• Last modified 429 days ago (Oct. 4, 2018)


ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: Grins, giggles, laughs make good medicine

© Another Day in the Country

There’s an old saying, “Laughter is good medicine,” and I believe it.

In fact, I’ve been known to subscribe to a magazine like “The New Yorker” as much for the cartoons as for the content. I’m so in awe of people who can dream up jokes and funny lines, and I’m even more impressed with the skill of actually rendering the idea in black and white.

Often, the first page I turn to when I get my copy of the magazine is the back, where they introduce a cartoon without a caption, inviting reader participation.

“We should think up a caption,” I told my sister.

“Not me,” she said, handing back the magazine. “I could never do that.”

“Come on,” I coaxed. “Give it a try.”

Then, setting a good example, I pushed myself to think up a caption that might go with the drawing. Sometimes I figure something out, sometimes not. Meanwhile, we have a good laugh at my attempts.

A few weeks ago there was a cartoon in that magazine of a guy in a clothing store trying on a full suit of medieval armor, looking in the full-length mirror.

Use your imagination. Got the picture?

The clerk standing behind him was in normal modern dress like any salesman we see now.

Visualize it. Now, I dare you to think of a caption.

My own thoughts whirled as I frantically tried to come up with something to do with battles.

“I thought of a caption,” I finally said to Jess. “Do you think this needs an Altercation?”

Jess laughed.

“Oh, that’s good,” she said. “You should send it in.”

However, when I looked at the magazine deadline for submissions, it was already too late.

A couple of weeks later, the top three winning submissions for that cartoon were listed on the back page of the magazine, “It’s off the rack. The guy on the rack doesn’t need it anymore” was one. “Will you be billing this to the E.P.A. as well, sir?” and “I haven’t sold one of these in ages” were the others.

They were good … and funny. However, in a show of family solidarity, my sister said, “I think yours was better!”

I chuckled, she smiled. Both of those activities qualify as good medicine.

This summer, I asked my son-in-law to bring some candy home from the market where he works. I’m a licorice lover and this particular variety, dainty little candy-coated capsules, used to be called “Licorice Smiles” in my favorite old-fashioned candy store in St. Helena.

The shop is no longer there, but I’m always looking for places that still offer “Licorice Smiles” and the specialty store where Richard works is one of those, I’d discovered.

A few days after he brought home the first bag of “Smiles,” I asked for more.

“Really? You must really like them!” he said.

So, for my birthday he asked their wholesaler to bring an extra 10 pounds — yes, you read that right —of “Licorice Smiles” to send home with me as I flew back to Kansas. “Smiles,” almost made my suitcase too heavy.

Even with my love of licorice, it’s going to take a while to eat all of these; but every time I go back to the pantry and bring some out for guests, I smile — good medicine. In fact, these bits of candy look like capsules you’d take for what ails you.

Richard tries very hard to be a good son-in-law. He not only gives me licorice, he also sends me jokes that an older friend sends to him. Often I ignore these kinds of “group forwarded” emails, but this week I stopped and looked. I was in need of some extra smiles, and laughter is good medicine.

This email featured funny billboard captions. Whoever does these gives the gift of laughter to anyone driving by. Here’s a sample, to make you chuckle: “Qu!t Steal!ng R Letter$”

And then there was, “For chemists alcohol is not a problem — it’s a solution.”

I smiled over this one: “Despite the high cost of living, it remains popular.”

And grinned when I read, “In search of fresh vegetable puns. Lettuce know.”

I had to think about, “Remember, if the world didn’t suck, we’d all fall off.” And then came my favorite chuckle, “Ban pre-shredded cheese. Make America grate again!”

Keep smiling. It’s another day in the country.

Last modified Oct. 4, 2018