Inopportune Yuks’ Disorder
I’m pretty sure I’m going to hell. And it’s not my fault. While at times I may appear to be acutely insensitive, I’m actually suffering from a health condition known as Inopportune Yuks’ Disorder (also called the Giggle Loop in the UK). This causes a manic uncontainable giggle thing to occur at the most ill-timed moment.
Typically what happens is I’m in a situation where it is so completely nerve-wrackingly inappropriate to laugh that I panic at the very idea of laughing. I believe what happens from there is my brain senses danger and thinks I’m being attacked. At that point, my brain goes into survival shutdown mode, thereby reeling back its supply of oxygen (in case it’s needed later in battle). Naturally, the low oxygen level puts me into a stupefied state where anything registers as off-the-charts rib-busting, pants-piddling hilarious.
And by “anything,” I mean even comedy at its lowest denominator, things that would not even qualify as funny in a remote village in Eastern Europe. I’m talking things like:
My condition was particularly problematic for me as a child.
- In 3rd grade my class took a field trip to visit the site where some turn-of-the-century cattle rustlers were hanged and burned. (Oh, yes, there will definitely be more on this story another day.) We were supposed to be listening to a woman discuss the details of the hanging deaths. That’s when my condition got the best of me. And that’s when my teacher interrupted the speaker, called me out in front of the entire class and told me to go sit on the bus by myself.
- In 8th grade my English instructor Mr. Hardin had us go around the room reading passages of The Red Badge of Courage. We were reading about 17-year-old boys dying in bloody Civil War battles and I was biting through my retainer to keep from laughing at some inane thought that came into my head. I couldn’t get through even five lines of reading before laughing. Soon my teacher learned to simply pass me over when it was my turn to read. I was very fortunate that he recognized the disease.
Sadly, I have not outgrown the condition.
- A few years ago I sat in the second row of a cousin’s wedding and nearly lost it during the silent prayer time when suddenly I decided the small cutout window behind the altar was the perfect place for a Muppet to emerge singing “C is for Cookie.”
- During a work-related summit discussing the crisis of unemployment, I suddenly imagined a disgruntled unemployed person storming the room, jumping onto my table and upsetting the platter of cookies onto the floor before leading a flash mob in a choreographed rendition of Aretha Franklin’s Respect.
- Last weekend my mom gave me tickets to attend a performance at their church by a once renowned opera singer. What I hadn’t prepared myself for was that we would be the only people there under 70. And that the opera singer had retired to Branson, Missouri. Which had evidently brought out the theme park lounge singer in him. This meant lots of requested audience participation. I won’t even tell you about when he sang God Bless the U.S.A. to a video montage of patriotic photographs because I come off looking really, really bad.
Parenting has caused this condition to further manifest. I distinctly remember on at least two occasions my dad stifling laughter while I cried my eyes out. At the time, I had serious concerns that he was either a sadist or a sociopath. But that was before I became a parent. Please don’t call Social Services on me. I can assure you, at the sight of a protruding broken limb or any form of blood, I’d go into primal mama bear mode, scoop up my precious cub and RUN like Dustin Hoffman in Kramer Versus Kramer for the nearest hospital. But that’s not what happened in these instances:
- I once watched my son severely tantrum over getting the wrong color of sippy cup by scream-crying while running backwards like a reversed motorized car. Poor innocent bystander Margot stood next to the wall quietly gawking before unsuspecting Jude crashed into her and sent her off screaming in the opposite direction. It was like a homespun Mr. Wizard’s World physics experiment. One that would involve pool balls. Jude hits Margot into the corner pocket. Now let’s measure the angle that the ricochet occurred. I actually threw my head onto the kitchen counter so hard I got a bruise above my left eyebrow.
- My daughter after not getting her way coupled with sleep deprivation has been known to scream-cry while running a lap around our couch, at which point her arms turn loose-noodle and swing wildly like an orangutan. It’s not “just me” on this one. The last time this occurred, my husband tried so hard to contain his laughter that he blew out his eardrums.
- I recently saw my son bury his face into my 19-pound cat and then chomp down on her stomach. Which resulted in Matilda cobra-striking him while simultaneously and aggressively rabbit-kicking his head. Which resulted in a bawlfest for the ages. Hmm . . . I think he was crying anyway? I had worked myself into such a spastic frenzy that I could hardly hear anything going on around me.
If you would like more information on this serious condition and how it might affect you and your loved ones, please stay tuned for the following important Public Service Announcement on Inopportune Yuks’ Disorder (aka the Giggle Loop). We cannot suffer this disease in silence any longer. In fact, that’s part of the problem.