In spite of the sub-zero cold, at least one reader in Minnesota continues to keep his spirits up. “If you smile while reading this,” he writes, “please rise to the occasion and pass it on to someone having a crumby day and kneading a lift.”
I’d say we all do, Chuck. Thanks for your take on this old familiar news story:
“Sad news from Minnesota: The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and trauma complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 75.
Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, Betty Crocker and Captain Crunch. Proof of his popularity was that Doughboy’s gravesite was piled high with many flours.”
Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy and lovingly described Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded. Born and raised in Minnesota, Doughboy rose quickly in show business but his later life was filled with turnovers. He was not considered a very smart cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes.
Despite being a little flaky at times, he was still a crusty old man and was considered a positive roll model for millions.
Doughboy is survived by his wife, Play Dough, three children: John Dough, Jane Dough and Dosey Dough, plus one bun in the oven. Doughboy is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart.
Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. The funeral was held at 3:50 for about 20 minutes.”
Chuckles and laughter do more than make us smile. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones,” wrote the wise man Solomon in his book of Proverbs. Modern researchers agree that humor helps relieve stress, improves digestion and can even strengthen our immune system.
How important is a cheerful chuckle? One study that involved almost 21,000 Japanese men and women found that those who laughed at least once a day had a significantly lower risk of heart disease than those who never or almost never laughed. These results stood even after consideration of other risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, depression and weight.
Like a healthful diet, a daily dose of humor might be just what we need. Indeed, it’s been reported that Pope Francis prays this prayer for good humor each day:
Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest.
Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it.
Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good
and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil,
but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.
Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments,
nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.”
Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor.
Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy,
and to be able to share it with others.
Barbara Quinn is a registered dietitian nutritionist affiliated with the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. She is the author of “Quinn-Essential Nutrition: The Uncomplicated Science of Eating.” Email her at email@example.com.