Wednesday, May 30, 2012


No, I'm not giving a lesson in tongues.

If only that was it.

Today, I went to Mass and received Communion. After everyone went back to their pews, I heard a strange repetitive noise. A young boy (around 4 or 5) had fallen asleep and was snoring loud enough to wake the dead. This is a small, quiet, chapel and usually very silent after Communion. I struggled to maintain my dignity but as the sound of the child "sawing logs" interspersed with squeaking sounds did my hilarity. I burst in peals of laughter and could not stop. Pretending to have a coughing and sneezing fit didn't work either. (This is my old standby in situations like these.) I begged the Lord to "make it stop, oh please, make it stop". Not a chance. He was busy with more important stuff like making sure a tired boy got his zzzz's in. The more I tried to smother the laughter the worse it became. I gained control by the time Father gave the final blessing but on the way out of the church the man seated behind me looked right at me, winked, and had a huge grin on his face.

No one said a word, thankfully. Sometimes, if I can keep the laughter silent enough and I can cover my face with my hands, I can pretend I'm crying.

I'm not sure I inherited the gene of "laughing at totally inappropriate moments" from my mom or my dad. (I think my dad is the culprit.) The majority of time, these giggling fits take place either during solemn ceremonies or in overflowing elevators where there is complete silence. You know, someone will "let one go" loudly and the Lord seems determined that I should take the blame for each and every one of these incidents. It's the bane of my existence. If the giggling mechanism is set off, I'm done for. The shoulder shaking and the strange choking noises I make are always a dead give-a-way. I always want to shout, "It wasn't me! I swear!"

 I get back at the Lord for allowing this by "offering it up".

Anyone have any advice?

Please don't say, "Grow up!" I can't seem to do that. And no, "Think morbid thoughts." That doesn't work either. I've left the Church on occasion but in small chapels I am pinned by people on both sides.

Is there a saint for this?

And no, I am not joking.

I've asked the Lord to "make it stop" since I was a child and He never has.

Victor? I know you've had this "difficulty" before? What's your secret? Spill it, please.


PS (Don't you dare comment on the elevator incident at Disney World if you read this, dear brother of mine... I WILL delete it. Besides, you set me off. No mentioning the funeral incident, either, because that was your fault too. Comments aren't allowed by family members on this post. You either, Kath. No beach church comments either - I'm still mortified over that one. Randy, that means you too. You have no idea what it's like right after giving birth when your body disobeys you at will and I didn't ASK the baby to spit the pacifier out. You could have done the right thing and picked it up yourself you know. That WOULD have been the gentlemanly thing to do. Poor girls behind us had to leave the church.)


  1. I loved reading this post and to answer your question, "no." The Lord is not going to change you Mary. This is you. I would be right there with you giggling and laughing up a storm for no reason. Sometimes, life is just too funny to pass up and hold it in. If others cannot deal with it, then that is their issues not yours.

    I am reminded of Blind Beggar Bartimaeus. He was told to be quiet when calling out to Jesus. But, he did not let others insecurities stop him. He continued to yell to get Jesus' attention. He knew that they were dealing with their own issues, and it was NOT about him. So he persisted and did not change who he was! Amen!! Blessings my dear.

  2. Mary,
    I can definitely sympathize with this one. This happened to a friend and me at a Rachel's Vineyard closing Mass one time. Right before Communion I noticed my friend shaking uncontrollably; I thought she was crying. I soon realized she was laughing. That was it- now we were both laughing (this before I even knew what started her laughing fit)
    as far as saints go- maybe Philip Neri- wasn't he the one who liked to play practical jokes. Not an exact match, I know.
    Other than sympathy- I have no advice except to roll with it, so to speak, and thank God for that sense of humor :)

  3. "The majority of time, these giggling fits take place either during solemn ceremonies or in overflowing elevators where there is complete silence. You know, someone will "let one go" loudly ..."

    Letting one go in an elevator is wrong on so many levels!

    Yes, I've had problems with "letting go" as the link you've put will testify. Thanx. Hope it makes your readers smile.

    The thing is Mary, it's good to laugh. At ourselves as well as at other people. I've often wondered about the appropriateness of my humourous posts as you know - but if it makes people laugh; then why not publish them.

    So ... please tell us about all those incidents you mention at the end of your post. Please make us smile.

    Laughter is good for you you know. It's medically proven. Laughter releases dolphins within us which swim around and tickle us from inside. That's why we sometimes hear noises from within ... or is it trapped wind?

    God bless.

  4. This is inexcusable, Mary. As a role model for our online Catholic community, I would have expected much better of you.

    For myself, I find it quite easy to be sensible so I'm afraid I really have no advice to offer. Though, I have heard that filling one's mouth with large marbles can help to suppress these uncontrollable urges. Generally, the risk of death by choking is quite sufficient to smother a wicked snort or an evil chuckle. It does make receiving Our Lord in Communion rather cumbersome, though - as I said, I am most shocked and disappointed...

