The one in which I laugh inappropriately

Here’s something that many of you already know about me: I am a crier. It doesn’t take much to get me going.  I know this isn’t a big deal , but it’s not something that I love about myself. 

You see, the problem is that I am a noisy crier.  I can’t cry softly.  If I try to cry softly, it usually just builds up until I explode into a slobbering, blubbery mess.  This can be quite humiliating when I’m, say, in a movie theater. 

I sobbed throughout much of my wedding ceremony.  The tape of the service is almost comical because I’m sniffling so uncontrollably.  But once I start crying, there’s no stopping that train until I get it all out. 

I have, over the years, developed a couple of defense mechanisms in an attempt to reign in my sobbiness.  The first is to fight with every fiber of my being against the tears, which can only work for so long.  At some point, though, when my throat is throbbing painfully, I have to sneak away to some place private where I explode like Krakatoa spewing tears and snot in every direction.  This is, obviously, not ideal but is sometimes necessary.  It’s served me well at the last couple of funerals I’ve attended where I’ve managed to keep it together relatively well until Lee and I get in the car, then I dissaolve and scare my poor husband near to death.  I don’t think he’s gotten used to this side of me yet.

My other defense mechanism tends to rear its ugly head at the most inappropriate of times.  I laugh.  It’s horrible and even more embarrassing than the crying itself.  What’s worse is the fact that I have little control over what happens in an emotional situation.  I never know if I’m going to be the loud crier, the suppressive exploder or the obnoxious laugher.  It just happens.

This was especially embarrassing a couple of months ago when I took Sloan to the doctor for his five year check up and he had to receive shots.  Oh, have I mentioned I hate needles?  And I hate watching my children go through pain?  This was a lethal combination for me that was sure to lead to some sort of humiliating reaction.

As the nurse shoved a needle into my son’s arm and he started to cry, I felt the all too familiar lump form in my throat.  Of course, I’m trying to be brave so I can’t cry in front of him.  The next thing I know, I’m laughing near hysterically and the nurse is looking at me like I’ve just grown a freakishly large second head.  I felt like a jerk.  But I didn’t cry.

On Friday night, we had a family night.  We set up the projector screen and shined the movie Marley and Me up on the wall.  It was sweet and fun, until Marley died.  My sweet, tender-hearted Sloan got so upset that he buried his face in Lee’s chest and sobbed.

Me? I laughed.  I laughed hard, all the while blinking back tears.  Tia, who was sitting on my lap, kept turning around and looking at me and saying, “What, Mom? What hunny?”  And that only made me laugh/cry harder until I’m laughing and racking in sobby breaths.


So, if any of us are ever together during an emotional time and I start laughing callously, please do forgive.  And take comfort in knowing that all it really means is that I’m a big fat baby who has no control over her emotions.  Don’t you all feel sorry for my poor husband now?  I do.

Oh, and incidentally – for those of you who have not shown Marley and Me to your young children, I’ll let you know that while it is very sweet and generally wholesome, there are at least two scenes that we had to fast forward and I had to clear my throat several times to cover up bad words.  It’s not a movie I would let my kids sit down and watch without Lee and I sitting with them to monitor.  But mostly I found it to be a great movie – just be prepared to comfort sad kiddos at the end.


  1. paul shaver says

    Hint: I would highly discourage watching Schindler’s List at your local temple. You may get into some trouble. 😉

  2. Erika Conley says

    Jason laughs either when he’s in pain, or he’s nervous. He was cracking up through out our entire wedding ceremony, so if you watch ours, you can see both of us shaking b/c we were laughing…him laughing made me laugh. We both had to get rabies shots (long story, i’ll tell you if you really want to know!) and he was cracking up. I think he might have freaked the nurse out!

  3. I always laught hysterically when someone gets hurt…..why? I’m not sure. I am actually laughing as i type this too. It drives Mike crazy. He could smash his finger with a hammer and I start to lose it. I have finally learned to kind of conceal my laughter with a ohhhhhhh are you alright, as soon as my laugh starts to come out. What does that say about me???? I have done that all my life. Oh, and by the way I sobbed sooooo hard at the end of Marley and me (in the theatre) I was trying to hold it in and it only made it worse!! I thought of my poor Spanky the whole time.

  4. carol prosser says

    I laugh too! It is probably the one thing that makes Craig the maddest at me. I could tell you stories about times he has fallen or hurt himself and I will be laughing to the point of tears while telling you. (And some of the incidences were 25 years ago.) Craig always says that I will be laughing hysterically at his funeral.
    In my defense I also laugh when I fall or get hurt.
    I also don’t laugh at your children when they get hurt at school. I am filled with appropriate compassion at those times.
    Go figure? I think I really am a pretty nice person and one of my spiritual gifts is mercy. I have a funny way of showing it sometimes.
    Thanks, Kelli! Your posts always brighten my day!

  5. I am happy to know that you laughed when Sloan got his shots and did not faint. You were known for fainting at the sight of blood and shots. You took me down many times and I always wondered what would happen when you had your own kids. And I have also been with you in the theater when you have blubbered so loud that everyone began watching you. I think that I went in to hysterical laughter during those times. Remember The Patriot and Stepmom? I swore I would never go to another movie with you.
    I love you and I’m home finally.


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