Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Nobody Laughs On The Subway™

On the 1 train coming home from work today, I burst out laughing. I had just read a very funny passage in The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs and it literally made me laugh out loud.

At which point, I realized something fascinating.

Nobody laughs on the subway.

That sounds like the title of a book, which is why I have trademarked it. Nobody Laughs On The Subway™ is my own discovery. No one will take it from me. The subway, you see, is a joyless place. Panhandlers, crying children, wailing babes and irritated commuters galore exist. Overloud music that spills out of adjacent people's (or in bad cases, even those across the car) earbuds and earphones adds to the atmosphere. So do the conductors, who can at times be extremely amusing (think today, with the man who hollered 'Y'all gonna just stand there or are you gonna stand clear of the closing doors?') But there is no laughter. None.

It was only once I laughed that I realized how the sound of unbridled joy disturbed the hush of the otherwise air-conditioned air whose silence is disturbed only by automated voices and dirty looks.

And so I have come up with a brilliant initiative. It is so brilliant that Improv Everywhere should have thought of it.

The idea is to spread joy on the subway. In short, to laugh. Not just smile but laugh! Infect fellow subway goers with cheer. Make people's lives happy!

And we can have laughter sightings on the subway!


Anonymous said...

They tried that once, though not on the actual train.


The Cousin said...

How's the book? I've heard mixed things about it. It does sound like an interesting read though. Care to share some thought on the book?

My daily subway rides are literally a paradox. My (very) AM trip to work is almost always on a mostly empty train, so quiet that you can hear a pin drop. Juxtapose this with my commute home where the train is more like a sardine can full of people.

Philo said...

I've laughed on the subway, but in conversation with another person, not by myself.

It might be fun (though counterproductive to your purpose here) for me to do my evil "I'm going to take over the world" James Bond villain sort of laugh. I do that scarily well, I'm told.

Chana said...

Hey Anonymous,
Thanks for the link to ImprovEverywhere!

The Cousin,
The book is quite fascinating. I've mostly found it to be hilarious. I respect his search for spirituality and his attempt to take the Bible literally. At the same time, I think that much of what happens is absurd because we very much need an Oral Law to interpret the Bible. That having been said, I think it's both entertaining and beautiful in various parts. Would recommend.

Also, I too have thought that all the people wedged into the trains are reminiscent of sardines! Hurrah!

I replied at your blog.

Woodrow said...

Of course, by laughing on the subway yourself, you disproved the title of your post (which, nevertheless, made me smile!)

Good Yom Tov (if its not too late for that!)