Wait For It… a blog by Andy Ross

The Best Medicine

Posted on June 21, 2011

I've always said that laughter is the best medicine. My friend Claire, who’s a Christian Scientist, says that prayer is the best medicine. When I heard that, I just laughed and laughed. And, all that laughter gave me a headache.

Which I tried to laugh away. But, it didn't work. The more I laughed, the worse my headache got. Something was wrong here. Very wrong.

I thought maybe I was laughing incorrectly. I tried tittering. I tried deep, booming guffaws. I tried chortles and chuckles and snorts and cackles. Nothing cured my headache. After several hours, it had gotten even worse.

My entire worldview crumbled around me. My so-called "medicine" had failed. I’d bought into western society's hubris that any disease can be cured through laughter---that people can somehow be "fixed." I scoffed. Which is, itself, a form of laughter. It didn't help my headache, though.

I began researching alternative forms of laughter. In Tibet, they have an advanced style of laugh called "The Inward Snortle." It involves an expulsion of air from your diaphragm paired with a nasal snicker of disbelief. Essentially, it's an extended hiccup. And, while I did experience a profound moment of universal clarity, my headache stuck around.

The nomadic Maasai people of Kenya have a form of laughter practiced not through the lungs or mouth, but rather through hopping in place. The idea is that the joy of laughing can be expressed not simply vocally but through the entire body. That made my headache hurt so much.

Eventually I died from this headache. Turns out I had an earwig colony growing in there.

Anyway… I got to Heaven, and I asked God what the best medicine was, and He said, “Did you try actual medicine?” And, I said that I hadn’t, and He gave me this look. You know the look.

Then, God said, “Couldn’t you hear all the earwigs I put inside your head scurrying around?”

And, up to this point, I had been pretty cool with this whole dying thing, but all of a sudden I was like, “Yeah, Dude! WHY’D YOU EVEN DO THAT?!”

God’s face fell a little, and He took a minute. Then He said kinda quietly, “I don’t know. Sometimes I can be kind of a dick.”

And, it’s true. Sometimes He’s kind of a dick.