The Five Types of Laughter

Haha. Colin Nissan’s piece “The Gift of Laughter” in The New Yorker made me chortle:

Laughing triggers the release of chemicals in your brain, creating feelings of happiness that can often linger long enough for someone to set off your singing trout plaque again. There’s such a strong belief in the medical benefits of laughter that scientists created a gas out of it—one that millions of dentists successfully administer each year to ease their patients’ discomfort during above-the-clothes fondling.

Laughter has proven to be useful in other ways, too. It can make an awkward silence a lot less awkward, like when you’re in a terrible marriage or an elevator. We have laughter to thank for our unique human ability to laugh at ourselves, and, more important, at people with cell-phone holsters. And what would tickling be like without laughter? It would be like trying to tickle a bunch of unticklish people, and if you’ve ever wiggled your fingers across one of them, it’s a goddam nightmare.

There are five types of laughter to choose from. You can giggle, chuckle, howl, chortle, and, in extreme cases when you’re wearing a monocle, even guffaw. Assess the situation and carefully decide which type is appropriate, because the wrong laughter can send the wrong signals and encourage your boss to keep doing his Arnold Schwarzenegger impression.

The ending is kind of weak, but the beginning and middle are LOL-worthy.

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(hat tip: Chris Sacca)

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