young me…no laughing. Teen years me…semi-smiles. Pre-adult me…smiled broadly and learned to laugh…hoping I would not be an outcast. The Day of the Cackle. Etched in my mind for eternity. No longer traumatic, more of a fun-fest-fact. Wholesome F trifecta…booyah! Does it bother me? Honestly? Oftentimes. Does it molest my ears? Occasionally. How does it rate on the “Do-I-Care-O-Meter”? Insignificant. I find that I mellow with age. Like a fine wine. Meh…nothing to worry about.
Synopsis: I love to smile, but even more, I love to laugh. I enjoy being the happy person. Some may find me annoying with my constant happiness, but in my mind, that is their problem. I want to be happy and hope I can be contagious enough to make others around me happy. My newfound distorted laugh is something I am adapting to. I am focusing on the positive and knowing that, although the sound may be ingratiating, I know that the Day of the Cackle is one more nuance of my mid-life budding personality.