Saturday, 4 January 2014


Jest do it.  Determination and resolution are all you need to start your humor workout.  The actual decision to pump up your humour practice can be similar in scope to the decision to include more physical fitness in your life.” – Mary Kay Morrison

Just. Do. It.  I never could relate to Nike’s short and sassy slogan.  The words slide across the screen as a lithe glistening model crosses the finish line.  Just. Do. It.  Who is this woman with her neon sports bra and sweat proof makeup?  How does she just do it?  Does she slip in a streamlined workout between dropping the kids at school and realizing the documents she needs for her meeting are still on the kitchen table?  Does she just do it after putting in a 12 hour work day but before baking 48 pink and yellow cupcakes for her daughter's class party?

My relationship with exercise is a little less like a glossy TV ad, and more like an unsuccessful round of speed dating.  I start with the best of intentions and the most positive of attitudes, knowing that if I can just get this relationship to work, it will be so good for me and I’ll feel energized for the rest of my life.  I try something out, a new fitness trend, a new class but realize pretty quickly it’s not for me, so I say we are not a good match and I move on to the next table.  Periodically I am grateful to hear the bell ring twice so I can go to the bar for a time out and a couple of drinks.

But a humor workout.  Now that I can jest do. After all I have the best of coaches.


My son and I are addicted to laughter. I know few people who naturally radiate love and laughter like my handsome 25 year old.  His sense of humor is sharp and contagious.  He sees the opportunities for fun in everything.  Our “humor relationship” grows daily as we are forever sharing goofy movie recommendations or links to websites with hilarious photos and translation fails.   

Throughout the day I carry my cellphone with me, ostensibly to be able to respond to colleagues’ urgent emails or to schedule follow ups with partner organizations.   But nothing brings a smile faster to my face than the familiar soft buzz of a new message vibrating for my attention.  I look around the boardroom and sheepishly sneak a glance at the screen under the table.  My son has texted me.

What do you call a fake noodle?           

I smile and look up, verifying that no one has noticed my lack of focus. My colleagues appear to be hypnotized by this month’s financial report.   My phone quietly buzzes.

An impasta!

I snort loudly, and then try to cover it with a fake cough.  A couple faces turn accusingly in my direction but I look away chuckling.


One day I am preparing supper while the kids are all upstairs cleaning their rooms.  Our weekly ritual of tidying up the house inevitably ends in fits of giggles over some ridiculousness or another. My husband has decided to grab a shower before dinner. I hear my son’s conspiring whispers over the girls’ laughter coming from his room.  They are allegedly helping him fold his laundry but all I hear is the periodic plunk of objects falling and rolling across the ceiling above me.

Moments later my husband opens the bathroom door to find the girls poised out in the hallway.  Our youngest thrusts a Tupperware dish at him.

“I found your marbles!” The container is full of marbles they have gathered from the bottom of their toy boxes.

“We heard you lost them!”   Her sister pipes in.

I laugh as I look over at my son who can barely contain himself.  My husband smiles and shakes his head.  The girls are rolling on the floor.


A year ago my son bought himself a black sports car.  It is his dream car and slowly he has outfitted it with every manly automotive upgrade imaginable including an over-the-top sound system.  I confess I sometimes wonder about his choice as I think about the attention he brings to himself, this handsome, strapping young black man, driving around town blasting the latest rap tunes out of his soon to be tinted windows.  I await the evening he will find himself unfairly stopped by the police who may not believe him when he explains that he is on his way home from his full-time job that he uses to put himself through school, or that he is on his way to pick up his younger sisters, a task he readily takes on not out of obligation, but out of pure love.  Only I cannot help but smile at his bright grin every time I see him unfold himself from the front seat.

Combining his love of music, flashy vehicles and a darn good laugh, he has recently downloaded an mp3 version of Survivor’s hit, “Eye of The Tiger”. When he spots a neighborhood jogger on the street, he rolls down his window, turns up the classic Rocky theme and slows to a crawl beside the confused runner.  Almost all inevitably laugh and give him an appreciative nod.  Take that, Nike.

A couple years ago, he met a wonderful young woman who shares his love of laughter.  Their Facebook pages are equally full of romantic pictures of young love and ridiculous selfies of the two of them making goofy expressions.  I have asked them often how such a beautiful couple can manage to look so completely ridiculous.

They have plans, my son and his new love.  Plans for the future.  Plans for their futures together.  My son is slowly putting himself through flight school, realizing his lifelong dream of being a pilot.  His girlfriend recently got a long awaited promotion.  They talk of moving in together, of travelling, of starting a life.

I know they will carry out these plans. Realize their optimistic dreams.  Accomplish all sorts of fantastic things. With such a zest for life and laughter how could they not.

 But in the meantime, I relish listening to their more immediate plans of spending an afternoon riding the bus, eating  vanilla pudding out of a mayonnaise jar with a big spoon…just…for…fun.


This week I decided to just do it and start exercising again.  I have been rolling out my yoga mat and proudly completing a daily workout.   This morning I woke up to my stomach muscles feeling contentedly sore.  After an uber-healthy breakfast I decided to exercise while checking out Kevin Hart’s, Real Husbands of Hollywood, a faux reality show my son has been telling me to watch for months.  4 episodes and 2 hours of spinning and stretching later and my stomach is KILLING me …from laughing so hard.  Best. Workout. Ever.

If I can just stop laughing long enough, I’ll text my son.

1 comment:

  1. Amazing blog as always Maia. Your insights about the relationship between exercise and laughter are thought provoking and fun. Appreciate your posting the quote from my book- "Using Humor to Maximize Living". Cannot wait to read your own book someday soon! I