The night we laughed but no one laughed with us

Patrick has been a staunch supporter of my writing efforts but has never recommended a topic for a blog post.

Until now.

He hinted, “Molly, write about the time we went to that dinner at Jeff’s Catering.”

Our evening of shame

He didn’t need to supply any more details to remind me of our evening of shame.

It all started with an invitation to our financial planner’s annual client appreciation event. We rarely attend these sorts of things, but when we noticed there was a dinner involved that we didn’t have to cook, we sent in our RSVP ASAP.

I’d like to say we sat up front because we are financial planning superstars, but in reality, I forgot something forcing us to return home, and we bagged the last two seats, front and center.

Everything was going well during the salad course. Then servers plunked down the main dish, and a speaker approached the podium, obliging the jovial crowd to curb conversation.

We listened intently as though our financial future depended on grasping every concept when suddenly I noticed a strange sound coming from behind us. It was raspy, rhythmic, and creepy. I performed a subtle Linda Blair head turn to visualize the source of this stridor.

I found myself looking directly into the mouth of one of our fellow diners. Utilizing my nursing assessment skills, I speculated that his visible tonsils might be creating a partial obstruction responsible for the respiratory turbulence.

We shouldn’t have laughed, but we couldn’t stop 

Patrick leaned over to me and whispered, “Who invited Darth Vader?”

His question took me by surprise, and I uttered an audible chuckle.

His shoulders shook.

My eyes watered.

We tried to gain control, but we could not suppress our laughter. We began an endless waltz of “stifle, shake, snort; stifle shake, snort,” punctuated by villainous wheezes.

I went to the bathroom, tilting my tear-streaked face to avoid eye contact with any of the other guests and frantically contracted my pelvic floor muscles to prevent an accident.

When I returned Patrick took his turn, hoping the separation might cure us of our mutual hysteria.

The bathroom incident

Once in the bathroom and standing at the urinal, Patrick decided to take advantage of his alone time to express some of his suppressed laughter. He started with a modest chuckle, which morphed into a giggle, and finally he flung his head back in a liberating guffaw.

He wasn’t sure what relieved him the most; emptying his bladder or laughing unfettered.

An odd sound silenced him, and he slowly turned and saw a shocking sight. Two legs with feet attached. Apparently sitting in a stall.

Rattled, he hustled back to our table before his bathroom mate could follow and identify him as the psychotic man at the urinal.

Meanwhile, we sat through another hour of financial advice accented by thunderous breathing and bursts of forbidden laughter.

We made amends 

When the dinner ended, we felt guilty about going to the dark side with our inappropriate behavior and decided to make amends to our noisy neighbor. We scrawled this on a tear stained napkin and shoved it into his pocket, “Get a referral to an ear, nose, and throat specialist before it’s too late.”

Have you humiliated yourself by laughing in an awkward social setting? What was your experience? How did you get yourself under control?


©2016, Stevens. All rights reserved.

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34 thoughts on “The night we laughed but no one laughed with us

  1. I have to say this is my greatest offense. I’m a big laugher, I laugh at everything. I used to get spanked with a belt for laughing at night with my cousin. I used to get grounded for laughing at my three year old brother who tripped over a trailer hitch and landed face first in the asphalt. I used to grow most embarrassed about my random laughter in complete silence. The pleasant memory of something hilarious. People would cast glances, but now I’ve finally hit a point where I don’t care.

    “what’s so funny” my brother-in-law will ask as we sit between sets at a Jay-Z concert.

    “Something that happened 8 years ago.” And I smile proudly, satisfied at my pleasure. 🙂

  2. Loved hearing about the experience, Molly! My husband and I laugh at the oddest things together which makes me think that our sense of humor must just adapt to each other over years of marriage! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Loved this story story, Molly! Made me recall my embarrassing one…

    Walking my dogs, Budleigh and Brisby, we passed the home of our new neighbors, whom I hadn’t met. Budleigh had already…uh…relieved himself on another lawn. I was carrying that in a knotted bag when those new neighbors – a young couple and 10-year-old son – appeared. Rather than climbing in their car, they came out to introduce themselves.

    I don’t know why – maybe out of worry that they’d think my dog had pooped on their lawn – I hid the bag behind me. But the young man reached out to shake hands. Leashes in my left hand, a poop bag hidden in my right, I awkwardly delayed taking his hand.

    “I’m sorry,” I said, finally revealing my hand. “I don’t usually greet people with dog poop.” Then I giggled. Then I sorta kept giggling. They smiled, though I suspect they were wondering how quickly they could get their house back on the market.

    That’s when Brisby pooped. They stared. I laughed. And I kept laughing. Even as I bagged it, I kept laughing. Then their son, staring intently at Brisby, said, “Can I pet your dog?”

    “If you still want to,” I managed.

    Oddly, we are all still friends.

  4. Haha! Although I think it would’ve been an even more shocking sight if Patrick had spied 2 feet with NO legs attached, don’t you think? 😉 This was hilarious, and this weekend I am going to my own financial seminar (prime-rib!!) and if anyone dares to breathe even slightly funny and I lose it, you’re taking the blame Molly!

  5. Omg that was hilarious Molly. We all have had a situation at some time or other where we can’t contain our laughter in a place where we shouldn’t be LOLing. But human nature seems to be that the more we shouldn’t the more we can’t help ourselves. 🙂

  6. Even if it was true that laughter is the best medicine (which I DO know is true), why does it always make its debut at the most inopportune times? I have had that uncontrollable laughter come over me in weird places and it is the eye-watering, warp-speed giggle that never ends, and if it does, it comes right back. I still can’t believe you put a “go to the doctor” napkin in his pocket! LOLLL!

    • I know, Terri. Laughter is so therapeutic, except when it is so inappropriate. The forbidden laughter is so hard to control and so delicious! Hey, somebody had to save that poor man!

  7. The advice on a napkin – oh my goodness! Bold move, but geez. I guess somebody had to do it! Very funny, Molly! I would have been in big trouble (accident-wise) because who would anticipate the need for an extra-strength panti-liner at a dinner hosted by a financial planner?

  8. This post made me giggle out loud. There are sooo many times when I have been unable to control laughter. It is slightly embarrassing at the time but makes your world sunnier…

  9. This I haven’t done-yet. But I embarrassed myself once getting out of church, when my trousers which I had up with strings( like pajamas) fell off in front of a crowd.Luckily I had long underwear under. So nothing was lost except some of my dignity.
    I am glad you escaped unscathed.

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