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Somewhere there's a YouTube video of this.

I want to tell you a story. It starts at the gym.

We know this story took place a long time ago because I was (a) running at (b) 6:00 a.m. in (c) a public place with (d) corded earbuds attached to my phone.

I was nearing the end of my morning run, which meant a minute or so of flat-out sprinting. (I use the term "sprinting" loosely, but I was moving as fast as physics would allow.) The treadmill counted down until the end of my workout.

With just a few seconds to go, my lungs were burning, my legs were churning, and my arms were pumping furiously. Suddenly, my fingers caught the earbud cord, which jerked my phone from its place in the treadmill cup holder.

Time slowed down as I lost my balance and flailed in every direction, grasping wildly for my phone and trying to stay upright. Sadly, I achieved neither of those things. Somehow my left shoulder and knee made contact with the treadmill deck, which was still moving at sprinting speed. I shot off the end of the treadmill, landing at the base of an elliptical machine in a rather undignified manner.

The entire population of the YMCA cardio room stopped its exercise and stared at the sweaty, bleeding woman sprawled on the floor. I squeezed my eyes shut, willing the spectacle and my fresh injuries to be a dream.

A man left his treadmill to inspect my injuries. "I'm a doctor," he said. "Are you all right?"

I opened my eyes, looking around at the bewildered crowd. And then I started laughing. Hard. I was still wheezing from the run, so my belly laughs sounded spasmodic, especially because I still resembled a wiggly, overturned beetle.

This laughing response to pain wasn't new. I once laughed hysterically as I received 15 stitches in my knee. I laughed during a painful mole removal. Doctors love me!

Why can't I laugh when mental circumstances are painful? I struggle to see the bright side of things, let alone chuckle about them.

While sprawled on the gym floor so many years ago, I immediately understood that I couldn't change a thing about that situation, so I might as well laugh about it.

This is my public reminder to you (and more especially to me) that laughter is great therapy. It's a healing response to all the dumb stuff that happens in life. It helps deflect anger and embarrassment in so many situations. Laughter brings a spark of joy even if you forget the silverware for forty people for Thanksgiving dinner!

Oh wait, that was me. I did that. Today. Isn't that funny? Also, my stuffing was fabulous.

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