Isn’t it funny sometimes how seemingly benign words or actions can crack people up? Although I usually can be level-headed and just snicker or chuckle at something that I find funny, occasi0nally there are things which just make me laugh incessantly.
The first time I remember this happening was in my second-grade class. During Mrs. Moen’s reading of a story (I don’t recall the actual story, though), she used the word “backfire” and also the phrase “snooze button.” Those seem like fairly mundane words, but for whatever reason, I found them absolutely hilarious. Now and again, those words will cause me to laugh, but not in the same way as 18 years ago (GEEZ LAWEEZ!)
Sometimes, it’s tripped by actions combined with words. During my junior year at UNL, I was in Psychology 350, and during the “attrition” lecture, several things went wrong for Dr. Garbin. At one point, he tried to work with the projector to bring down the second one in the room, but instead turned off and brought up the first one. As he muttered, “Nononono! [Expletive.] <Students burst into laughter, and I nearly fall out of my chair, I thought it was so funny!> Now I’ll have to wait five minutes before the damn thing comes on…”
Or, it may be an action. During my first year at Northwestern, I went to SPG Improv’s open practices every Thursday. One game that we tried at practice was “X-words expert,” where each person can only talk in lines of x words apiece (where x was usually a number between 3 and 7). The scene was the kitchen of a pizza parlor, and the scene was going nowhere, so we had the “Scene Grenade” thrown at it to blow it up. I was involved with that scene, and rather than getting angry that it got blown up, I started laughing so hard that I had a hard time catching my breath!
I know I am not the only one possibly vulnerable to this, and it must be somewhat context-dependent. It even happens in TV shows. See the case of Family Feud where the question was, “Name the month where a woman looks most pregnant,” and the contestant’s answer was “September” (instead of an ordinal number), and Richard Dawson went absolutely nuts. It happens also frequently on Whose Line, especially when a scene blows up. Well, I suppose that relates to my grenade example!