  5. Not laughing is like not thinking of a pink elephant.

    The way to not think of a pink elephant is to actively think of a maple trew/ or anything else.

    THat works with thinking. I have yet to find anything to stifle a laugh. So don't even try. Just laugh. When people stare; point and give a "Isn't he so adorable look" Or say: I just can't help it. After I receive my Lord and my God, in the Sacrament, I just cannot contain my joy.

    But being married to Bear means I laugh a lot, so I've just given up trying to stifle them. I mean really, if God didn't want us to give into to laughter, why did he make it so that stifling a laugh makes you laugh more. Consider this: Our God's Permissive will allowed the boy to fall asleep and also permitted that you would see the boy until AFTER Communion, not before, you laughter could be a prayer of thanksgiving to the Lord for putting a smile on your face that day.

    Can you tell I have tried very often not to laugh, and I have failed each and every time. SO I've stopped. Really the laugh ends so much sooner.

    But then again I have been married to a man whose father cracked jokes at his wife's brother-in-law's burial.

    It was the middle of February, and we (FIL, BIL, MIL, Bear and I) were are at graveside burisl, and the priest was a little longwinded. Pipes up my FIL: If he doesn't hurry up with those prayers, they might as well lay me down beside George.

    MIL(I should mention it was her sister's husband we were burying), BIL, Bear and I started laughing, silently, but so hard our shoulders were heaving. We were far enough away that no one heard us. It wasn't until after the graveside service was over that we turned around and noticed that the widow had stayed in the car (It had been too cold for her) All we could do was hope and pray that we looked like we our shoulders were heaving in grief not laughter.

    Besides, I am quite sure God loves a good laugh. He must. I am just as sure when he put my sister and me in the same family, he had his tongue firmly planted in his cheek, and has been gafawing about it evey since.

    Back to your situation: Just laugh and then point to the child and get them to laugh too, so that you will not be alone in laughing. OR

    If people stare at you when you laugh say:Gosh golly gee, after recieving My Lord and My God, I just can't contain my joy.

  6. Hi Grace,
    I guess it's hopeless then? Lol! It's embarrassing! I have never been able to control my laughter! Glad to know you would be giggling too - at least I'm in good company!

    God bless you, my friend :)

  7. Hi Karin,
    I laughed when I read your comment! This is what happened to us in church at the beach. A lady a few "pews" in front of us let one go, it echoed through the church (good acoustics there) and she and her family were rolling with laughter. Just seeing them laugh like that set me off, then set my brother off, then my husband and on and on it went. I was laughing so hard I was crying. Randy was patting my back so people would think I WAS crying but folks aren't fooled. The ones who don't laugh simply never had fathers who made them pull their thumbs as children. We could never figure out why it didn't work on our own little thumbs. Bad genes, like I said.

    St Philip Neri you think? I was more inclined to ask one of the fishermen saints like St Peter but I'll give St. Philip a shot. Worth a try anyway. Certainly nothing else has worked!

  8. This warms my heart! And no, I don't have any magic solutions. I would LOVE to hear from your family about other incidents, though!!! :-)

  9. Hi Victor,
    Yes! Exactly! Letting one go on an elevator IS wrong on so many levels and everyone on the elevator (Disney has elevators that hold about thirty or forty people) thought it was either my brother or I but, noooooo, once again because I was laughing so hard (and it didn't help that my brother kept poking me in the side and snickering) people thought I was the culprit! My brothers snickering just made me laugh until tears were rolling down my eyes. We were dead in the center of the silent crowd, the elevator reeked (it was an SBD - hee, hee, google chrome doesn't know what an SBD is, they keep underlining it) and it wasn't me OR my brother.

    Now my husband thinks I'm nuts because I'm crying again - it was both the "dolphin" remark and the "Letting one go on an elevator is wrong on so many levels!" that did me in. I think we were on level three at the time ;)

    A God bless somehow doesn't feel fitting for this comment - that's for sneezes, so I'll give you the Irish Blessing instead:

    May the wind ever be at your back, etc...(I forgot the rest.)

    I have little sympathy for those who allow others to bear their burdens. After all, a simple "Oops! Beg pardon would suffice."

    Laughter is good. God has a sense of humor :)

  10. Hi Vicky,
    Isn't it though?

    Are you trying to kill me off?

    By the way, love your recent "Goldfish" post, Miss Vicky. I read your mind you know (grin).

    I pulled an awful trick on my mom at Disney world. When we went they had just installed the new toilets that automatically flush when you stand up. My mom's didn't work and she yelled out, "Mary, how do these toilets work?" I said, "Ma, this is have to turn around and yell "FLUSH!"
    To this day no one in my family can figure out how she could possibly fall for it but fall for it she did. Everyone in the ladies room was laughing that time :) She still won't forgive me.

  11. Hi Puff,
    Finally some good advice! And here I am giggling again at your comment about your Father-in-law! A remark like that would definitely have set me off with no chance of recovery! If you were silent and just your shoulders were heaving your chances are 50/50 that the widow thought you were crying. Well, maybe not quite 50/50....

