Monday, June 19, 2006

Can't Stop, Won't Stop

This is no laughing matter.(Lifehacker and Wikihow)

I cannot tell you how many times I've found myself red-faced, laughing uncontrollably in the middle of an unfunny situation. Any attempt at stopping the fit - such as thinking about ridicule, death, poverty-stricken children - only makes it worse. Since I've "had the condition" for a while, I thought I'd share my expertise and save a few lives.

A giggling fit has four elements. Know them well and the fit *may* loosen its grip on you.

First there is a trigger. The trigger is almost always meaningless when you try to analyze an episode. In my case, the trigger is *usually* associated with an authority figure. A teacher's clothes or his language, a manager's obvious b.s. presentation - it has to be immediately perceived as funny by you and another person. Which is the second element: a giggle partner. Like sports and sex, a good giggling fit call for a partner.

The partner is there to provide feedback, which is the vital third element. What starts as a harmless smile or laughter - the result of shared recognition of something ludicrous - soon escalates into a closed-loop cackling feedback hell. He sees me laughing and doubles up in laughter. Seeing him in that pitiful state cracks me up and I just collapse. Repeat till stomach hurts.

The repercussions of a fit can be severe. I've had an eraser (a wooden "duster" as we used to call them) thrown at me in school. I've been asked to leave the class for being the epicenter of several major gigglequakes, which almost always happened in classes in which the teacher was reputed for inflicting boredom and pain upon students. Actually, that fear of punishment is the fourth element. Fear, nervousness and anticipation are the soil in which a giggling fit grows.

Some memorable fits: I've had an important meeting come to a hyuk-hyuk halt. What makes this one memorable is that my giggling partner happened to be my boss, who laughed so hard he had tears running down his cheeks. I am also proud of this fit because the giggle group became truly cross-functional, increased by 4 more people and left one person in the group baffled (and insulted.) It was a bizarre scene.

But the worst one yet? A giggling fit at the age of 14, when I heard about a *very* close family member passing away. We (me and a cousin of mine) laughed, we turned serious, we felt deeply ashamed and then broke into tears. (For those who have read The Beatles' authorized biography, you might remember a very young John and Paul laughing hysterically upon receiving the news about Paul's mother's death.)

I cannot say I am cured but the giggling fit is not much of a problem now. Not that I am happy about it. After all, what can be more absurd, rebellious and liberating than laughing while engaged in some drudgery?


neha vish said...

You mean my Groupie-Shayarai didn't get you into one of those.


km said...


The groupie-shayari gave me plenty of LOLs and even ROFLs, but giggles call for different stimuli :)

kundalini said...

i understand.
tend to be a bit like that boss of yours :).

km said...

K, you have tears rolling down your cheeks during meetings?

*much new-found respect for K* :))

kundalini said...

you'll have to shed some of the respect unfortunately. i didnt mean during meetings, i just meant *tears rolling down cheeks* kindov fits :D.

Tabula Rasa said...

i like the concept of giggle partner. reminds me of the laughing club that we used to have back in the hostel.

ps. i always have tears rolling down my cheeks during meetings.

km said...

"laughing club"? No euphemisms now, TR!

Name the song from which this line appears: "the tears on her cheeks are from laughter"

GhostOfTomJoad said...

Don't have gigling fits...not very often, at any rate...but am quite famous for laughing at the most inappropriate moments. For instance, long ago, on my first meeting with someone, who I was hoping would finance a project, I laughed when, in response to my question about the bandage around his foot, he told me that he had broken his toe. Needless to say, the deal didn't quite work out :-)

"the tears on her cheeks are from laughter" - who else, but the Dylan. Tombstone Blues.

Ph said...

I almost lost a job thanks to my laughing madly at the boss who was making a presentation about Iraq. She was telling us about narrowly missing a bullet. I could not stop laughing. Whatotodo.

km said...

Ghost, you laughed at someone's broken toe? A BROKEN TOE????? Why, that's just outright howlarious :D (and give yourself 5 points for the song, not that I thought any of you would answer incorrectly)

ph: Why do you think Lex Luthor laughs so much in Superman comics? Because Supes keeps dodging those bullets and now we know dodging bullets is funny.

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