Books that Make Me Laugh

April 23, 2008 — Leave a comment

“A cheerful heart is good medicine…”

I love to laugh. I probably don’t laugh enough. I think sometimes the older I get, the more serious/uptight I become. Maybe it’s the result of being driven. Maybe I let myself be a selfish SOB and worry about myself more than others.

Whatever the case, it is laughter – good old-fashioned, side-splitting belly-laughing – that pulls me out and helps me take myself (and the world around me) a lot less seriously.

I have read a few books that work for that. The most recent I would highly recommend for a great laugh. Its British, which tells you a lot about the smarmy humor that you will find in it. It is really a delightful book. The short chapters are little pills soul medicine.

Here’s an excerpt from my new friend, Never Hit a Jellyfish with a Spade (How to Survice Life’s Smaller Challenges), by Guy Browning. It is in honor of my marathon-running buddy, Randy, and is this week’s entry for Watercooler Wednesday:

How to… Run a Marathon

Occasionally you’ll see people doing a strange sport called backwards stair-climbing. This is what happens the day after you’ve run a marathon because you’ve got hamstrings longer than a double bass.

Dressing correctly is vital for a marathon and everything should be chosen to maximize cooling and minimize energy loss. Which is why, if you’re plodding round in your high-tech, high-cost running gear, it’s incredibly galling when someone roars past dressed in a six-foot chicken costume and carrying a bucket of loose change.

Getting water on board is vitally important and most people drink may pints before they even start. This, combined with the very real excitement at the beginning of the race, means that shortly after the start of the race you have about ten thousand people stopping for a pee. Strangely, they never show this on the TV. One the way round, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can pick up water on the run. You can’t pick up your tea at home on the run, so don’t try it during a race: you’ll just end up soaking yourself and then, when you try and drink it on the move, you’ll spend five minutes choking yourself to death.

During the race liquids are vital, but not solids – which is why you have mixed feelings about kindly spectators who hold out sweets, toasted sandwiches, and traditional Sunday roasts. If your body does run out of energy, you hit something called the wall. this happens around twenty miles (or earlier if you don’t look where you are going). the wall is where you start burning parts of your body that are normally left for furnishing – like fat and muscle. There is another bit that starts to burn away and that is your will to live. Which is why during the first twenty miles of a marathon you can enjoy the scenery and the last six miles are like running in a small cupboard marked “pain.”

At the end of a marathon you’re generally so whacked you decide not to lift your arms at the finishing line because it involves too much energy. There’s usually an automatic photo taken of you crossing the finish line and the expression on your face is probably the closest you’ll ever get to seeing what you look like first thing in the morning. Then the sense of physical achievement sets in and you can start telling everybody what a supreme physical specimen you as (as long as they aren’t upstairs.


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Pat Callahan

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I'm a picker. I'm a grinner. I'm a lover. And I'm a sinner. I make my music in the sun.

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