“Two people can bond almost instantly when joined in harmonious laughter, as their differences melt away and become insignificant.”

Lauren Reddin, Staff Writer

I run home as fast as my legs can carry me. I stop only for a split second to look for cars at the crosswalk that separates my elementary school from my neighborhood.

I look left, then right, then left again before hurtling across the street and towards my house.

As soon as I make it through my front door I hurl my Barbie Princess backpack onto the living room floor. With the excess weight off of my back, I achieve top-speed while running up the stairs and into my bedroom. I bee-line toward my alarm-clock radio that rests, so beautifully, on my small, white nightstand.

My little fingers urgently fidget with the buttons and dials, trying to tune in to the correct station. As the clock strikes four, I flip to 89.3, National Public Radio. I’m just in time.

I take a seat in my bean bag chair as the familiar voices of Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers, come through my radio. “Hello and welcome to Car Talk” were the best words I had heard all day.

The stress from the long day of third grade melts away as I settle in and listen intently to concerned car owners call in with questions about their automobile troubles. This is the best part of my day, the time when I can unwind and laugh freely at the humorous banter of Tom and Ray Magliozzi.

For me, listening to Car Talk wasn’t for the advice about cars; it was for the comedy, the running jokes, and the self-deprecating humor. Listening to Car Talk was not another perfectly good hour wasted — it was a perfectly productive hour that I spent taking mental notes on what made a good joke perfect.

Over time, my comedic strengths grew as I listened to more episodes. I eventually began formulating jokes of my own, eagerly awaiting recess, when I could test out my newly crafted quips on my peers under the monkey bars.

After the recital of one my perfectly thought-out jests, I would wait with bated breath to see the evidence of laughter in the form of off-white teeth. As the years progressed, knock-knock jokes turned into puns and clever plays-on-words, which, in turn, transformed into drier humor and jokes that needed a few minutes of pondering in order to take effect.

Although my humor evolved over time, the end goal always remained the same: to spawn even the smallest hint of a smile on a person’s face was good enough for me.

The feeling I get when a good joke lands is that of pure adrenaline.

Being able to take a person’s mind off of daily stresses through comedy — even for just a few seconds — is one of the most rewarding feelings on earth. Two people can bond almost instantly when joined in harmonious laugher, as their differences melt away and become insignificant.

The capacity of a good pun, play-on-words, or the simple (but effective) knock-knock joke to break down barriers between strangers is something I find utterly fascinating and beautiful.

My childhood enchantment with Car Talk enlightened me in two equally important ways. One, it taught me that comedy transcends far beyond simply making someone laugh, but rather gives a person the ability to connect with others on a more intimate level. And two, unless he has successfully built a nuclear reactor out of wood, no man should ever attempt to change his own car’s coolant.