06 August 2010

'What a Wonderful World' always makes me chuckle

Like most people, I love a good laugh.  But do most people sometimes find themselves unable to turn the laughter off?  I do.  Something will get me going and I will laugh and laugh and laugh ... until I have a coughing fit, choke, or -let's be honest- wet myself.  Sometimes, all three.

I hope my good friend Dani is reading because if she is, she will be saying, "You've got that right.  I remember the time in third year Sign Language lectures when..."

I think it was our third year at University when we spent a term learning some basic Australian Signed English. During the term, we'd learned a lot of vocabulary and we'd also been preparing to videotape our class signing (not singing) to Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World."  I remember practicing the signs during the classes as well as afterwards when I was back in my college dorm room, usually joined by a particular sign-loving student of Urban & Regional Planning.

On our final day of classes we stood up behind our desks, preparing to be videotaped as we signed to the song, just as we'd practiced.  Perhaps my main concern at that stage was that I might forget some of the signs or get lost during the song.  But I was soon to find out that there was another notable way I could disgrace myself in the class video.

Soon after the song started, the absurdity of being one of 56 students standing up behind their desks in a classroom doing sign language to Louis Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World" hit me as being utterly hilarious.

I smiled.  I smirked.  I grinned, and did that funny thing where you try to use your grinning muscles to pull your face back into "deadpan" but end up failing miserably.

I giggled.  I laughed.  I totally cracked up and tried to wipe away the tears without anyone noticing.

I looked at Dani beside me.  She was signing the song flawlessly, smiling quizzically but deliberately not meeting my eye.

Now instead of laughing at "Practically Nothing" I was laughing at the sheer insanity of being one student among 56 standing behind a desk signing to Louis Armstrong observing skies of blue and clouds of white while being videotaped and finding it so funny that she was laughing and couldn't control herself.

As Mr Armstrong remarked on friends shaking hands, saying How do you do?' I realised I was ruining the video.  This made me laugh harder to the point where my facial muscles were quite out of control.  I decided there was no way to salvage my dignity but to duck down under the desk and try to compose myself.  Once under the desk, I laughed like a madwoman at the situation I found myself in: one person crouched under a desk in a class of 55 serious signing people, cackling hysterically because it was so funny that I couldn't stop laughing because I'd found something (what?) funny in the first place.

From that position, I realised there was no dignified way to emerge with a tear-streaked face from below a desk and rejoin one's classmates in front of the video camera as if nothing had happened.

I was a fool.  I tried it anyway.

As I stood up and rejoined Dani, it dawned on me that materializing from below the desk was more ridiculous than everything else I'd done since Louis had reported on the trees of green and red roses too.  I laughed so hard I was practically weeping.  After briefly considering ducking straight back down under the desk, I decided that doing so may just disqualify me from graduating or something.  I was left to snigger away to myself while attempting to sign a few 'What a Wonderful Worlds' as the music died away and my classmates stared at me in disbelief.

Sorry, Dani.  I have no explanation.

But as I guess you can imagine, every time I hear Louis Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World," I giggle a little bit.


Libby said...

LOL hilarious! This is so me. I do the same thing. Sometimes after a laughing attack, I find myself laughing about the same thing hours after the fact. Thanks for the great laugh today!

Hippomanic Jen said...

Now you have ME suffering with a coughing attack.

We were just talking about long posts can be hilarious, although short posts are generally better. This is definitely a 'ilarious long post.

Hippomanic Jen said...

Hey, you should post the footage!

Ro Magnolia said...

Oh this so funny, I actually laughed so hard when I read it that I ended up weeping myself. I can totally picture myself doing EXACTLY the same thing. And yes, I agree with Hippomanic Jen, your public demands that we actually get to see the footage. :D

Crazy Sister said...

I think it's a type of hysteria. I suffered the same fate in the movies watching "Analyse This" with my school friends once. It was the scene where Billy Crystal has rear-ended a mobster car and the boot(trunk) has flipped up to reveal a bound and gagged guy struggling desperately to get out, and the mobsters keep slamming the lid on him just as Billy looks around, but it keeps popping up when he's not looking...

I kept laughing and laughing long into the next scenes of the movie, and my friends were shushing and thumping me, but I couldn't stop...

Anonymous said...

Every time I hear that song I think about how we had to learn how to sign it that year in our signing class! I confess I found it slightly unfortunate that the song was played at my sister's recent wedding - as her bridesmaid I had an adsurd desire to whip out the various signs that I could remember but didn't think that would be appropriate. Always good to read about your happenings Kate. Dani.

veiledturnip said...

It'd be even funnier if the video caught you under the desk too!

Jodie said...

That's very funny! I agree with Crazy Sister - I think it's a form of hysteria and I suffer from it also. I once had a laughing fit while reading a live radio news bulletin. In desperation, I pretended I was having a coughing fit...just slightly less unprofessional. I even threw out a couple of news stories mid-bulletin so as not to risk laughing over some unfortunate tragedy. It wasn't my finest moment at the national broadcaster.