The Life of Bon: A case of the giggles

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A case of the giggles

Something weird happened today.

My students have just finished writing research papers. Now they must report their findings to the class.  You know, the good old fashioned 3-5 minute presentation .  I sit in black with my blood red pen and grade everything that comes out of their mouths while they ramble on up front, nervous and sweating profusely.

Today, Jamie, one of my very best students, gave her presentation on the death penalty.  She stated that sometimes those sentenced to the death penalty are killed in rather inhumane and hurtful ways.  For example, the hanging.  She stated that that there can be miscalculations on the weight and pressure, causing the rope to be too forceful and literally snap a person's head off.

Now I don't know why this happened.  I just know that it did.  Right smack in the middle of explaining this brutal effect to the class, Jamie cracked.  Out of the clear blue, she started to laugh.  Jake, the class clown, called her out on it immediately.  "Oh my gosh, Jamie why are you laughing?!  You sicko!"  And the fact that Jamie, the class angel, was laughing, and the fact that Jake, the class clown, was calling her out on it, was too much for me.  I started to laugh, too.  And laugh hard. 

And there we were, Jamie in the front laughing away, me giggling uncontrollably in the back, and the class inbetween us, wondering what in the world was going on.

Jamie attempted to go on with her presentation.  "There are other ways that can be brutal, too.  It's been said that when they use the electric chair, they have seen smoke coming from the person's head..."  Jamie could barely get this part out, breathing deeply and trying to stifle a laugh every two words.  It was more like "They have seen (laugh giggle laugh) smoke (laugh laugh) coming from (giggle giggle) the person's head!" (laugh laugh laugh laugh).

And of course that made me laugh harder.  I don't think death penalties and hangings and electric chairs are funny.  Not at all.  I think they are very serious, in fact.  Very serious.

But, boy was I laughing.

"Jamie!  Stop laughing!  If you stop laughing then I'll stop laughing!" I ordered in a very mean, authoritative, "listen-to-me-I'm-your-teacher-dang-it!" kind of way

Jamie just kept on giggling, "I'm only laughing because you're laughing!"

And then because he wanted to be involved, Class Clown Jake jumped in with a mocking girly voice, "I'm only laughing because you two are laughing!"

And, man oh man, did that set the rest of the class off.  Anybody who wasn't laughing before was laughing now.  The whole class was in an uproar, doubling over, heads in laps, slapping the desks, having trouble breathing.  Laughing away at the thought of some mass murderer having smoke come out of his head in the electric chair.

I knew I should quiet those kids down.  Get them back on task.  Not waste any of their time.  But I just couldn't do it.  So we just kept on laughing.

And that's when I sure love teaching those 16 year old crazy laughing punks. 

I really do.


  1. It's our true nature to be joyful. So in order to preserve our sanity when things get dark and heavy and ugly, sometimes we just have to giggle :)

    Adoring your writing, doll!