I once worked with a woman who emphatically warned me not to marry a man who I thought was funny. She was the sweetest little woman with the sweetest little husband. They had the sweetest little family, two sweet tow head girls. And they owned an ice cream shop. Could their lives have been any sweeter?
I worked in that ice cream shop for the longest time. It really was the best gig in town. I had gone the fast food route. I don't recommend it. My skin suffered from all the grease. My hair constantly had a smell of overcooked meat-like substance that wouldn't wash out no matter how many times I scrubbed it. It was as if the odor had infused with the grease in the air and bonded to create some kind of super-coating on my person, an outer shell of ick that never washed off. Mmmmmm, outer shell of ick.
But the ice cream shop was different. There was no grease to be seen. Instead I came home smelling of vanilla waffle cones. Mmmmmmmmm, waffle cones. I ate my weight in ice cream each week, but being young and lucky I actually lost weight on my all ice cream diet. How I loved that job.
One day I was in the back when the husband came through and made what was, by all standards, a lame joke. He laughed and laughed at his perceived cleverness. The wife smiled at him fondly, rolled her eyes at me, and imparted her wisdom.
"Mamma, never marry a man because he makes you laugh. After a few years you'll realize he only knows so many jokes, and they're not that funny."
I thought of her words often. I shook my head at how wrong she was. I loved to laugh. It is joy transformed into sound. It is all the good emotions a body can feel pouring forth in a happy noise. True laughter is infectious and grows. It is what makes life so beautiful and bearable. And I'll admit it, I laugh at everything. I'm prone to laughter at the most inappropriate times. Why wouldn't I want to marry someone who made me laugh?
As the years slipped past I became painfully aware of how much I no longer laughed. My life held little joy. And one day I finally pinned down the cause. I was with a man who didn't laugh. I can't explain why but he just didn't laugh. And he didn't make me laugh. Our life together held no joy. That is no way to live.
The day I left him is the day I met my husband.
And how he made me laugh.
I stayed up all night with him laughing that very first night. I couldn't sleep. I just needed more, more of his voice, more of his smile, more of his jokes, more of this long forgotten feeling. And we laughed our way through the next day. And the next. We were married four months later.
And I've come to realize something: that sweet ice-cream shop owner? She was a little bit right. He does only know so many jokes. And I know them all by heart.
But he still makes me laugh.
Edited to add: I stand corrected. I typed this up Sunday night. On Monday The Greatest told me a shocking off-color joke that I won't repeat. As he smirked over my horrified giggles (yes, I laughed at the distasteful joke, I told you I laugh at inappropriate things) he declared "You've never heard that joke have you?" And no, I had not. He's still got a few surprises left in him. How I love that man.