“What’s black and white, and red all over?”

It’s a joke. As a kid in elementary school, life was about who could tell the best joke at recess.

My dad was the best, but that fact didn’t help much during school hours. You had to be quick.

So, here’s the joke: “What’s black and white, and red all over?”

Response: A police car with its red light spinning around.

Laughter abounded.

As I grew and entered college, the question was the same, but the answer was a bit different. Let me put the scenario into context. Journalism: Feature Writing. “Three strikes and you’re out,” said the professor. Translation: If you make three mistakes on your feature article, you get an F. And here’s the real kicker: To pass the class, three of your articles must be published. Red ink pens were like swords that drew blood all over the page. Three edit marks meant death.

“Don’t fall in love with your words,” said the professor. “They can be killed in the blink of an eye.”

Response #2: A journalism student’s butchered article. Black type. White page. Red ink.

Life wasn’t as funny anymore. It wasn’t as easy as it was when I was a child. Life was becoming a lot more serious and it was becoming a lot harder to laugh. The jokes weren’t as funny. I think that’s called “life.” But what kind of life is it?

As a high school senior, I won the “Best Laugh” award which was weird at the time since my best friend won the “Most Likely to Succeed” award. However, with age and wisdom, I’ve learned the value of laughter was the greatest award after all. The truth is though that children laugh about 300 times a day while adults on average, laugh about ten times. Sad reality that can be changed through a laughter yoga class. Laughter yoga is a tool that helps you “manufacture” one laugh that generates more laughter within yourself and others. It really works. The laughter naturally becomes contagious. Circulation improves, blood flows, increased oxygen in the lungs and more health benefits.

Don’t believe me? Check out my article, “Stretch Your Funny Bone,” as published on the ADVANCE for Nurses website, when I interviewed registered nurse Kira McCullough who earned her laughter yoga teacher’s certification after she wanted to regain a sense of playfulness while working as a pediatric oncology nurse.

Moving on to next stage of life, same joke: “What’s black and white, and red all over?”

Hmmm. Let’s see. While watching the news and reading the news, I see: fighting and killings of racial hatred, five cops assassinated on Dallas streets, “Black Lives Matter” posters, all of these images on the 5 o’clock news littered with beatings and blood. It’s hard to laugh at that.

Today, my response is: America’s streets.

Same black and white police cars with the red lights swirling around, along with blood from stabbings and shootings between blacks and whites, whites and whites, blacks and blacks.

What the world needs now is laugh, sweet laugh. Sounds of laughter from adults. Rejuvenated sense of playfulness with improved overall health. Laughter Yoga classes in every workplace and gym. Learning the value of accepting and respecting differences. Ending the “blame game.” Feeling grateful for daily blessings. News images of America’s streets showing people laughing while others holding signs that read: “Lives Matter” and smiling.

We probably wouldn’t need jokes anymore, but I think I could live with that.