Today I had one of those horrible, gut churning, heart-thumping, blood pressure rising moments. No, I didn't open my bank statement. It was one of those moments when someone very earnestly tells you a very sad tale (usually involving death or injury) and that horrendous urge to laugh in that person's face completely overwhelms you. It hasn't happened in absolutely ages as I thought that maturing years and a responsible profession would have cured me of what I described as 'nervous laughing'.
Today whilst on a course, we were quite happily taking a lunch break outside in the sun and happened to sit on a stone bench complete with stone picnic table which had a memorial plaque attached for a dearly departed colleague. A lovely older gentleman came over and began chatting about the person behind the memorial and the unfortunate fate that led to his premature death. It seems he'd gone walking and whilst chatting to some other walkers on a clifftop, was 'blown off'. The absurdity of the statement and I'm blaming the giddiness on the warm sunny weather, but I pictured this man in his walking boots and Crag Hopper waterproofs being 'blown off' in the Lakes and thinking well, at least he died a happy man. Fellatio on the Fells.. Sounds like a Wainwright Walk. The older gentleman then began earnestly saying something on the lines of 'I just don't know what came over Dennis, he was normally so good on the (cliff) head'. I know, I'm just a dirty dog who should know better, but how I managed to stifle the rising laughter was nearing impossibility until I was on the edge of a prawn mayo sandwich making a guest appearance through my nostrils. The old trusted 'think of a baby's nappy' trick works at this point to distract me from the impending disaster of laughter out loud through someone's misery.
It's happened before on many occasions. Many years ago I was in a meeting at work where you have to go round the table and introduce yourself etc. It got to a bloke opposite me and he introduced himself as 'Hi, I'm Nobby Jelley'. Cue exit, stage right trying to mimic the fact I was choking unexpectedly and would need to give myself a quick Heimlich manoeuvre in the loos to prevent premature death.
And don't get me started on seeing a colleague return from the toilets with a rolled up newspaper under his arm and about 8 sheets of toilet paper flapping in the wind from the back of his underpants/trousers. Worse still, we had open offices in those days and he'd walked the whole length of the office passing about 200 people who were simultaneously ringing extensions further down the room to warn of Mr. Morning-Poo's journey back to his desk complete with his paper wedding train.
Childish?....yes. Remorseful?.... a little Funny?.... abso-bloody-lutely