Laugh Like A Caza
Are you blessed enough to have some crazy ancestors like Tina?
Join in today as Tina talks about what her family calls "Caza humor". It's the ability to laugh in the face of stress... and it's a gift she never wants to lose. Oh sure, this laughter happens in the most inappropriate times, and springs up every time you NEED to be silent, but still... it is a literal lifesaver.
Tina talks about avoiding Monday morning heart attacks, living a life you don't need to retire from, and screenwriting the story of your life through epigenetics.
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If you had asked me a year ago what I missed most about my mom, my answer would have been everything. Absolutely everything.
Having just finished another holiday weekend without her, and thinking a bit more specifically this year, I can tell you that what I miss most, especially over a weekend meant for family gatherings, is her laugh. I miss hearing it and watching the experience of it engulf all of who she is, but most of all, I miss laughing with her.
So, now I’ve spent the last few days really focused on remembering her laugh and no matter how hard I try to zero in on the sound of it or how her whole body would move within it, what I keep coming back to is the circumstances in which we’d find ourselves laughing… and can I tell you, that very often, we were laughing in the face of stress. That was a gift. And I can’t afford to forget how to do that.
My mom’s side of the family has an affliction we refer to as “Caza” humor. It affected my grandfather deeply. Jules Caza was his name, but he was known to us grandchildren as pepe. Pepe had his own accent that we have to lovingly mimic every time we speak of him. But it was the generation under him that would be impacted with even greater potency. Us, his grandchildren, and our children definitely show evidence, but it was my mother, her sister Jo-Ann, and her brother Jean-Paul that would be most highly affected, especially when all together, with the “Caza humor”.
To accurately describe Caza humor, it’s basically anything funny, that either wouldn’t be to the average sane person, or shouldn’t be to the average proper person. It is also an intense feeling of needing to laugh when most inappropriate to laugh, e.g., anytime requiring silence, or seriousness like a funeral, or church service, or business meeting.
And I understand that this description can make this sound like quite a terrible thing to possess. It sounds like we may be the rudest people on the planet in some situations, but I assure you… this is not the case. Which makes this “Caza humor” even funnier when you see it happening to someone who can’t pull it together and stop laughing”. Because you know they are also on the verge of panic, thinking they must look either crazy, rude or both, but they can’t help it. And those of us affected and watching on, well, we know their pain, and since it would be rather inappropriate to laugh at their pain, we howl uncontrollably.
And, when you silence the laughter and calm the body convulsions, and really look at the situation behind all the hilarious commotion… what you will see, is often again, a stressful situation.
I have to tell you, one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given, and shown how to use, is this Caza humor. My mom’s family has laughed while down, laughed while getting back up again, laughed with each other, at each other, and for each other.
And today I want to share more about this disorder known as Caza humor, because we need more of it in the world. We need it to spread like crazy. We need to meet more of our stress with the laugh of my crazy ancestors.
But here’s the secret… you have to want to be affected. Cause the world has become a place where many people WANT to have stress. They need it. What will they talk about if they aren’t stressed? What will they post about on social media if its not complaining or whining? What will they focus on when they get up if its not worries and what ifs? If you are already afflicted with stress and worry AND DO NOT want a cure, then please don’t try to catch the CAZA thing. It will mess up your worries and stress. Stay clear of a CAZA and all descendants. I’ll be honest too… even the in-laws have been known to somehow pick up this gene and carry it.
This is literally a case of don’t worry about being crazy when you meet a Caza. If you aren’t, they’ll train you.
For anyone who hasn’t been fortunate enough to meet my Aunt Jo-Ann, Uncle Paul, or met my grandparents, or mom before they passed, let me let you in on a little secret.
They have a sparkle in their eyes that start to dance, just before the laughter starts making its way from their toes.
Yes, definitely their toes. Of course, it gains intensity and momentum when passing through the belly, but this laugh is a whole-body experience that starts at one end and makes its way through.
For those who do or did know them, think back to a time you were with them, and something really shouldn’t have been funny.
The first thing that happens, when you start feeling like this is not good, is the eye contact. Like their soul lets you in on a secret. That you’re trapped now and there is nothing you can do about what’s about to happen. And what is about to happen? That’s that sparkle next. It says yep, welcome. It’s time.
And the crooked little grin starts to emerge. And they look away. This is their last attempt to save everyone. But the attempt is quickly abandoned as all energy must now be re-routed to try and contain the body convulsions.
This will be energy wasted. As the convulsions grow in size and strength, the quickly realized inevitable is reached… The Caza humor then emerges and all Caza’s within hearing or sight, also lose all composure.
There will be full laughing roars, giggles, gasping for breath, coughing within lost breath, and even snorting. And this is where the germ spreads. No need for genetics anymore. Anyone witnessing this scene is now caught up in the chaos of Caza humor.
And what started this spark before the wildfire erupted? It might have been something funny. Chances are though, it was something that shouldn’t have been funny, at a time that shouldn’t have been funny… and it was most likely, actually, stressful.
Welcome aboard the crazy train. Now I don’t want to toot my own horn here but (train whistle)
No why is this so important for me to share with you today?
Because we are losing this art in this world. Because my mom died and took her laugh with her. Because stress isn’t going away.
