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Not Laughter
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I have a co-worker who laughs constantly, and sometimes at the most inappropriate times (other co-workers have commented on it, too).

For example, she laughed (whooped and hollered) when we were trying to explain that another employee has a handicap and has trouble with long-term memory, not to mention being visually impaired, so we have to adjust our requests and directives accordingly (write them in large letters, for instance).

In the aftermath of the loud horse laugh, the constant response to anything unusual, I finally realized that this co-worker isn't laughing. What it is, if you listen with an open mind is, "Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo"--the automatic, visceral response to exciting or unusual or stressful situations.

Only when it comes from a human, it's misinterpreted as laughter. Our criticism "That wasn't funny" in response to the person's "Hoo hoo hoo" over the handicapped worker's limitations was itself inappropriate.

It was simply the excitement "Hoo hoo hoo hoo hoo", not laughter, and we need to recognize it as such. This morning's news of a freeway closure evinced exactly the same noises. I wonder what would happen if we joined in with "Hoo's" of our own? (Maybe we do and don't realize it. It's akin to the nervous giggle.)

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