Thursday, 9 July 2009

Laughter - a tonic for all Old Men

In Act I, Scene I of the 'Merchant of Venice' Antonio says :
I hold the world but as the world, Gratiano -
A stage, where every man must play a part,
And mine a sad one.
Gratiano replies :
Let me play the fool : With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.

The word 'mirth' is derived from the Old English word 'myrgth', from which we get the word 'merry' and it means 'merriment' or 'hilarious enjoyment'.

I'll start with a joke that made me laugh.
Two old men in the lounge and one wife in the kitchen.
The first said : “I am having a lot of trouble, I can’t remember anything anymore.”
The second : “Why don’t you do what I did? I went to a memory school.”
The first : “What's its name?”
The second : “What's the name of flower that has thorns on it?”
The first : “A rose.”
The second ( shouting ) : " Rose, what's the name of that memory school ?"

Shakespeare was pointing up the importance of laughter in old age and modern science confirms the positive effects of laughter in humans. It reduces the level of stress hormones in the body and increases life-enhancing hormones like endorphines and neotransmitters. It also increases the number of anti-body producing cells giving a stronger immune system and fewer physical effects of stress. Hence the old adage ' Laughter each day may keep the doctor away.' It is clearly good for people of all ages, not just old men. But there again, old men need all life-enhancing hormones and anti-bodies they can get !

Here are 3 links to U Tube. The first made me smile, but because of the contagious effects of laughter, the second and third made me laugh heartily and have set me up for the day.

Tom Rush - Remember Song
Old Man Laughing
Best Baby Laugh

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