You laugh from your throat, that’s true. But we don’t really know where the laugh comes from.
What I think, is that right down at the bottom of our stomachs, hidden deep down in the warmth, there is a laughter box. That’s where dozens of jokes are kept in storage. People with a large stomach also have a large laughter box. Those with a small stomach have only two or three laughs stored up. And people who have a completely flat stomach have little breath for a really big guffaw. They are all dried up and never laugh uproariously out loud.
Laughing is like a joyful cough. It surges up from your belly and comes out of your mouth in little bursts. The difference is that laughing is not an illness.
Do ants laugh? Of course they do, but you can’t hear them because their laugh is in proportion to their size, it’s a minuscule laugh. I’m sure that if an ant bursts out laughing, it would make so much noise that the aphids would block up their ears. When an elephant laughs, they say it trumpets, because of the extraordinary sound it produces.
You always laugh in vowel sounds: hee-hee, ho-ho, ha-ha. It is quite impossible to laugh in consonants: md-md, xw-xw, pz-pz... you just can’t.
The more we laugh, the more our laughter box fills up. When several people are laughing together, you also collect the laughs of the others and that enriches your “laughoreum.” A laughoreum is a library of jokes you can store in your brain. There are people whose bodies have been completely overcome by hilarity. They are then obliged to take up clowning as a profession. In that way they regularly empty their overflowing store of joy by making the public laugh.
The funniest thing is that when you laugh you might convulse, split your sides, fall about, writhe in stitches or burst without doing yourself the slightest damage.
And what is even weirder is that you can die laughing as many times as you want.
Translated by Wendy Cross