Because if in all my family has been through, we can still look stress in the eye and bust out laughing, and I want you to be able to do that with us. From time to time, I really hope for you, uncontrollable laughter, where otherwise, life would have tucked you back in bed for a while and told you to isolate because you’re depressed, you’re weak, and you just can’t handle this.
I’m thinking now of how impossible it was to isolate when my pepe was alive. He loved to visit. And he’d go from house to house visiting family. No matter where he went through, he’d announce his arrival the same way.
“Hello dis place” would come the bellow from the door as he let himself in and came through the house to find you. And no problem if you weren’t home, or if you were busy. He’d look around and do your dishes, your laundry, or even help with hanging a shelf. That you wouldn’t ask him to do. Because he was not always a perfectionist. But this just gave us more material when we needed a laugh or two.
Do you know that children laugh about 300 times a day? Vs about 17 to 18 times for an adult? I read that and couldn’t understand it? Are all of us Caza’s just immature? Or have we learned how to remain child-like in our humor? I think that depends on who you ask?
My British husband likes to describe me as “annoying”. I’m sure he means it in the most loving of terms, but the fact remains that I am probably much closer to the 300 laughs where he is closer to the 17.
Well, I am looking to avoid that Monday morning heart attack. And this is going to help?
Ya, I said Monday morning heart attack. It’s really a thing. Look it up. The day and time of the week most popular for having a heart attack… is Monday morning.
And research believes it’s because we are spending our weekday lives very stressed. We start to relax over the weekend and between Sunday and Monday morning, there is a huge shift in stress levels. This is not good for us or our health.
We are to spend weekend building the life we love. Not escaping the life we have. Laughter actually helps.
Listen, I don’t want to survive as long as I can hoping to reach retirement so I can enjoy a few years before I die. There is a couple reasons I don’t want to do that. One is because I don’t want to live a life, I have to retire from to enjoy. I want to love my life every day. They other reason is that nothing says I will reach retirement. My mom didn’t. But I do take comfort in knowing that I NEVER heard her talk about retirement. Maybe she did to someone. But I never ever heard her speak of it.
I know a good sense of humor can't cure all ailments, but data and the science continues to grow, about the positivity laughter can have.
When you start to laugh, it doesn't just change your mood, it actually induces physical changes in your body
Laughter enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs, and muscles, and increases the endorphins that are released by your brain.
Laughter can activate and relieve your stress response. It can increase and then decrease your heart rate and blood pressure. And that results in relaxed feeling. And this relaxed feeling soothes tension, which is the physical symptom of stress.
Laughter can actually improve your immune system. Listen to this… Negative thoughts manifest into chemical reactions that can affect your body by bringing more stress into your system and decreasing your immunity. By contrast, positive thoughts can actually release neuropeptides that help fight stress and potentially more-serious illnesses. – Guys… LAUGHTER CAN SAVE OUR LIVES!
Laughter doesn’t necessarily mean you will live longer. Otherwise, my mother would have been immortal. But it does mean the quality of your life will be so greatly improved. It impacts those around you too. Cause remember, they don’t have to be crazy when you meet them. You can train them.
I’m serious about that too. There is a science called epigenetics.
Epigenetics is the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. AND, maybe you smart people, shout out to Patrick here who probably totally understands this and has studied it already, but for my own sake even, I’ll break it down a bit more…
Nessa Carey, in her book called, “The Epigenetics Revolution” explains it like this.
Think of the human lifespan as a very long movie. The cells would be the actors and actresses, essential units that make up the movie. DNA, in turn, would be the script — instructions for all the participants of the movie to perform their roles. Subsequently, the DNA sequence would be the words on the script, and certain blocks of these words that instruct key actions or events to take place would be the genes. The concept of genetics would be like screenwriting. The concept of epigenetics, then, would be like directing. The script can be the same, but the director can choose to eliminate or tweak certain scenes or dialogue, altering the movie for better or worse.
Think of it like this… Steven Spielberg’s finished product would be drastically different than Quentin Tarantino or say Alfred Hitchcock’ for the same movie script, wouldn’t it? Better or worse is a matter of opinion. But different is guaranteed.
Who do you have in your life that is that influential? That they can affect your environment so much, that the movie of your life gets altered. And altered how? What are your behaviors that you bring to your environment with these people in your life that affect your screenplay, and theirs, to make it a better movie?
As a director yourself, are you writing more comedy in your movie? Are you acting more funny scenes? Are you supporting roles adding comic relief in the movies of your friends and family?
Cause we can’t help having scenes that are going to be tragic. Dramas in the least. Thrillers and even horrors in some cases. But a scene is not a whole movie. We have to be able to keep bringing it back to times of laughter, joy, and even tears of happiness.
I have such actors in my life. I have directors who do the same. I even have the crazy genes that wrote the screenplay in the first place. Lucky me!
Truly, I am blessed. But I also remind you, in the face of stress, you can learn to laugh more. Even if you weren’t born into the Caza family. If you don’t have the genes for a good comedy, epigenetics says its still possible to star in the dark comedy you were made for.
Find the right cast and directors and get shooting that new script. I can’t wait to see it. Send me your trailers and let me know how much I can share with others; about the screenplays you all are working on.
Let’s keep encouraging each other to keep going. Keep filming. And keep laughing.
Until next time, this is Tina saying goodbye for now. And we’ll speak again soon.