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Laughter: Something to die for
HO HO HO! It’s Christmas time, supposedly a time of great cheer and happiness. So why are there so many sad Christmas songs? “Listen Mama, I Want you to Tell Santa Claus,” “The Little Boy that Santa Claus Forgot,” “I’ll be Home for Christmas,” “Blue Christmas,” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” all make my top 10 list of all time sad Christmas songs. As lovely as their melodies are, I immediately change the radio station when I hear them as they certainly dampen my Christmas cheer. I just don’t understand why there are so many popular sad songs at Christmas time. Laughter makes such a difference, and has so many scientifically proven health benefits. In fact, laughter causes the brain to release endorphins, our “feel good” hormones, giving us a sensation of happiness and relaxation. These endorphins are believed to also promote relaxation of the blood vessels, causing them to dilate. This increases blood flow to the tissues supplied by these blood vessels. Endorphins also encourage the lining of the blood vessels to secrete nitric oxide, which has the cardioprotective effects of reducing inflammation and preventing clotting.
I am sure that Trinis laugh a lot. After all, there is no shortage of jokes and bobol to laugh at in Trinidad. As a friend says, “We live in a comedy, yes!” Yes, for true, especially in Trinidad’s “Wide World of Sports,” for sports here is a world unto itself…healthcare as well. I spent the whole year laughing, “HO! HO! HO!” buckling over, holding my stomach with one hand while the other propped me up against a wall, for there were many outstanding incidents that generated hearty hysterics from the depths of my gut. The most memorable and jokey scandals began in April with Ms. Ria Ramnarine unequivocally testing positive for norandrostenedione, a performance-enhancing drug, yet her doctor who prescribed the drug insisted it was to control her periods! HO! HO! HO! What a jokey excuse! Yuh could imagine? Furthermore, the TTBBC seemed to try to cover it up by withholding the report of Ramnarine’s hearing to the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and World Boxing Association (WBA)! Who do they think they are to disregard a worldwide governing body? And do they think WADA and WBA officials are dotish? HO! HO! HO! “O gooooosh!”
Then shortly thereafter, Jack Warner decided he could top the TTBBC scandal. In May FIFA launched an investigation into Mr. Warner, citing allegations of corruption and bribery that dated back to the 1980’s! He got away with it for that long? HO! HO! HO! But at least finally FIFA put their foot down. The bribery and tactics were the topic of numerous media reports and public comments. But what goes around comes around and he finally “get ketch!” HO! HO! HO! And to think that a Google search on “Jack Warner” and “corruption” produces a first hit in Wikipedia! We reach yes! Trinis really reach! HO! HO! HO! Oh gaddoy! In October, after all the big talk and brouhaha about qualifying for the World Cup under a new and foreign coach, the Soca Warriors lost to Guyana who was coached by a Trini! Oh Lord, the irony! HO! HO! HO! Doh kill mih here today! HO! HO! HO! Maybe the lesson here is indeed that Trinidad does have local coaching ability? Or is it that local management is so poor and corrupt that even under foreign coaching our athletes still cannot perform, and our local coaches must seek opportunity to shine elsewhere?
To top it all off, boxing takes centre stage at the Trinidad Comedy Club again, and for this one, I have to sit down because I cannot laugh this hard while standing up! Earlier this month bacchanal broke out when reports surfaced that Buxo Potts’ (Special Advisor to the TTBBC) son apparently got the $1.9 million card over all other promoters who applied, and he claimed it was fair. HO! HO! HO! I guess “nepotism” is not in his dictionary! HO! HO! HO! Oh how my stomach muscles ache! According to media reports, half the TTBBC members were fired because they did not approve of the card. Other reports say that Minister Anil Roberts was dissatisfied with the performance of these Board members. Now the Ministry has made it very clear that no approval was given for the $1.9 million boxing card. It all seems very confusing and disorganised. And ironically enough, all the bacchanal that Minister Roberts used to condemn and mamaguay on his talkshow, Spalk, is now very much a part of his charges. WHAAAAAAAT? HO! HO! HO! Doh kill mih here today nuh!
In fact, laughter can kill you. Indeed, the phrase “ ah dead laughing” comes from the fact that people have died from laughter. Laughter can cause seizures and a loss of postural tone that can result in trauma. Modern day deaths from laughter have occurred. In 1989, Ole Bentzen, a Danish audiologist, died laughing while watching “A Fish Called Wanda.” It was estimated that his heart beat over 250 beats per minute just before he died of cardiac arrest. In another case, a Thai ice-cream salesman died after 2 minutes of continuous laughter, the suspected cause being either asphyxiation or heart failure. I think the sport of boxing wins this year’s medal for “Most Likely to Cause Someone to Die of Laughter.” But in Trinidad’s “Wide World of Sports” you never know who will win the medal next year. Competition is fierce. Football and cricket are close runners-up! But I beg of them to please not make me laugh so hard that I risk dying of laughter, because I am not sure our health care system could handle the case.
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