Laughter Is Great Medicine by Maria Dorfner


Recently, researchers Nale Lehmann-Willenbrock and Joseph A. Allen published a study in the Journal of Applied Psychology about the effects of group humor on workers.


Results proved laughter bolsters creativity, memory, problem-solving ability, and reduces anxiety, body pain and stress, helps with relaxation, elevates mood, increases self-esteem, optimism, hope and your energy.


In workers it leads to positive team performance, including question-asking, proposals of innovative ideas, new people speaking up and kudos given for jobs well done or problems solved.


If that’s enough, humor also promotes bonding and altruism, attracts connections and leads to happier partnerships.


That said, here’s a short true story to tickle your funny bone.  It’s called “The Briefcase.”



One afternoon while visiting my parents my Dad told my sister and I that he bought a new Mercedes, but he returned it because something was wrong with it. He boasts, “I walk into the dealership, I put my briefcase on the salesman’s desk and tell him to give me my money back or else!”  We ask, “Or else what?”  He yells, “Or else I open the briefcase!”

My sister and I ask, “What’s in the briefcase?!”  He yells, “Never you mind. The guy gave me my money back right away.”

Later that afternoon my sister says to me, “Wait a second. Since when does Daddy have a briefcase?”   I laugh and quip, “You’re right.” Dad is retired, but used to work in construction and in a restaurant. Neither requiring a briefcase. We laugh concluding he must have made up that story.

Flash Forward One Week Later

Sis calls me exasperated, “Oh my God…oh my God…OH.MY.GOD.  I tell her to calm down and ask what happened. She adds, “You’ll never believe this!  I am at Mommy and Daddy’s helping them take groceries out of the car trunk and I find an old, beat up briefcase from the 1940’s in there!”  OPEN IT!!!  She says she is trying, but it has a combination lock on it and it has something heavy inside of it.  She gasps, “OH MY GOD…I think Daddy has a gun!”


So, we decide to confront him together. When I get there, we place the briefcase on the dining room table and use our best “Law and Order” District Attorney stance and voice to demand he open it.


At first, he says no but we are relentless. We need you to open the briefcase NOW.


We watch intently as he turns the combination. He opens it.  Nothing.  Nada.  EMPTY.

We ask, “What was that noise?” He lifts a cloth layer and laying there is one single hammer.


We look at each other, then at Dad and ask, “What were you going to do…hammer the sales guy to death?!”


Dad matter-of-factly says, “Never you mind” as he locks the briefcase we never knew he owned.  OK Dad.  Take the hammer. Leave the cannoli.   😀


Maria Dorfner can be reached at



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