A morning thought…


Sergeant Sourpuss wants me to turn down the volume on my laughter

I laugh. A lot. And I don’t have a girly, tee-hee titter. My laughter is big and robust, even if I’m not.

I don’t count laughter among my flaws. There are, after all, major medicinal properties to laughter. It is both infectious and healing. It’s healthy to laugh and to share the company of those who make you laugh. As they say, laugh and the world will laugh with you.

So what do we do when one of the Sad Sacks who walk among us scowls and suggests we push the mute button on merriment?

I advance that question because I have been reintroduced to the misery of such a man. For the longest time, I took him to be a quiet, unassuming, gentle person. One who kept his own counsel. One who would refrain from cruel and nasty utterances. Silly me, judging a book by its cover. I mean, for a man who doesn’t say much, he surely has a lot to say. Most of it rather rancid.

I shant go into the gory details of his numerous, behind-the-back broadsides against his fellow beer trolls in the nightclub he attends, but suffice to say this bar gnome has spared few and his wish for me is “a grave in trash.” (Yes, he’s a real charmer.)

The thing is, I’m sure people can find numerous reasons to dislike me, but my laughter should not be among those reasons. Seriously. How does one find fault in the laughter of another? But that’s what this sour sod has done. He wishes I didn’t laugh “so loud” because “it’s grating” on his nerves.

Well, shame on me. If only I had known he was Sergeant Sourpuss of the Royal Canadian Laughter Police, I’d have turned it down a notch so as not to offend his delicate dictates. As if.

It’s interesting to note that the discovery that my har-de-har-harring is objectionable to Segearnt Sourpuss falls three weeks after a gathering of friends at another watering hole, Bart’s Pub in Victoria.

Whenever Sean, Brian, Bruce and myself meet, there are a few absolutes: We will enjoy each other’s company; we will engage in light-heartened banter; we will discuss life topics; and, more than anything, we shall laugh, laugh, laugh. And so it was three Sundays past when we sat at a table tucked into a corner of the room. I left shortly after my guy pals had departed and stopped to bid farewell to Jack, the world’s best bartender.

“You have to come in here more often on Sundays, Patti,” he said.

“Why’s that?” I wondered.

“Because you get everybody laughing.”

One of the longtime regulars, Alison, waved to me from across the bar.

“We enjoyed listening to you laugh, Patti,” she called out. “You had us all laughing, too.”

The man sitting to her right, John, was nodding in agreement.

Imagine that. Embracing laughter. What a concept.

Sadly, there are those who see nothing but dark clouds. They expend not an ounce of energy in search of the silver linings of life. They are full of pain and harbor an emptiness that we only see when they lash out for the most petty of reasons. Like the decibel level of laughter. That’s why I feel sorry for Sergeant Sourpuss. Life must be a bitch.

So what do I do with him and those of his ilk? Nothing. I’ll ignore him and just keep laughing, laughing, laughing. I might even turn up the volume.

Dear Miss, Vol. II

“Do not merely stop to smell the roses, dear ones; stop also so that the roses may smell you.”

And they gathered to hear Dear Miss speak of many things…

“If no one ever sits in a chair, is it not still a chair? If no one is there to hear your laughter, is there not still laughter? If no one accepts you as you, are you not still you? Be you.”

“There resides both a saint and a sinner in your soul. It is up to you to choose which of the two you will present to the world.”

“Laugh because the people of all our lifetimes embrace laughter and respond favorably to laughter. Laughter is contagious, so laugh, laugh, laugh with mighty joy. And others shall be infected with your mighty joy.”

“Do not merely stop to smell the roses, dear ones; stop also so that the roses may smell you.”

“Rejoice in who you are, dear ones, for there is no joy in who society says you should or must be.”

“Do not tax your mind with weighty thoughts of what might have been or what could be, dear ones. Ease your mind with what is.”

“Become a better person than your former self and the entire community shall benefit.”

“The truth that hurts is not to be found in the harsh words spoken by another; the truth that hurts is to be found in the mirror.”

“If there is a song in your heart, turn up the volume so that all others may listen.”

“Do not compare your misfortune to that of another, for the snowflake can weigh as much as the anvil.”

“If you take the shape of the rose, the rose shall take the shape of you, dear ones.”

“The sole constant in life is change. The only thing that does not change is change itself. That is the great paradox of life.”

“The loudest voice I have heard was as a feather falling on a ball of cotton.”

“Only he who has bathed in my dirty bath water can truly know me.”

“If your eyes have gazed upon an ugly rainbow, if your ears have heard the robin of spring sing out of tune, do not pass a mirror without stopping for a look.”

—Excerpt from Candlelight and a Quill Pen, by patti dawn swansson
First published as Lotus Life in 2007 by Rooftop Riting
copyright, patti dawn swansson

Candlelight & a quill pen cover