C’mon Let’s Laugh: Full Moon Off

by  Marilyn Sprague-Smith, M.Ed

America is celebrating the 33rd anniversary of National Humor Month in April. The original intent of this month-long celebration was to heighten public awareness of the joy and therapeutic value of humor and laughter. Through first-hand experience, I’m discovering that looking for the funny in everyday living—especially during a full moon—eases frustration, alleviates agitation and improves outlook on life.

Many studies debunk the association between “strange” human behavior and lunar phases. It’s not uncommon, though, for caregivers, medical professionals and law enforcement officials to give credence to the “lunar effect.” A familiar “it must be a full moon” is often exchanged with raised eyebrows to explain out of the ordinary behavior.

One morning during a recent full moon cycle, Jill, a dear friend who has opened her home to me and my dog, left an instructional note on the kitchen counter. It read, “Robert (her elderly father who is experiencing progressive Alzheimer’s) has had a big breakfast and taken his meds. He was up at 4:00, 4:45 and 6:30 AM (maybe more)—Full Moon “Off?” Have a great day.” It appeared to be an attempt to inject humor and ease the frustration of sleep deprivation she and her husband were experiencing as a result of her dad’s. erratic behavior.

Full Moon OffWhen Robert entered the breakfast room, it was readily apparent the witty, jovial, upbeat retired Air Force Colonel was absent. In his place was a tired, confused, agitated Robert. Gone was the sparkle in his eyes and his zesty “Ta Da, here I am. It’s so good for me to see you,” countenance. Instead, Robert shuffled to his place at the table, gave me a questioning glance and started mumbling Full Moon Off incoherent sentences.

Most of the morning was spent helping Robert link to the present. It was heart wrenching to hear him explain that he was certain I was telling the truth, but it wasn’t the same as what was going on in his head. At one point he queried, “I’m not psychiatric am I?” With a warm hand-clasp and soft eyes, I replied, “No Robert, together we’re filling in some blanks. That’s all.” We shared a light-hearted laugh. Then, the process repeated itself.

Mid-afternoon, I felt an urge to call Dixie, a girl friend who is working as a community outreach liaison and caregiver for a non-medical, in-home service provider. She didn’t sound like her buoyant self when she answered the phone. In a few short sentences, I found out a male client with dementia started making blatant sexual overtures towards her that morning. I shared with her Jill’s Full Moon “Off” explanation. It sparked a mild chuckle from Dixie. She really was feeling disgusted. However, her sense of humor blossomed fully just before our conversation ended.

“You know, I’ve been thinking. EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) might be a solution. I have this giant size picture of me teaching him how to tap while affirming ‘Even though I’m horny as H-E-double-L, I love and accept myself exactly as I am.’ Whatdaya think?”

Needless to say, laughter was spewing out of our mouths. Neither of us could speak and our conversation ended in a spree of laughter. The next morning, I forwarded a copy of a daily inspirational e-mail message to provide encouragement and support. A few days later, Robert’s behavior returned to normal and we all thought the saga of Full Moon “Off” was over. That is, until the Universe provided an opportunity for a humorous post script.

Dixie sent a response to my e-mail about five days later. Here’s what it said:

“Thx. You want another good laugh? Here’s my Horoscope from Sunday’s paper: ‘You ooze sex appeal and charm, but that doesn’t mean that you should push for a firm commitment or a promise. Use your attractiveness to make a favorable impression on the job this week.’ Is that a GAS or what?!”

As my burst of laughter subsided, I knew the saga of Full Moon “Off” just had to be taken to the next level. I dialed Dixie’s cell phone and let out a quiet sigh of relief when she answered. After all, a punch line is all about timing, timing, timing.

“Dixie?,” I inquired in a serious business tone, as an attempt to camouflage my voice.

“Yes,” was her hesitant reply.

“I’d like to place a job order. (Pause) I’m seeking someone whose attractiveness can create a favorable impression on the job. Can you help me?”

There was a pregnant pause on the other end of the phone. I sensed she was getting ready to hang up on a “prank” caller.

“Dixie, it’s Marilyn,” I blurted out. “I just got your e-mail. Sounds like you’re too sexy for your job!”

We erupted into laughter simultaneously. Through our shared mirth and merriment, we both recognized last week’s agitation was a set up for this week’s punch line.

Throughout National Humor Month, give yourself permission to look for humor in everyday living. Let the power of a huge belly laugh be your automatic reset for easing frustration, alleviating agitation and brightening your outlook. It’s guaranteed to work.

So, C’mon, Let’s Laugh! and create a personal antidote to Full Moon “Off.”

Marilyn Sprague-Smith , M.Ed. is an award-winning trainer, author, professional speaker and certified laughter leader. She and Spirit, her white male Bishon Frise´, reside in Ft. Collins. Call 336-314-1700 or visit www.miraclesmagicinc.com for info about her keynotes, meeting energizers, breakout sessions and customized training services.

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