I've been in a few awkward moments in my life where I've not been able to stop laughing. Pretty sure it's happened to almost all of us. You get in a situation where you are surrounded by seriousness, and all of a sudden and completely out of nowhere, you lose it. And there's no hiding it. It's out there in the open for all to see and there's no turning back.
I wonder if Jana remembers the time where we had to play a piano duet in sacrament meeting. Somehow during the song, I lost my place or missed a note and found it weirdly funny. Which in turn, caused Jana to start laughing and by that point we were egging each other on and the hysteria mounted. The Bishop and counselors were less than 2 feet away, the audience wouldn't be able to miss our bouncing up and down and ridiculous facial expressions. We finished the song by some miracle and I remember thinking never again would I feel like I could die in one moment over something so absolutely ridiculous.
Yet there were times before when this type of thing had happened. Three words: modern dance recital. This reminds me of the quote from What about Bob -- there are two kinds of people in this world, those who like Neil Diamond and those who don't. Instead of Neil Diamond, let us insert the words 'modern dancing'. Point taken? I hope so.
This particular dance studio was set up so that the audience was all on one side, facing the dancers. I was with my friend and my lovely mother, and we were very near the front. One of the "dancers" came out in this blue leotard, ran across the stage and with an atrocious expression picked up a phone and answered it, while dancing.
That was the turning point -- the point when mild chuckling to myself turned into gasping for air and choking sounds, ending with me losing the well-fought battle.
My mother, seeing that I was fully out of control, spoke sternly and rather robustly under her breath. The words "GET A GRIP" floated into the audience and settled around me. Normally, the voice of my mother would make me stop laughing, but the entire area around me seemed to overhear her saying this to me and a ripple of laughter emitted from the audience. Not only could I not get a handle on my emotions but I now had 20 people seeing me get in trouble from my mommy. And the floodgates opened a little wider.
The recital could not get over fast enough. Needless to say our exit was swift and necessary.
So. What to do when you're in a situation like this? I found a few entertaining things online that just might do the trick.
Use reverse psychology on yourself. By telling yourself something like, "This is funny! Laugh some more!" you end up finding what ever you were laughing at not funny any more.
Open your mouth wide and let the laughter out silently without smiling; this may look odd but it works.
But the funniest part was the "warnings". Who knew there was danger in trying to stop laughing in a critical moment. Maybe by posting this, I will save some lives.
Laughing at other people (particularly strangers) can make them quite angry. If you feel the urge to laugh at someone who is trying to be serious with you, use any and all of the techniques above to avoid laughing. The pain you save may be your own (especially if you laugh at someone you don't know well). Most people are able to deal with being laughed at, but some are very sensitive about it. READ: your seminary teacher.
Although holding your breath (as mentioned above) can help in some situations, it will literally make you burst out laughing (very loudly) and you won't be able to cover it up if you don't manage not to laugh at all. Holding your breath is a double-edged sword and you should keep that in mind. READ: blowfish cheeks - what goes in must go out.
If you are unable to stop laughing (or crying) uncontrollably at inappropriate times, a neurological disorder, caused by injury or illness in the brain, may be the cause. A million people suffer from this embarrassing problem, which can have serious social consequences. Pseudobulbar affect can sometimes be treated with medication. See a neurologist. READ: I've got to meet someone who has this disorder and sit next to them in church.
Do not bite down on your lip, tongue, or cheek too hard. It may cause damage. READ: Duh.