What kind of prize is that?

Country Roads

Walking down the street, a mother cat and her kitten passed two robins basking in the sun. A few seconds later, the kitten said, “Mommy, I’m hungry. What is there to eat?”

The mother cat stopped and looked back. “Well, honey, how about some baskin’ robins?”

Aha, unless you absolutely detest puns or have never heard of the Baskin-Robbins ice cream chain, I just activated the right frontal lobe of your brain.

We used to talk about a joke tickling our funny bone. Come to find out, scientists say that humor actually tickles the right frontal lobe of our brain. Two Canadian psychologists reported that the right frontal lobe is the part of our brain largely responsible for our comprehension of a punch line and the capacity to turn it into a laugh.

People who study such things claim that the frontal lobes are a site where information from throughout the brain and emotional responses are integrated. Research patients with right frontal lobe brain damage had trouble understanding jokes that required making verbal connections.

All this information is interesting but hopefully it won’t get in the way of enjoying a good joke. After all, even the dreariest of days can be brightened with a good laugh.

Say, did you hear about the $1 bill and the $20 bill?

A $1 bill met a $20 bill and said, “Hey, where have you been? I haven’t seen you around here much.”

The $20 answered, “Oh, I’ve been hanging out at the casinos, went on a cruise and did the rounds of the ship, back to the United States for a while. Then I went to a couple of baseball games, to the mall; that kind of stuff. How about you?”

The $1 bill said, “You know, same old stuff ̶ church, church, church.”

You better laugh now. This could end up in a stewardship sermon and make you squirm one of these Sundays!

While some people can trace their ancestry back to royal blood lines, my roots go back to very common people. Nonetheless, I have inherited a priceless treasure from my ancestors ̶ the gift of laughter. While my family tree is filled with good natured folks, it is from my maternal grandmother’s side of the family that I inherited my goofy sense of humor. My short, plump Dutch grandmother enjoyed telling stories and when she did she would get so tickled she’d shake like Clement Moore’s fabled bowl of jelly.

My sense of humor has helped me retain my sanity over the years. Come to think of it, it is my sense of humor that has caused some folks to question my sanity over the years.

My siblings inherited the same sense of humor and when we get together, it’s often non-stop laughter. And while our mother has had health problems of late, she still rolls her eyes and shakes her head and laughs with us. Sometimes Mom is at the root of it all!

Our family abounds with story tellers and practical jokesters. I relished the opportunity to hear my mother and her siblings tell stories of their youth. In spite of a background of Depression era poverty, their stories were filled with warmth, humor and hilarious anecdotes.

I am a firm believer in Proverbs 17:22 which says, “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.” Poet and essayist Joseph Addison wrote, “If we consider the frequent reliefs we receive from laughter, and how often it breaks the gloom which is apt to depress the mind, one would take care not to grow too wise for so great a pleasure of life.”

Did you hear about the husband who stepped on one of those old fashioned penny scales that tells a person’s fortune and weight?

“Listen to this,” he said to his wife, showing her a small, white card. “It says I’m energetic, bright and resourceful.”

“Yeah,” his wife nodded, “and it has your weight wrong, too.”

Jeff Bezos may have his fortune, George Clooney may have his good looks, LeBron James may have his athletic prowess and Bill Gates may have his superior intellect but, by golly, I have a healthy right frontal lobe.

Hey, wait a minute! Is that the booby prize?

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