Wednesday, July 29, 2009

secret 29 - the giggle loop

we were watching the BBC series coupling the other night. i can see those episodes over and over again and never ever tire of them--it's just so witty, well-written and well-acted. and like seinfeld, they have a lot of phrases that enter our vocabulary around here.

the other day, the madman jeff introduced the concept of the giggle loop. be warned, to know of the giggle loop is to become part of the giggle loop. what it is is the notion that during a very somber moment, where the last thing you should do is giggle, you will strongly desire to giggle. the desire will grow and you will burst out laughing at a totally inappropriate moment.

but best to let jeff explain:



and it reminded me of my very first encounter with the giggle loop. i must have been five or six and i was with my mom at her aunt jessie's funeral. i have a very clear picture of the vestibule outside of the church, the brownish 70s carpeting on the floor, the casket there with aunt jessie in it, looking quite still and unreal. i was probably too little to entirely understand and although i knew aunt jessie, i was also too little to really know what being dead meant. so i spied a water fountain, just a few feet away from the body, down the hallway, and began telling mom i was thirsty.

i just wanted to go over to the warm hum of the water fountain, step up on the step stool and taste the cold water. so mom took me over there and held me up, because i couldn't reach, even with the stool. we turned on the water and i bent to drink. but like many of those water fountains in the 70s, the water came on weakly at first and then suddenly spurted out full force. it sprayed me in the face and i cried out in surprise.

mom tried to shush me and preserve some decorum, but she had entered the giggle loop. she said she began to think of how aunt jessie would have loved that comic scene. and later said she half-expected her to sit up in her coffin and clap her hands with delight. and she and grandma stifled their laughs there in that hallway before going on into the chapel. i think they managed to hold the giggle loop in check until in the car on the way home, when i recall them laughing about the moment 'til they cried.

have you ever had a giggle loop?

15 comments:

Char said...

laughter through tears is my favorite emotion (steel magnolias)

Sara said...

Funny, we also had our giggle loop at a funeral. My uncle Jack was a loud man who loved to laugh and was somewhat irreverant. At his funeral one of the bearers tripped and nearly dropped him. Then we ran out of kleenex and someone handed the widow a roll of toilet paper. And suddenly a dozen of us were laughing/crying because we knew it was exactly the kind of funeral he would have wanted while other attendees who hadn't known him as well looked on in horror.

CatLadyLarew said...

Funerals and other somber church services seem to be the best for giggle loops. I remember the first time I took Vlad to church (he was 2) and he stood up in the pew and started shouting out "A penis is for peeing!" Enter the giggle loop for my friend Julie and I!

Bill Stankus said...

Ditto the church funeral giggle. The scene - it was 8th or 9th grade - and a classmate's father died so the entire class HAD to go to the service. We were standing in a typical Catholic school formation - all in a nice row outside the church. The hearse pulled up and parked next to a sign "Loading Zone". Someone, maybe me, tho I'm now unsure of the culprit explained in a loud voice, "LOADING ZONE!" and we all started laughing - the nuns got mad and shushed us but that made us laugh-giggle- choke giggle even more. Everything went downhill from there.

The Redhead Riter said...

I love laughing!

I'm Kim, by the way said...

Ah, there are few things better than the exquisite pain of supressed laughter!

Jennifer Morrison said...

One time, my grandmother came to visit me when my daughter (now 26) was about a year old. My mother, my grandmother's "ex daughter in law" was also visiting.

My grandma, always a creative person, had discovered "faux fur" and had been sewing things with it. She made my daughter a little white faux fur coat and muff. Then she pulled out a faux leopard fur jacket that she made for my aunt. Since my mother was about the same size as my aunt, she asked her to try it on to see how it looked.

Now, my mother is a real animal lover, and only ever dresses in natural fibres and generally simply. BUT, she is also someone who is very respectful of others, particularly her ex-mother in law, and thus she obliged my grandma and tried on the faux fur leopard jacket.

(The giggle loop has returned - not sure if I can finish the story - will try.)

Well, my mother tried on the jacket and instantly my sister and I had to retire to the kitchen to suppress explosive fits of what we hoped were silent giggles. We managed, sort of, but immediately on returning to the living room, and seeing our animal loving, but ever respectful mother in that faux leopard jacket, had to retreat back to the kitchen to ride out the giggle loop (read: double over in silent [we hoped] laughter.

To this day, we wonder how our mother survived the moment.

Thanks for reminding me of the memory.

And thanks for reminding me of "Coupling." Not many shows make me laugh out loud like that one.

Heather said...

This is probably on of the best episodes of Coupling, and thats really saying something! It's a shame it had such a short run!

Eternally Distracted said...

Giggle loops inevitably become moments of hysteria the moment someone dares to whisper 'don't laugh' ... Why do people say such things when you are almost at the point of peeing yourself?!!

spudballoo said...

Fantastic secret...at school I was a hopeless giggle looper, normally during concerts/assemblies/lessons with terrifying teachers etc...

Haven't had that feeling for the longest time, I miss gulping back the giggles...

Kim said...

WOW - another Coupling fan. I loved (and can possibly quote vertabim) the first 3 series. Jeff is priceless and definitely has a very different way of looking at life!

Esmerelda said...

Love the giggle loop....

Cyndy said...

“A smile starts on the lips, A grin spreads to the eyes, A chuckle comes from the belly; But a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around." Carolyn Birmingham

Maybe that is why it is so hard to resist when caught in the giggle loop ~ bubbles!

Ah, there is NOTHING like a good laugh, nothing...

BiancaOfNYC said...

I love Coupling! Once you even have the idea about a giggle loop in your head, it is hard to not laugh yourself to tears.

Optimistic Pessimist said...

i love the giggle loop...although it always seems to hit me when I'm in a church (which isn't very often).