Well, over the years I have told this story quite a few times. People are always interested in it and I hope someday that it will be on the discovery channel as one of those medical mystery shows. I thought I would share it here because many of you might get a kick out of it…………
Back in the early 90′s (1993-1995 time range) life was good. I was feeling great about many aspects of my life. I was playing the sax full time. Gigging all the time. Practicing all the time. I had a girlfriend and lots of friends. I was working out and my health was good. I was feeling pretty good about things.
Around this time I started noticing that I was laughing a lot. Have you ever met somebody who would laugh whenever they were uncomfortable or nervous? Well that was me. It started out where I would laugh at odd moments like during a serious conversation or when someone else was upset. I think the people around me would just write it off as “this guys a little strange………”
As time went on my laughing got even worse. It was now quite often the kind of laughing where you feel like you can’t stop. Your whole body is moving up and down and your laughing so hard that you fall off your chair. Have you ever laughed that hard? Well, I was doing it all the time. Many times a day. Let me give you a few real life scenarios just so you can understand.
Every time I went to the bank and had to stand in line I would start cracking up. Just laughing and laughing. I would get up to the teller and she would ask me “What are you laughing at?” I would say ”I don’t know” and just keep on laughing. Many times this constant laughing would make other people laugh with me so it was kind of funny to see everyone at the bank laughing with me. The tellers at the bank actually named me the “Laughing Boy”.
Another situation that happened all the time is that I would burst out laughing during uncomfortable times in a movie. I remember going to see “Braveheart” in the theater. Do you remember that point where Mel Gibson’s wife gets her throat cut and dies……..well, I started cracking up. Just giggling and trying to hold it in but I can’t and then I have to leave the theater because I’m laughing so hard. (when you laugh during points like this in a movie people either think you are a nutcase or they are a bit scared of you) I finally got a hold of myself and went back in. Do you remember how “Braveheart” ends…….well lets just say I had to leave the theater again and my friends and everyone there was wondering “What is wrong with that guy?”
Another thing that I remember from this time is that I would always loose it in elevators. I would be standing in an elevator by myself praying no one else would get on. The doors would open and a bunch of people would get on. It would be quiet and that nice elevator music would be playing. Then I would start snickering and chuckling as I tried not to laugh. The people would turn around and look at me and I would apologize. They would turn around and I would start laughing again even louder while apologizing repeatedly. It’s interesting because some people would laugh with me even though they had no idea what I was laughing at. Some people would get mad. Some people would start fidgeting and checking their clothes because they were afraid I was laughing at them. Dealing with different people during this time was a major problem for me.
Any time i would have any kind of deep and intense conversation with my girlfriend at the time I would just start cracking up. If she was mad about something I would start laughing. If she was upset…..I would start laughing. I had no idea why I was laughing! Most of these times there was nothing funny about it but all I could do was laugh. Let me just say that this laughing thing did not prove to be a building block for a strong relationship.
One time I had Performance Appraisal that was given to me by my boss. ( I worked as a manager in a convenient store in 1995) As we sat down and he started to talk about my performance I started cracking up. I was laughing so hard I fell off my chair and couldn’t talk. That boss of mine got very mad. I think he thought I was laughing at him because he kept asking me “What are you laughing at?” “Are you laughing at me?” I would just say “No” as I kept on laughing and tears were running down my cheeks. He left quite mad as I remember.
Another time at this same store, the president of the whole company came in to see me as he toured all of his stores. Lets just say that I didn’t leave the best impression. He shook my hand and then watched me laugh for 5 minutes before he left. Luckily, at that time I had one of the best performing stores in the area so I think that helped me not to get immediately fired.
I could go on with the stories………I could talk about how I was at a funeral and started laughing and had to leave and walk in front of everyone as I laughed but that one is kind of painful for me so I won’t go into the details of it. I could talk about the time I was in a church meeting and the preacher was talking about people “going to hell” and I started cracking up. He asked me what was so funny as I continued to laugh. I didn’t have an answer for him so then he proceeded to make his lesson about how “People going to hell” is not a laughing matter and if you think it’s funny you should not be going to a church meeting. (I stopped going to those Sunday night church meeting after that)
I’ll continue with the rest of this story next time. There’s much more to it so check back later…………..Part 2