on laughing

I’m a laugher. Everyone who knows me, knows that I laugh often, and it doesn’t take much. Laughter carries many benefits, including a stronger immune system and a greater pain threshold (or so say some “studies.”)

But it also carries some downfalls — including being inappropriately loud and laughing when no one else finds whatever happened funny (which can be weird). And then there is the full on embarrassment from laughing — like what happened to me at a small party I went to on Saturday in S.’s one-bedroom apartment in Dupont Circle.

I was drinking port out of a small plastic cup that S. had put out next to blue cheese and crackers. It looked like I was either drinking the Blood of Christ at church or cough medicine. At about 1 a.m., a group of us were trying to rally to go to the dive bar Stetsons. One guy was considering opening another bottle of wine — so O., this guy and I had an extensive conversation about whether this was really a good idea. Another guy, J., came over and said, “No, don’t do it.” So O. looked at wine guy and said: “What, are you not man enough?”

It may not seem funny to most people, but the comment was so unexpected and machismo — and it caught me at the right moment.

I was mid-sip when I laughed, spewing the port out of my mouth. Except as I spit it out, I swung my head downward and the port sprayed my face. I had port on my forehead, my cheeks and my eyelashes. I couldn’t open my eyes. “Uh, guys, I need some help here,” I said, my head bowed down as someone ran to the kitchen and got a paper towel so I could blot it off. O. said later that for a moment he thought someone had jabbed me in the nose it looked so much like blood. Oh, no. It was just the port that I spit all over myself.

My roommate is a laugher, too. I’ve already made her snarf twice, and we’ve only been roommates for about 10 months. Once every five months is a pretty strong average. She didn’t even know the what the word “snarf” meant before she met me. Of course, my definition is the slang version. For those who may have never heard it, this is from urbandictionary.com: “Snarf — when one is eating and is provoked by something funny, which causes them to laugh and expel said food out of nasal passages; may also come out of mouth. Also applies to liquids.”

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