Laughter, it is said, is the best form of medicine – and you don’t need a prescription and it doesn’t come in bottles or boxes.
A hearty roar, a chortle or just a giggle can, it seems, do wonders for our physical and mental health and well-being.
So much so, that Saturday has been officially declared Scotland’s Big Laugh Day. Apparently it began a few years ago and was founded by, among others, Dr Suzanne Zeedyk, and has the full support of the Scottish Government.
Dr Zeedyk is director of Connected Baby and says that for children, laughter creates trust in the people who laugh with them. It’s difficult to disagree that children who giggle and laugh are happy.
And it shouldn’t stop when nappies give way to short trousers and then long trousers, and bus passes and pension books.
The author of the following is unknown: “Sometimes I laugh so hard that the tears run down my leg.”
Abraham Lincoln, one of the founding fathers of modern America, admitted: “With the fearful strain that is on me night and day, if I did not laugh I should die.”
Lincoln was assassinated while watching a farce called Our American Cousin, by English playwright Tom Taylor. History records that he didn’t die laughing.
But experts agree that laughing is indeed – if not the best – a fine form of medicine. It is recorded, I can’t recall by whom, that: “Laughing is found to lower blood pressure, reduce stress hormones, increase muscle flexion and boost immune function by raising levels of infection-fighting T-cells, disease-fighting proteins called Gamma-interferon and B-cells which produce disease-destroying antibodies.
“Laughter also triggers release of endorphins – the body’s natural painkillers – and produces a general sense of well-being.”
And you get all that medicine without having to battle for an appointment at your local health centre.
Talking of which, I was at the bowl-hole of mine the other day when a doctor came rushing through and collided with the edge of a table. The staff laughed, and I joked about whether he would manage to get an appointment. The laughter was short-lived. But he’s OK.
But bring on the humour – the Scottish variety. Jock was asked why he called his father The Exorcist. Jock replied it was because when he came to visit the spirits disappeared.
Or the wee lad who told his mum he was going to play a husband in the school play. She told him to go back and say he wanted a speaking part.
There is the advert that appeared in a Scottish weekly newspaper: “Lost £5 – sentimental value.”
There will be fun and laughter in Selkirk this weekend – on Sunday. It’s the day of the Great Selkirk Haggis Hunt when around 250 adults and bairns will search The Hill for the elusive chieftains. Open to all – meet in the Market Place for an 11.02am start. Wear tartan and bring a baggie net.
I wish Scotland’s Big Laugh Day all the very best and as I wander around, I expect to hear the jokes and the laughter, and watch the tears running down – the cheeks.