After years of dismissing absolutely everything as “just not funny,” local Mennonite man Herbert W. Klassen audibly laughed for the first time ever this week. The incident occurred after his grandson read out loud a Wizard of Id cartoon.
“It wasn’t much of a laugh,” recalled his daughter Samantha, “but he did seem to smile slightly and expel some air. I don’t think I’ve heard him laugh so hard in my life.”
Klassen is usually stoic and reserved and is the first to point out when others are laughing too heartily or schputting when they shouldn’t be.
“Dad thinks of himself as the arbiter of humour around here,” said Samantha. “If he doesn’t find it funny, he makes sure to ruin the joke for everyone by expressing his displeasure.”
Some Mennonite sects discourage the expression of any kind of pleasurable emotion, so this week’s slight guffaw was seen as a big step forward for Klassen.
“I’m hoping this opens up a whole new world for him,” said Samantha. “Happiness, joy, a love of life. Who knows, one of the days, I might even be able to convince him to smile and say nice things to Mother yet.”
(Photo credit: by Arend Vermazeren /CC/modified)