The other day, I read an EW interview with Patrick Stewart, where he discussed how it was with the cast at the beginning of TNG. According to Stewart, most of the TNG cast were unknowns, including him, and there was an article about TNG describing him as an “unknown British Shakespearean actor,” so Brent Spiner put a notice on his door that said, “Beware: Unknown British Shakespearean Actor.”
For some reason, this part of the interview led to paroxysms of hysterics on my part. I couldn’t stop laughing for about ten minutes straight. By the end of it, my stomach hurt and tears were streaming down my face, but I was still feeling good. A good laugh is sometimes just what you need. I never know when something is going to tickle my funny bone like that. It happens maybe once every month or two months, I just get started and can’t stop.
At its best, all I ever need to know is the laughter. But sometimes my body gets confused. The way your face contorts and your body shakes, and with tears streaming down your cheeks, laughing and crying aren’t so biologically far apart, so at its worst, sometimes I slip from hysterical laughing to hysterical crying. Unfortunately, this can last even longer. I think I’ve been inconsolable for twenty additional minutes after laughing uncontrollably. And usually I’m just sitting there sobbing and wondering what the hell I’m crying about and what I did to deserve this. Inside, I’m perfectly fine, but you wouldn’t know it to look at me at the time.
And the most annoying part is that I never go the other direction. You hear about people laughing until they cry, but how often do you hear about someone crying until they laugh? Whenever I start in tears, my body doesn’t get confused and make me giggle. I start in tears and end in tears, period.
It just doesn’t seem fair, especially since I need the laughter in the tears more than I need the tears in the laughter. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes seek tears out through emotional TV shows or movies, if just to remind myself that I can cry during those times I feel numb.
I was a very happy child. Laughter was my signature. Things changed. But you’d think someone with as easy a sense of humor as I have would laugh more often. I guess I keep chasing that old joy. As baffling as my funny-bone moments can be, they still tickle me. Like I’m the same person I used to be sometimes. Bring it on, King Laugh. Bring. It. On.