It's happened to all of us, and usually at a wedding or a funeral: You burst out laughing or crying and can't stop. A recent Body Odd post on uncontrollable laughter or sobs led many of our readers to tell us about their own stories of inappropriate, unstoppable outbursts.
Here are some of our favorite stories.
Oh man. It was my grandfather's funeral. My great grandmother (my grandfather's mother), who didn't speak a lick of English was being held up as she walked down the aisle to my granfather's casket. To make it worse, she was screaming hysterically in Polish. That sight and sound totally did me in. I started laughing, then my sisters started laughing, then my cousin started laughing. It was horrible! We all got kicked out of the funeral. And there we were, on the front steps of the chapel, laughing our butts off. And every so often, someone would pop their head out and tell us to shut up. But that made us laugh even harder. Boy did our folks give us a good licking afterwards!
— Anonymous, Morgan, Ky.
My husband, who is very serious about our love-making, had chewed a piece of raw garlic an hour or so before we began having sex. His heavy breathing at such close range along with the strong garlic breath caused me to start laughing and I COULDN'T STOP!! I still start laughing when I think about it. He didn't think my giggles were so funny.
I was once on a very crowded bus, there was standing room only (and very little of that. As we all stood holding on to what ever rail was closest, the bus came to a sudden stop, jolting everyone. As we strained to hold on tighter, I ACCIDENTLY stepped on a man's foot standing next to me. I know it was painful because I could feel my high heel grind into the toe part of his shoe. He screamed — LOUD and I quickly and sincerely apologized. Then I burst into laughter, uncontrollably. I was so embarrased. I couldn't stop laughing. He was so angry with me, he started yelling at me. I kept apologizing but of course he did not feel it was sincere. I eventually got off the bus and waited for the next one because I was so uncomfortable.
— Hasetta Ali, Fla.
I was 17 and at the funeral for one of my best friends who had been killed by a drunk driver. I was laughing and could not stop. I was so angry with myself and (of course) people were staring at me giving me the evil eye. I was anything but happy at that moment. It was such a strange feeling. I was having such an internal battle - my brain/heart/emotions were so different than this outward display. All I could do was apologize profusely when it finally stopped. Finally after 22 years of beating myself up, I have an answer.
— Kathe Arnold
When I was in college I had a professor for Organic Chemistry who I found particularly attractive. Whenever I was in his presence I was totally unable to speak and simply laughed uncontrollably. In the entire term I never was able to speak to him. This never happened to me before — and it has never happened with any other person in the 47 years which have elapsed since then.
My sister, my wife and I along with the man my sister had just started to date went to the local Renaissance Festival. As we were waiting to get in, my sisters date was talking and a bee flew into his mouth and stung him on the inside of the lip. I'm sorry but I burst out laughing and could not stop. I said I was sorry several times but when his lip started to swell like a golf ball I started again. I don't know why it struck me as being so funny. My sister never saw him again after that day.
My boss took my co-worker and I out to lunch one day. When he looked at the bill, he lifted his glasses up and scrunched up his face in such a way that made me burst out laughing...I literally COULD NOT STOP. Thankfully he didn't know I was laughing at that. I had to go into the bathroom and calm myself down...I was laughing so hard I was crying!
— Lindy Taylor
A friend of mine was in an out-of-town wedding, and he invited me to come as his date. I was only minimally acquainted with the groom, I had never even met the bride before that weekend, so no emotional stakes in the wedding at all. I was sitting in the church with my friend's mother, and I just started weeping uncontrollably. Once the tears started, the floodgates opened and I couldn't stop. My friend's mother had no idea what to do with me except pat me on the hand and hand me tissues, which just made it worse. I was totally mortified. I got a littel control back, but then as we were going through the receiving line, I started all over again. I'm sure the bride and groom couldn't figure out who this weeping woman was with her eyes swollen shut and mascara running all over her face...
One night, my parents and I were watching Seinfeld on TV. My mom and I were on the couch against one wall of the living room, my dad and the dog were on the loveseat against the opposite wall. We turned off the TV when the episode was over, and sat there for about five minutes in silence, just looking at each other. When I finally looked at the dog instead of my dad, I burst out laughing. It was a hysterical, uncontrollable kind of laughter, and I just couldn't stop for a half an hour. By the time I finally did, I had moved through the dining room adjacent to the living room and into the hallway by the bedrooms and was crying from laughing so hard for so long, curled up on the floor just laughing and crying and trying to stop. The fit eventually wore off, and my stomach muscles hurt, but now I laugh it off, saying that I'm from Wonderland.
— Dylan McAdam
During a friendly get-together someone said something REALLY funny, so, like any normal person I started laughing. I laughed so hard and for so long that I began to cry, not just tearing up...I mean really cry, like someone had killed my cat cry. It was very strange and was completely out of my control. A friend took me aside and we did some breathing exersizes and I got it under control. To this day I try VERY hard never to let my laughter get that out of hand.