Church Giggles: (n) any kind of inappropriate laughter that occurs during a worship service. The original joke is irrelevant as the Church Giggles morph into their own completely uncontrollable entity. Any attempt to calm down only doubles the power the Church Giggles has over the victim. If the victim is seated with someone who has also been stricken, merely making eye contact with that person will result in a recurrance of symptoms at or above the previous level of hilarity and inappropriateness. Indeed, it is the inappropriate nature of laughing so hard you start crying while in church is what gives The Church Giggles their power.
So you'll never guess what happened to Ryan and me today at church. We had just found our seats. I was perusing the program when I spotted a wisecrack opportunity that I just couldn't pass up (I should have tried harder). Let me preface this by telling you that I know exactly how wrong this was and I am deeply, deeply sorry for the twenty-minute giggling fit it touched off.
The name of the first hymn was "Make me a captive, Lord."
I pointed it out to Ryan and leaned over and whispered "That's what SHE said."
Ryan snickered. I snickered. Then Ryan started laughing harder. Then I started laughing harder. We were both trying to be quiet which made it so much worse. Tears begun streaming down my face. My nose was running.
The service began, someone was praying, I practiced my relaxation breathing, I dug my fingernails into my palms, I pushed the bridge of my foot against the bottom of the pew in front of me so hard I thought I would lift it right off the floor, but I managed to calm down. Then I looked at Ryan who was still smiling and it started up again. Shoulders heaving, nose running, I searched through my purse for kleenex and dabbed at my eyes and nose, trying not to make a scene.
Then we had to SING the hymn. And the first line was "Make me a captive, Lord." Mortified, I buried my face in Ryan's chest completely unable to stop laughing. The second half of the second verse and most of the third went well and I started to think to myself "What was so funny anyway?" and then I remembered and it was BAD. After the hymn we had to pass the peace. I nearly died but managed to shake a few hands while acting like a normal person.
We had almost composed ourselves by the time we got to the Confession of Sins liturgy but when I read the line about "God give me self control" the delicious irony set both of us off again (well, it might have just been me but having learned nothing I jabbed Ryan in the ribs with my elbow when we read that line).
I really thought Ryan and I were going to have to leave, or at least sit in different parts of the church, but thankfully we managed to calm down sometime during THE CHILDREN'S SERMON (how appropriate).
After the benediction, I looked at Ryan and let out a sigh of relief. "We made it!" I said. Then the woman who had been sitting in front of us turned around and took Ryan's hand. She looked him in the eye and said "I hope you two feel better."