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The Important Uses of Yawns and Laughs

By LC Van Savage

      There are a number of things you can do to help get through painfully boring meetings. You probably know most of them, if meetings are your forte, or if your continued employment depends on attending lots of them. You know, there actually is a population of folks out there who love to actually attend meetings. Any meetings. They're the same people who randomly attend weddings and funerals of people they've never met. They also send away for absolutely anything that’s offered for free and seem to suffer from assorted forms of compulsive behavior. Hey. Different streaks.

      But anyway, when you're at a meeting and things begin to drag, and the whole ordeal is becoming a molasses in January thing and the old eyelids are dragging down and down, your head is falling backwards, your mouth is falling open and someone--who??--has let out a tiny but distinct snore (that would be you) then folks, so that you look at least partially alert, it's time you begin looking about the room and making note of people's habits. It may keep you awake just long enough to get you through the ordeal, and if it’s an evening meeting, stagger to your car, get home and grope for the remote control.

      There are two main ways to get you through those from-hell meetings;yawning and laughing. Let's start with laughs. Normally at these deadly boring meetings, people aren't laughing much, but surely in your lifetime you've seen someone laugh, and you've probably made a mental record of their laugh-style. So, to keep yourself from falling face-first into your lap, look around and try imagining those laugh styles on the other meeting attendees.

      One example is a person who shuts her eyes, turns her head to the side and whickers softly. Another is where someone throws her head back, flinging her jaws wide to a width where her tonsils can be easily seen by anyone, but never utters a sound! Weird.

      I've always liked the laugh that's so robust and out of control that if actuated while dining, food squirts straight out of the nose. (When we were kids, it was always milk, right?)

      How about the people who always put one of their hands up to cover a laugh? A clue to this behavior is their life-long habit of saying, "Me? See a dentist? You crazy? You think I'm gonna give any of my money to wunna them thieves?" Evidently not.

      And then there's the laugher who laughs quietly, but finishes each ripple of mirth with a shattering snort, followed by more snorts, each one seconds longer than its predecessor.

      How about the guy who laughs heartily and punctuates his hilarity by delivering a violent slap on A. his thigh, or B. your back. I suspect these men may have some hostility issues.

      Let us not forget the very most gross, which is when the laugher again throws his head back, and with jaws spread wide, allows us the rush of seeing every filling he's ever had ground in since he got his second teeth.

      See? The meeting is becoming more bearable by the minute as you consider people's risible propensities, their whinnies, guffaws, snickers, giggles, chortles, boomers, peals, horse and belly laughs.

      But--the meeting is still slogging on. OK, you're done with laughter, so onto yawning habits.

      Think about the woman who is certain no one notices she's hiding a majorly huge yawn. She doesn't open her mouth at all, her jaw drops down, her lips strain to keep together, her eyes squint and water, her nostrils flare, her chest heaves outward and her head leans back.And all the time she struggles to maintain eye contact and a straight face, trying to be polite by not openly yawning in front of you. Well raised, she fears if she's caught yawning outright, you'll think she's bored. This yawner has convinced herself that no one can detect her small chicanery. Honey, yeah, we can.

      How about the guy who really doesn't give a hoot and stretches his jaws wide apart, like those films of wild lions yawning in the sun after a gigantic Zebra banquet for himself and family, and allows us to put our curiosity to rest by finally learning for sure that in fact he does have a full set of dentures. Like who cares, but does it occur to this guy to ever cover his mouth?Apparently not.

      My most personal favorite yawner is the man, (it's usually a man) who loudly sucks in a mighty yawn, holds it in for a full minute and then expels it with enormous joie de vivre, the expulsion accompanied by a thunderous roar. Now that yawn's fun.

      See?The droney meeting is now nearly over and you've managed to look sharply attentive throughout.

      Uh oh. Someone's just asked you for your opinion on the meeting’s agenda. At this juncture, fainting would be prudent.

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