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Updated: Mar 22, 2021

Laughter & Smiles

I’ve always been a jokester. When people are feeling blue, I’m the guy to make their day better; I make them laugh. Every morning my dad and I used to tell each other jokes we’ve created the night before. He always knew how to make me smile when I was sad, and laugh when I was happy. He told me something that stuck with me through the years: “Never stop smiling, because life is a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about”.

Being a person with a disability has put many obstacles in my path while growing up. I was always trying to catch up to the other kids in school and had to work extra hard to achieve school standards. I found it difficult to make friends, to connect with people who would understand where I was coming from. There were plenty of reasons for me to be depressed- yet, I’ve never lost my joy in life. I’ve always found a reason to keep smiling and laughing. I’ve grown from my obstacles and I used them as learning experience. I think my obstacles in making friends has helped me become an independent, confident and a happy man. I’m happy to say that I have made tons of good friends over the years.

Since COVID-19 began, my every day changed completely. I was forced to stay in doors, social distance and see my support network through virtual meetings; My world came to a screeching halt. As the days of lockdown turned into weeks, My friends and family started becoming depressed. I even found myself waking up and not wanting to get out of bed at times. However I remembered what my dad told me when I was a young boy. Although I was stuck at home, I found many reasons to be joyful.

I started by making a daily schedule so I can be more productive at home. I wake up early, make my bed and have my breakfast. My schedule also consist of exercising, meditating, reading, but most importantly, bringing laughter to my friends and family. Every night, I make new jokes and practice them for the following day. I video chat with friends twice a week and share my jokes with them- I have my them laughing by the end of the call. A few weeks ago I called my best friend. He didn’t great me with his usual “Hey buddy!” Instead, his voice was faint and lacking in warmth. “I’m done living like this, I want to go back to normal already.” My PALS job coach taught me how to create a zoom link. We chatted for a couple of hours. We talked about the movies we’d seen that week and arranged another Zoom meeting to watch the Matrix trilogy. “I bet I can make you laugh.” I told him. “Nuh uh.” He said. “What did the man say to the bartender?”, I asked. “I’ll have a corona, hold the virus.” His face was still for about two seconds; then, I saw a smirk. I managed to get a smile out of him.

A few times a month I video chat with my father to check on him. We spend an hour or so sharing our best jokes. He always has a new joke to share with me every time we talk; The Corona joke was his. The most important thing in my life are my friends are family. I love that I can use humor to fight off the Covid-19 blues.

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