    Everyone in the chapel heard the child snoring so I'll have to blame it on Communion as you suggest :)

    Uhmm...I had a little funeral incident before too. Once again, it was my brother's fault - he's so funny that I don't stand a chance once he gets going. Even my Aunt caught the laughter...and it was HER husband that died! Sometimes laughter is just catchy like that.

    My brother is going to kill me for blaming it on him :) I have two brothers and they are both like this. Sheesh! I never stood a chance in this family!

    Thanks for the good laugh!

  12. Hi Mary,
    The list is endless :) They inherited the same trait though so they dare not say anything because I have the goods on them too! (A bit of blackmail always comes in handy, right?) Lol!

    The pacifier incident was the worst. That time I was guilty as charged. The two girls in the "pew" behind me were laughing so hard that they had to walk out of Mass. I prayed that I would never see them again ;) All the other times I was innocent. But childbirth comes with temporary difficulties....

  13. By the way, Vicky, are you still "growling" at your confessors? Caught the cake comment too!

    Someone's holding out ;)

  14. Thanx Mary for your kind comments on my Fr Gaston post. I've responded there.

    God bless you and smile upon you.

    And may the wind be always from behind.

  15. "I have little sympathy for those who allow others to bear their burdens. After all, a simple 'Oops! Beg pardon would suffice.'

    Laughter is good. God has a sense of humor :)"

    If God didn't have a sense of humour He would not have made us fart.

  16. Hehe! You let me join the old hags club, remember, Mary? Well, now I seem to have thrown caution to the wind (literally) in order to indulge my penchant for wanton windiness and other abdominal bellowings;-)

    Just wondering, is there a reason why it was my reply which contained the story about the toilet? Can't think why that should be...

    BTW, it was hilarious, Mary - I think you can be forgiven for collapsing in fits of giggles over that one! Just hope you lost control on the way out of the toilets and not on the way in... Aargh! You and Victor are such bad influences!!

  17. Victor,
    Lol!!!You have the dubious honor of being the second person on my blog to call it like it is! Sarah beat you to it on her comments on guiness beer :) I don't actually use the term "let one go" in real life. I'm mean lets call a spade a spade why don't we - it's a fart, plain and simple ;) And I am in total agreement that God did this deliberately to make us laugh because He can do anything He wants. Still, He foresaw that fathers around the world would ask their children to pull their thumbs and that farts would definitely make us take ourselves less seriously. Even the most dignified among us "cut the cheese" so to speak (that might just be an American expression) and it's a great way to knock the wind out of our proud sails ;)

    You're brave :) I was waiting for someone other than Sarah to tell it like it is!

  18. Hi Vicky,
    Moi? I let you in the old hags club? Not by the hair on my chinny-chin- chin (which I plucked off, by the way). If I remember correctly you let yourself in by saying the cartoon at the bottom was a self portrait. I simply welcomed you with open arms ;)

    "Well, now I seem to have thrown caution to the wind (literally) in order to indulge my penchant for wanton windiness and other abdominal bellowings;-)" Lol, Vicky! I've got to remember that one!

    You know why I put the toilet story there ;)

    Victor and I are the bad influences? I beg to differ! You and Sue both seem to carry this same silly gene - your comboxes make mine look mellow!

    Yes, Victor is a bit of an instigator though. Reminds me a bit of my brother...

  19. Hi Mary,

    Your great sense of humour has won you an invitation to join the HEEE HEEE MEME.

    Check out my Blog.

    God bless.

  20. Mary, I just read your response regarding the toilet incident with your mum. I sure hope I can remember that one, if I have the opportunity to say it to someone. I am just as devious as you my dear. And loving every moment of it. Hee hee.

  21. Victor,
    The name is perfect!! How did you do that so fast?

    Be right over!

  22. Hi Grace,
    I know you have a great sense of humor - anyone who names their bird Boobutt and makes jokes about poopy puppies and stuff like that has a funny bone that gets set off easily :)Victor started a funny story meme and I'm going to tell the whole story of our Disney Adventure I think. It was the craziest day I've ever had.

    I hope Boo is okay. I prayed for him.

  23. Hi Grace,
    I know you have a great sense of humor - anyone who names their bird Boobutt and makes jokes about poopy puppies and stuff like that has a funny bone that gets set off easily :)Victor started a funny story meme and I'm going to tell the whole story of our Disney Adventure I think. It was the craziest day I've ever had.

    I hope Boo is okay. I prayed for him.

  24. Mary, this post and the ones later have me laughing so hard the tears are rolling down my face. God bless you for helping me unchain the dolphins in my head.

  25. I am giggling at your comment, Barb! Both this one and the "wreckovating" comment on the kneeler post! Good one!

    Glad your dolphins are on the loose!

    I truly do have a problem with inappropriate laughter but you all are no help at all ;)