Comic relief is that endorphin-releasing form of instant gratification that takes the edge off a period of tension. It is our necessary defense mechanism—a much needed reprieve from stress. The bottom line is that laughter has therapeutic medicinal powers.
I have a close friend whose father needed a five valve heart bypass that would last six long hours. She and her mother held a constant vigil at the hospital, as they waited in anticipation and hopeful good news. She had told me that the best way to contact her for a progress report would be by text message.(“text-pecking” is a better term for our lack of expertise)
Eager to get an update, I typed out (no… make that I clumsily pecked out) “How’s your Dad?” She responded quickly with the word, “GEV.” I initially thought that I must be out-of-the-loop with the current lingo. Hmm… could it mean “Good Enough Valve,” I wondered? So, I asked my son if he knew what GEV meant. I didn’t feel quite so antiquated when he said he didn’t know. So… I curiously, “text-pecked” her back saying, “What does GEV mean?” She text-pecked back, “I meant good. That’s the first time I’ve laughed in days! I needed that goof.”
Comic relief at its finest. Of course the word, “GEV” is the new replacement word for “good” among us and will never die. Her father came through the surgery and continues to have GEV days. Thank GEV-NESS!
My sister provided a comic relief moment for herself and her boyfriend’s family. He and she were realizing the seriousness of their relationship and so he wanted to introduce her to his family. They were all a bit anxious and interested in making good impressions on both sides. Her boyfriend’s family members had the gift of being able to pray eloquently off the cuff. My sister was more accustomed to the more rote “Come Lord Jesus Our Guest to Be.” She was taken aback when her boyfriend’s aunt asked her if she would please say the blessing. She nervously began, as she searched for just the right words. She did quite a fine job of putting some beautiful phrases together and decided it was time to bring it to a close. However, she was having a difficult time as she rummaged for that elusive word “Amen” to bring it to its proper end. In the way that only Elvis Presley could say best, she awkwardly spewed out, “And… so thank you very much.” The whole room full of people erupted in gales of laughter and took the edge off of an otherwise slightly tense first meeting. They later married and recounted that story many times for laughing pleasure’s sake.
Sometimes, the comic relief does not provide instantaneous laughter. It has to come much later in its retelling process. I have a friend who was attending the funeral of a dear ninety-nine year old friend. Her entire family had attended which included all four children and her husband. They all made themselves comfortable on the pew. However, as a result of the strategic positioning, the mom’s pocketbook landed by her husband’s feet. During the service the minister said, “Let’s say the Lord’s Prayer.” Just as the congregation was beginning the prayer, suddenly the song, “Play that funky music “white boy!” began playing on her cell phone that was in the depths of her pocketbook. She was not cell phone savvy at that point and had neglected to turn if off. Her husband quickly grabbed her pocketbook and opened it in an effort to quiet the noisy beast. Naturally, the “white boys” became even more thunderous. Her pocketbook was so jammed with “stuff” that he had trouble making his way to the phone. I guess they were not having a very GEV day!
However, it did provide comic relief on down the road in its retelling which turned an un-GEV day into a very GEV day. “And so…thank you very much”….for comic relief! Ahh…the beauty of laughter! Hunter Darden-order personalized copies of my books by scrolling to the top of the page and clicking on the link or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.