Love may be the universal language, but laughter surely has to come in a close second.
When I'm stressed or feeling blue, I head straight for the bookshelves and a little humor therapy, courtesy of some of my favorite authors. If you haven't tried it, I heartily recommend it. When everything seems to be going wrong, a good belly laugh or even a few stifled giggles can make all the difference.
I started reading Laurie Notaro's I Love Everybody (and Other Atrocious Lies) while I was sitting on a bench at a very hoity-toity dance studio waiting for my daughter to finish her overpriced ballet lessons that she ended up hating. I tried, really tried, to contain myself, but I burst out laughing several times. The other mother's glares told me how inappropriate it was, and I suppose I could have stopped reading, but it was too good and I couldn't help myself.
Bill Bryson's The Lost Continent was another tome that had me giggling through my hand. I felt surprise - and relief - that there was someone else out there who sees all the strangeness in the world and doesn't mind getting a little snarky about it.
There's lots of other, of course - and not just non-fiction. I love it when fiction makes me laugh. Sarah Shankman, who wrote I Still Miss My Man (but my aim is getting better) is hilarious, and I love the Southern Sisters mysteries of the late Anne George.
But surprises - finding someone new and funny (or new to you and funny) - are the best. Consider this: Shirley Jackson, the author of the haunting short story The Lottery and uber-creepy The Haunting of Hill House, wrote a really funny memoir titled Life Among The Savages about her life with her husband, her "twenty children and half a million books." And a friend of mine recently loaned to me a little off-beat book called "Apathy," by Paul Neilan that she insists is "disturbingly funny."
I can't wait to find out.