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Did you hear the one about ...

Laughter lightens your life — even in a pandemic. Especially in a pandemic.

My favorite online exchange this week was between two friends. The first woman asked, “What wine goes well with cereal?”

Her friend replied, “I never eat cereal for breakfast, but almost any wine goes well with toast.”

But wait. I can do better than that. Have you seen the YouTube video of the two cockatiels in a would-be mating dance? The more extroverted bird seems to do an Elvis Presley impersonation. I watched it three times and still smile when I think about it. The birds were accompanied on the ukulele by their apparent owner. He needed a haircut, and I am not sure he was wearing pants.

What does a good laugh look like? It starts when you smile with your entire face. Later you probably wipe moist eyes while your head rolls around in disbelief at how funny something is. Laughing is good for us. It’s a form of exercise in a way. There is research to support laughter as having therapeutic, healing effects. Laughter relaxes, comforts and boosts the immune system.

I found that to be especially true when I watched the Saturday Night Live opener a week ago with Brad Pitt playing 80-year-old Dr. Anthony Fauci. It was funny and well done, with a moment at the end where the actor took off his gray wig and removed his spectacles and offered personal tribute to Fauci’s expertise and gratitude to health care workers in general. Seems like the least we can do for the person guiding us out of coronavirus territory is to allow him to be portrayed on television by Brad Pitt.

The internet is flooded with people commenting on life in quarantine. If you need your funny bone tickled, you might try www.keeplaughtingforever.com or www.boredpanda.com.

Late-night talk show hosts broadcasting from their kitchens usually have it nailed, but many of the funniest moments involve regular people cooped up in their homes “washing their hands for 20 seconds 57 times a day.” They often have musical instruments and engaging house pets readily available to assist. One post displayed a scruffy-looking dog with its tongue hanging out at an odd angle and a caption that read, “This is Spike Spike is 40% possum, 50% Brillo Pad and 10% pizza crust.”

Humor is often at its best when its homegrown. A married couple I know well, after a few weeks into sheltering-at-home, announced they were planning a weekend trip and posted a floor plan of their home in evidence. That was both clever and funny.

Married elders have a lot of material yet to be put forward I suspect. I especially liked the Facebook post, “Day 3 without sports: I found a lady sitting on my couch today. Apparently she’s my wife. She seems nice.”

Are we having fun yet? Do not answer that. I am at the point where I need a punch line.

So I will leave you with this: “I know a great joke about coronavirus, but you probably won’t get it.”

Sharon Johnson is a retired educator. Reach her at sharon@rbtrv.org.