Young Woman Biting Her Finger Nail’Tis the season to be . . . blorft. “Blorft”is an adjective coined by funny lady Tina Fey in her autobiographical comedy book Bossypants to mean “completely overwhelmed but trying to proceed as if everything is fine.” In the mad dash that precedes the holidays, there are a lot of blorft people out there. Mustering seasonal cheer can be especially challenging when you’re coping with stress, illness or loss. Sometimes all you long to receive is a reprieve. That’s where the gift of laughter comes in.

I’ve been “Missing in Action” from this blog because we’ve faced more than our share of health challenges in recent months. My mother broke her hip and then my husband (a.k.a. Kayak Guy) required numerous separate cardiac procedures (the last one of which appears—thankfully—to have succeeded!). Simultaneously, a few of our dear friends and relatives were also confronted with serious issues and/or illnesses. While attempting to navigate these personal challenges and support others, I learned over and over again how the gift of laughter can lift the heart and lighten the load.

Christmas giftA good belly laugh is a reprieve—a sort of mini-vacation from our cares and concerns. It’s all about releasing endorphins. As with any exercise, laughter releases endorphins as we convulse our internal organs. Endorphins mask pain. At least temporarily, they help human beings regain their equilibrium. What better gift to give to someone who is struggling than the gift of laughter?

If you need a last-minute gift of “funny” for someone who’s feeling “blorft” (or worse), here are a few of my favourite reads to consider (in addition to Tina Fey’s Bossypants):

Susan Juby’s The Woefield Poultry Collective

Jonathan Goldstein’s I’ll Seize the Day Tomorrow

Mark Leiren-Young’s Never Shoot a Stampede Queen

Joseph Kertes’s Winter Tulips

Cassie Stocks’s Dance, Gladys Dance

… and anything by Terry Fallis, Stuart McLean or Will Ferguson. In fact, you can’t go far wrong with any title  from the Leacock Medal for Humour list.

And there’s always my own comical Beaver Bluff: The Librarian Stories. I donated a copy of Beaver Bluff to Heart House in Victoria, B.C.—our home away from home during one of Kayak Guy’s hospitalizations this past October. I know others are now sitting in that sunny living room, just as I did then, trying to wait out the worrisome hours during a loved one’s surgery. I hope my gift of laughter gives each of those readers a small reprieve and an endorphin boost for the journey ahead.

Laughter is still the best medicine. I hope you’ll share some with those in need of it this Christmas!

P.S. Which book, author, TV show or actor always gets you laughing? Please help me lengthen this “emergency laugh list” for our future reference.

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