I suffer from inappropriate laughter syndrome

I have a laughter problem.

I don’t know why or how it started but I distinctly remember numerous incidents of uncontrollable laughter throughout my life, like cracking up during mandatory mass in Catholic School, or giggling during a very serious seminar course on architectural theory in college, or snickering during a fellow student’s presentation of sketches in grad school (though I still think I deserve a pass on that one-we were supposed to create sketches using magazine images and I swear this student used porn as his inspiration…).

For those of you who also suffer from this problem, and I know there are others…someone who shall remain nameless, not me BTW, laughed throughout her wedding vows…… I have developed a very simple technique to nip it in the bud. Pinch yourself! Pain stops laughter. I highly recommend a thigh or  upper arm, easy to do without being spotted.

Okay so last week I had a terrible incident of ILS. My father and I were discussing a project in his office while my mom sat beside us. She always gets frustrated when people are talking near her but not including her. At one point she stopped us and started insisting that we deal with “the people”. And boy was she was serious. My dad has developed a very sweet way of dealing with my mom’s nonsensical conversations. He politely listens and emphatically nods his head and says something like, “You are absolutely right.” or “Definitely, thank  you for the suggestions.” It’s a great technique for pacifying my mom and making her feel included. But for whatever reason last week I looked at my dad as he spoke to my mom and I burst out laughing.  I was mortified but as usual couldn’t help myself. These are my parents but still I don’t want to seem like an ingrate! I jumped up out of my seat and scrambled out of there to avoid a scene.

Around the corner I discreetly pinched myself, took a deep breath, then calmly reentered the room. Lucky for me my parents barely noticed. Phew! The last thing I want to do is make anyone feel self-conscious. I mean what kind of a person laughs at a sick man? Apparently me.


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