We are experiencing a painful and difficult time in the world’s history. I recently thought of something I learned as a teenager: Difficult times will come and go, and there is often little we can do about it except partaking of one of life’s best medicines.

In October 1965, when I was 17 years old, my maternal grandfather passed away. Opa Gelder was 73 years old and had been in ill health for most of the years I had known him.

He was the first of my grandparents to die. I had attended funerals before but none for someone as close as my grandfather. After the funeral our large family gathered in my grandmother’s small house. We all crowded into the living room; I remember sitting on the floor as there were no chairs available.

My grandmother was grief-stricken. She had married Opa when she was 16, and I had observed a tender, loving relationship over the years I knew them.

As we sat in the living room, Oma quietly weeping, her children shared memories of their father. Then one of my uncles told a funny story from his childhood. I was aghast. My grandmother was grieving and someone was telling a silly story.

I noticed, however, that my grandmother had begun to laugh. Then an aunt told another funny story about their childhood and my grandmother laughed some more.

Soon others joined in and the heaviness of the day lifted.

That was when I understood that verse in the Bible’s Book of Proverbs: “A merry heart doeth good like a medicine.” Surely there are times when laughter is inappropriate, but at the appropriate time and in a suitable setting laughter has a wonderful healing power.

During these days of isolation, inconvenience, illness and even bereavement, there are indeed times when laughter is and will be inappropriate. At other times, however, laughter is what will help us through these circumstances.

To that end, I share a few of the funniest things I have read or heard about the mess we’re in.

  • I used to spin the toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe.
  • Every few days try on your jeans just to make sure they still fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.
  • My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet.
  • Day six of homeschooling: My child just said, “I hope I don’t have the same teacher next year.” I’m offended.
  • I’m so excited it’s time to take out the garbage. What to wear, what to wear?
  • Day two without sports: Found a young lady sitting on my couch yesterday. Apparently she’s my wife. She seems nice.
  • Thirty days hath September, April, June and November, all the rest have 31 except March which has 8,000!
  • Who else ate all their quarantine snacks in one night?
  • On a T-shirt: I survived the great toilet paper shortage of 2020.
  • Got a letter that says I’m an essential employee. Got a paycheck that says I’m not.
  • First time in history we can save the human race by sitting in front of the television and doing nothing. Let’s not screw this up!
  • In Germany they are preparing for the crisis by stocking up on sausage and cheese. That’s the wurst käse scenario.
  • The buttons on my jeans have started social distancing from each other.
  • We are about three weeks away from knowing everyone’s true hair color.
  • They said that a mask and gloves were enough to go to the supermarket. They lied, everyone else has clothes on.

There. Do you feel a little better now? Laughter really is a good medicine. Partake often and generously.


Arvid Huisman began writing Country Roads 32 years ago, and today the column appears in several Iowa newspapers. He can be contacted at huismaniowa@gmail.com.