I am grateful for card shops, the ones that stock their shelves and racks with laughter, shops like Le Tablier Blanc in downtown Toronto.
“I laughed so hard my water broke …. and I’m not even pregnant”. A story goes with those words, words I recently found inside in the card shop I just mentioned. Let me explain.
Le Tablier Blanc was a card shop on College Street in Toronto. My friend Allison and I were out for lunch, having a catch-up as old friends do, never running out of stories to share, making plans for future stories. On our walk back we popped into Le Tablier Blanc a few blocks from Allison’s home. “We are closing,” the proprietor said. Not closing as in the end of the business day, but the end of business literally. He welcomed us in and I felt a jab in my heart that someone had to close down their dream, had to re-start their plans for the future.
Allison and I started reading cards and before many seconds had passed the laughter started. I couldn’t stop. Every card was funnier than the previous and I laughed until I could hardly get my breath. I tried to stop so as not to disturb other shoppers, but they began laughing along with me as we are inclined to do, without invitation or purpose, when we encounter someone in the throws of uncontrollable levity. I bought a few cards and thanked the man behind the counter for not throwing me out of his establishment for disturbing the peace and thanked him for allowing me such a delicious adventure with laughter, for replenishing my stores of endorphins.
As I turned to leave he dashed down the basement and returned with a stack of about forty cards that he stuffed into a bag for me and handed it to me with a big smile on his face. “So you can keep laughing for the rest of the day”. I was stunned by his generous kindness, stopped in my tracks before thanking him and wishing him well. Then I most certainly did laugh for the rest of the day.
Some of the cards he gave me were just too funny to describe and some of them I know of no one I could send them to, but they were all beyond funny. And when I was done laughing, which of course one should never be done doing, I felt physically better. It always surprises me what a good laugh can do to all parts of me, inside and out. I visualized germs running for cover as the silly and happy surged through my body boosting my immune system. Laughter relieves stress and tension and allows muscles to relax for forty-five minutes after. I was a noodle walking home, the human living version of play dough.
Maybe there should be a card shop on every corner. Maybe we should have laughing stations throughout the travels in our day so we can greet our problems and challenges with new energy. Maybe I could start a franchise and laugh my way to personal wealth. Nah. I’ll just keep laughing.