All posts tagged: Laughter

Fvmbe Humor: Honoring My Ancestors with Belly Laughs

In my culture — the Mvskoke (Creek) tribe — humor is a constant. There’s even a certain genre of humor which one of our scholars, Craig Womack, termed “fvmbe humor.” (In Creek, “v” is pronounced like a “u.”) “Fvmbe” means “stink,” and “fvmbe humor” often has to do with the body, though it’s not crass. It is difficult to translate, but we’ve kept the word despite the government’s many attempts to take away our language and culture. Laughing at certain things is almost a marker of belonging. But another marker of belonging is knowing when not to laugh, when not to let suppressed giggles burst out at the wrong time. Especially, in church. My family attends a Mvskoke Baptist church. As is custom in our tribe’s churches, the church house is in the center, and it is surrounded by family “camphouses” — small houses which are usually just a dining room, kitchen, and seating area. Some have a bedroom because some people stay at church from Saturday evening to Sunday night. All of us stay …

Even When Dad Was Dying, We Kept Laughing

(Photo: Stocksy) I am one of the lucky ones whose parents, through a combination of good genes and good living and good luck, were still around when I was in my 40s. When I thought about losing either one of them, which I did rarely and fleetingly, I pictured myself sobbing next to a hospital bed, drained faces, the gaping abyss that would come with the loss of someone who had loved me unconditionally from my first breath. Then my dad got sick in June this year and died in July. And I realized I’d left out an important facet of the process of losing them: laughter. Admittedly, mine is a family where a quick wit was prized and prodded to higher purpose. A sense of humor was as important growing up in my home as was the ability to work hard, tell the truth and clean the rabbit cage without being nagged to do it. I don’t believe we were special that way; the proprietary humor that can thrive between family members is part …

On Being the Loud Girl

(Graphic: Kat Borosky/TueNight.com) I’m “loud.”  I have been told this many times in my life — in comic ways, in critical ways, in weird, demeaning ways. Suffice it to say that when I speak to a large group, I won’t be needing a microphone, thanks. I project. I credit and blame a combination of genetics and upbringing for my strong voice. My father is a six-foot-one, broad-chested man with a naturally booming manner of speaking. It’s not an effort or intentional, it just comes out of him that way. Combine those inherited vocal cords with being raised in a much more 1950s than 1970s style (speak up when spoken to!) and you have the makings of clear, ringing, direct speech. As a result, I’ve spoken clearly and fully from the chest since I was a kid. I never put on a “cute” voice. I can’t even imitate the infamous “sexy baby” voice that many young women use. I’m certainly able to speak quietly — it’s not like I have some sort of disorder — but …