Monday, January 07, 2008

The Giggles

I find myself slouched in a vinyl library chair, hand to my mouth in an attempt to prevent their escape. It's inevitable, really, once they start. You read a line and it makes you smile to yourself. An inward smile that soon shows itself on the outside. The scene in the book doesn't end, though, it keeps getting funnier and funnier. The smile grows to a grin, which is awkward enough. To sit by yourself, grinning foolishly at a book, in public, seems a little undignified.
And then.
You can't contain it.
Oh, you can try. Cheeks stretched about as far as they can go in that grin that just won't die, you try to keep the laugh inside. But it won't be kept. The more you try the stranger your facial expressions become. It will twist your lips into something resembling a grimace and bring tears to your eyes. If you're like me, you start to get red and hot, because keeping a laugh inside is hard work.
Eventually part of it escapes, and it comes out like an embarrassed little sound. Not a sneeze or a cough, but more of a squeak. And then that seems funny, which just pushes you over the edge.
You have to laugh. Not just a chuckle, but a full burst-out-loud-laugh-till-there's-no-sound-coming-out-just-silently-shaking kind of thing.
Or you primly find your bookmark, place it, and put your book away, desperately thinking unfunny thoughts. Put your coat on and wander the shelves, feigning interest in all manner of books while you try to forget one of the funniest pieces of writing you've ever read.

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