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Laughter and Longevity

By: Allen Klein, Best Selling Author & Keynote Speaker

Happy Birthday! Most of us like birthdays because they are a time for celebration with family and friends, for gift-getting and for cake-eating. At our birthday party, we are congratulated for being another year older. For some, this is a time to celebrate. For others, however, birthdays can be painful reminders of aging. But in spite growing old, we can learn to lighten up about the aging process

Sure, growing old may not always be fun. Still, if you can find something to laugh about during its trials and tribulations, you can, at least momentarily, rise above them. My Mom, who lived to ninety-five, taught me this lesson well. Her spirit of humor, as exemplified by the story below, helped her through many a trying situation.

Every time my Mom went to the doctor, she would hire a van service to take her there and then have them take her back home when she was finished with the appointment. One late afternoon the van didn't show up. Since the doctor had to close the office, the receptionist suggested that Mom wait for the van in the pizza parlor down- stairs. The receptionist took her there, bought her a soft drink and called the van to make sure they were coming. My Mom waited and waited but the van never showed up. So she went up to the counter and asked if they deliver. The guy behind the counter replied, "Of course we deliver, lady. We're a pizza place, aren't we?"

“Great." my Mom said...

"I want a pepperoni pizza and I want to go with it!”


After my Dad died, my Mom moved to an independent-living facility. I wasn’t sure how she would do there but her sense of humor and joy for life helped her deal with the transition. She probably never heard Dave Barry’s quote, “Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.” But she is a living example of it. Every Saturday night there would be live music at the facility. She, and only she, would get up and dance with her walker. She nicknamed it, “Fred Astaire.”

I am convinced that her longevity was do, in part, to her sense of humor. And I'm also sure, that as the world’s only Jollytologist®, it is where I got mine. To acknowledge that, I wrote and recited this poem at her 90th birthday celebration:

I invite you to lift your glass

To honor a woman with real class,

Who has no trouble passing gas,

Nor telling someone to kiss her. . .cheek.

She's not shy, she's not meek,

Taking flowers from the lobby once a week,

And she's so much fun when going out to eat,

Because before we even take our seat…

The dinner rolls go in her purse,

But then, she begins to curse,

When they refuse to bring a new supply.

Still, my Mom is the apple of my eye.

And I'm here to say I love her so,

Because, Ma, you taught me everything I know.

About the Author:

Comedian Jerry Lewis has said that Allen Klein is “a noble and vital force watching over the human condition.” Klein is an award-winning author and speaker who shows audience’s worldwide how to use humor and positivity to deal with life’s not-so-funny stuff. He is a recipient of AATH’s Lifetime Achievement Award and author of 28 books including The Healing Power of Humor, You Can’t Ruin My Day, Embracing Life After Loss, Positive Thoughts for Troubling Times, and The Lighten Up Book. He is also a TEDx presenter on the power of intention ( More at:


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