How To Survive, Step 2: Laugh It Off


I used to borrow (steal) my little brother’s Popular Science subscription when we were kids. Ultimately, it saved my life. Thanks, Neil. I owe you (48 back-issues)…

In particular, I remember reading an article on the psychosomatic effects of stress on trauma patients. To paraphrase loosely, the article detailed a study on trauma patients, where a control group was left to struggle on it’s own, while a test group was fed a steady diet of comedy video. One group got Eddie Murphy, Richard Pryor, Sam Kinnison & such… and the control group got… nothing.

To sum up the results of the study, again loosely paraphrased (hey, I read it when I was a kid), all the patients in the control group died, while the test group healed miraculously and went on to win Nobel Prizes, set Olympic records and start Facebook.

That’s how I remembered it, anyway. So, when I awoke from my coma, I calculated my options:

1). Worry, stress out & die.

2). Laugh my ass off. Have fun. Heal. What did I have to lose? (besides my life)

Praying wasn’t an option as I am not superstitious. That left me with an easy choice. I decided to laugh it off. Again, I couldn’t walk, could barely talk & I couldn’t heal myself with telekinesis. Still, my mind was about the only thing I could control, so I figured I’d start there. The rest was up to luck. Worst case? If fate insisted I only had a week to live, I was going to enjoy it & go out laughing. Here’s how it went down…

The internet was the ticket for staying in touch with my friends & family, but my laptop was post-mortem (disassembled by my motorcycle accident)… so my Mom smuggled in my phone. One Facebook app later, I was in business.

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My Mom

I quickly Googled up some Hair Club for Men pictures & posted them on all my dude pals’ Facebook pages, then I dialed up Watchtower.org & scheduled some early Saturday morning Jehovah’s Witness informational visits for them. When you’re post-coma, shattered spine, you can get away with anything. Seriously. What are they gonna say? Who’s going to get mad at you? Being on a death-watch is a golden get-out-of-jail-free card. Enjoy it. I did.

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Hilarity ensued. My extended family is fairly religious, so I had fun with them, too. They’re mostly from the Appalachian hills, so they all went out, bought computers, signed up for electricity… & joined Facebook to cheer me on. And, being religious, they all wanted to know what the “other side” was like. I was in a coma, so I would surely know. I may have embellished a little bit; 666 magic elves, fire-breathing unicorns, Ozzy Osbourne background elevator muzak, etc. I had fun with it. I’m no longer invited to family reunions. Still, nobody holds a grudge. I was in a coma for Zeus’ sake.

Now I could go on about stress & cortisol or wax poetic about EEG readouts & the psychosomatic impact of Delta & Gamma brainwave states on flesh-wounds, but I don’t want to bore myself. You know how to Google. Instead, I’ll drop this analogy on you:

If your brain is the conductor of the healing orchestra in your body, marshaling it’s resources to heal you… then, do you really want to give the conductor syphilis? If you keep your brain from doing it’s job & healing your wounds, it’s going to be a shitty night at the symphony, isn’t it? Depression will kill you. Don’t worry. Laugh.

So, is laughter the best medicine? No. But it PREVENTS STRESS, which is the worst poison. Sure, it’s easy to stress out when you wake up in the hospital after a shark bit off your leg. But don’t stress out. At least you’re ALIVE. Start laughing & increase your chances of staying that way.

Recap…

STEP 1: RELAX
STEP 2: LAUGH

Here are a few places to start…
=========================
http://xkcd.com/
http://www.someecards.com
http://www.google.com/search?q=the+far+side&hl=en&tbo=u&tbm=isch&ei=Ni5HT6CJEqamiQLCsJnaDQ&ved=0CEkQsAQ

STRESS prevents healing…
==========================
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/07/050729063608.htm
http://biology.about.com/library/weekly/aa070998.htm

And, here are some cross-country pics…

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Somewhere in Montana

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Somewhere in Wyoming

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Somewhere in Idiotville

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