It’s foolproof. In all the creative writing workshops I have facilitated for children, there is one word that is guaranteed to elicit uncontrollable laughter: poop.
In my latest workshop, for instance, I asked the kids to describe their breakfast in five sentences, which must integrate the five senses.
Guess where the sense of smell led to?
When my kids were small, there was one way to keep them laughing: poop or bathroom humor.
This one tops them all: One of my sons was cast as one of the pigs in the school play, “Three Little Pigs.” His line was, “Not by the hair of my chinny chin chin!” After some rehearsals, he had it down pat.
D-day came and the huge gymnasium was filled with excited parents and schoolchildren.
When my son’s play began, I stretched my neck to watch him, adorable in his piggy costume. A stage hand handed one “pig” the microphone, which the three wrestled over. When my son got hold of the mike, he said in his loudest-ever voice, “Hello, Mr. Poop!”
The schoolchildren went aroar, and I wanted to crawl under the nearest table.
How did the other parents react? I would never know; I had my face covered with my shawl.
Years later, when I re-tell this anecdote to kids, they crack up.
Child development experts say that humor is a universal aspect of human behavior. Only the subject of what’s funny changes as kids reach the age of reason. But poop humor is a phase longer than others. Well, some never outgrow it, which is why slapstick shows still sell.
When you feel low sometimes, like I do at the moment, try listening to kids’ merry twitters when they hear the word poop.
There’s no better medicine than a cheerful heart; there’s no better cheer than the grace of laughter.
“A cheerful heart is good medicine . . .” Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)