Thalia is my Homegirl

Image of Aaron Hurd getting laughs from some Irish schoolteachers during a tour of Belfast, Northern Ireland in May 2011 (image by C. Hurd)

Thalia is my Homegirl

By Crystal Hurd

You want to win me over quickly? Make me laugh.

I grew up in a family that loves laughing. The story goes that my mother and father worked at a local burger joint as teenagers. My father was always making jokes to keep everyone smiling on a long shift. And in doing so, he swiftly stole my mom’s heart.

So it should come as no surprise that when I was looking for a husband, I privileged “sense of humor” as a very desirable quality. I wanted someone who could make me laugh. Laughter, to me, is coupled with joy and I wanted to revel in joy as much as possible.* When I met my husband, Aaron Hurd, through mutual friends, the first aspect I noticed was his laugh (in addition to his dashing good looks!). He had an infectious laugh and he loved making others chuckle. I fell hard for him.

So the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

This isn’t an uncommon phenomenon. Science proves that laughing will help you live longer and be healthier. Multiple studies have boasted about the life-giving benefits of laughing. Laughing releases endorphins into the brain, which makes us “feel good.” That is great news for many of us, as laughing is a proven stress-reliever. Perhaps that’s why we love those syndicate reruns of Seinfeld after a long day at work or make memes about the struggles we experience at our jobs. We have to turn it into something positive or the negative in life will certainly wash us out to sea.

And humor helps us accomplish that.

A friend of mine recently introduced me to the works of Jasper Fforde. Fforde writes humorous detective novels. For me, it’s like doubling the “awesomeness.” Mystery AND humor? Sign me up. I read Nancy Drew as a kid, and graduated to Dean Koontz and the wonderful Dorothy L. Sayers as an adult. Sayers plants some wonderful humor in her books and like Sayers, Jasper Fforde’s work is a special treat. Another great literary blend of humor? The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Adams wanted to blend science-fiction and humor and the result is hilarious.

Think about your favorite writers. Usually they are so good at their craft that they can write humorous characters (like Shakespeare’s famous “clown” in his tragedies) who add spice to the plotline. Humor reminds us that the world maybe isn’t so bad after all. It urges us to celebrate all that is lovely and uplifting and find the joy that often gets suffocated by our obligations. It may even cause us to laugh at ourselves which is a brave and glorious thing to do. Thalia is always welcome at my home, in my relationships, and in my literature.

*When I say “laughter,” I refer to good-natured humor, not cruel, rude, or derogatory jokes.

*****

Dr. Crystal Hurd is a writer, reader, public school educator, and adjunct professor. She is happily married with three beautiful Terriers (adopted from local shelters). She is a certified book nerd who loves to read and research works involving faith, literature, art, and leadership. You can visit her webpage www.crystalhurd.com , friend her on Facebook, (Crystal Sullivan Hurd) and follow her on Twitter: @DoctorHurd and @hurdofficial.

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