Sunshine, Scoops, and a Rainbow of Laughs by Susanna Spies

“24, 25, 26” . BOOM!

Mother nature’s loud burp of thunder made me terrified as a kid. I’d sit in my room, and count between the “burps”, and burps were my way of making up something to lessen the fear, thinking our dear mother nature was just full and needed the release from the earth’s belly of massive indigestion.

You see, where I grew up in New Jersey, weather changes were severe. Summer thunderstorms always lasted a short time, and mornings post storm were always were greeted by sticky humidity droplets falling like dew from a melon, yet not sweet, but creating residue of salty sweat, fatigue, and air conditioning became a fast friend you always wanted nearby. And even in the days of thinking back on the scary nights, where thunder took over and lit up the sky, I remember thinking.. hey, if I can put a character to it, it somehow isn’t as scary. And that was how I’d cope through some of the fear I’d have. Tapping into my own imagination, to know it was all going to be O.K., wasn’t this huge thing that I couldn’t understand, but made even thunder something I could somehow understand, and could anticipate, more comfortably.

I grew up during the days when hair perms were in. So, despite having a perm looking like Peter Frampton (dating myself here, but let’s just say it made Shirley Temple’s hair look tame), humidity alone made my long hair frizz up and out, yet a summer tan, and some sun in to lighten my locks, each accessorized the freedom of summer.

You see, to me, summer always brought forth a new kind of identity, a freedom to play, to create, swim, explore, and window to finding all kinds of comedy gold. Riding my bike to Nassau Swim Club, I’d create songs to the sounds of my wheels going round n round, hanging with my friend Karin, we’d create accents speaking in our made up language of “Germ-ish” (a made up hybrid of German and Swedish) to see if strangers could guess where we were from, and our own free entertainment to freeing and sharing the laughs. You see, summer was a window to explore and something as a kid or adult, we all can still endure.

By the time you read this, it will officially be summer. And as many of our readers are teens, first and foremost a giant congrats. Congrats on successfully completing another school year, for taking the time you now deserve to enjoy yourself and for always knowing no matter what our fears, we can transform into empowerment if we express them in a healthy, pro-active way towards our future.

Comedy is around us all the time. Summer, is an optimum time for freeing the laughs, allowing yourself to celebrate all your accomplishments, and know, no matter what the climate; hot, rainy, or cloudy, there are great horizons to explore adventures and creative experiences.

When I was in high school, I had a summer job each year. For a few of those years, I worked at Crabtree and Evelyn, a soap store, that basically smelled like you walked into a giant vault of pineapple, cinnamon, apple, rose with a side of toothache. I mean it smelled so sweet in there, you may as well have gotten a cavity upon first whiff. But it was a job none the less, and I loved working there. It provided me with my independence, and even more ground to create characters, from my imagination, around this experience, and into artistic expression.

Another summer, I worked at Hagen Daaz, and, let me tell you, that scooping ice-cream is no easy feat. Yes, because I wanted to eat it all, but also, because it is physically demanding! And with my physique, I wasn’t exactly Laura Croft but put my all into each scoop, it was a work out, and I loved working there and learning each shift. Word of advice, though very important… If someone asks you for a quart of coffee, and you work at an ice cream shop? Don’t pour a quart of hot coffee into a cardboard quart container. 1) It is piping hot to hold 2) It’s not that kind of coffee they want. You see? A true life experience while I was terrified and embarrassed by at the time, was transformed into one of the more hilarious moments I experienced during my first days behind a counter, and one I’d order any time in the future for funnies.

Here are 5 Ways to Explore Summer Fun & Funnies:

1) Go for a hike. Look around you, see what you find, hear, touch, smell. Remember our senses are gold for transferring feeling into funny.

2) Eat your favorite ice cream. Think of a time you had an ice cream or your favorite summer meal. Repeat that time, look for windows to create skits, fun with friends, reliving positive moments, are windows toward additional joy, from memories past into future of funnies.

3) Go camping. There’s nothing better than telling camp stories in a tent with your friends or family. Tell a story in a circle, add a sentence at a time, see what story as a group you can create together!

4) SING & DANCE. Singing and dancing make the soul happy. And laughter is the music to our soul.

5) Walk in the rain. Allow your hair to get wet. Walk in the grass, and feel the texture of the earth, knowing that you are safe, you are amazing, and you are growing all the time.

The more we give ourselves the permission to create, and explore in our natural surroundings, the more comedy gold you may find!

© 2014 Daniel Scherl

About the Author: Susanna SPIES is one of Your Monthly Mentors, a seasoned educator and Founder and President of Comedy Playground, LLC, showcasing at The Hollywood Improv located in California. With a performance background, Spies has worked within mediums of television and film, and has performed stand up comedy on stages throughout the nation. Known for her many “faces”, in 2013 she debuted over 30 characters in her one-woman show “The Dryer” and was featured on Nuvo TV’s Stand & Deliver, E-One Entertainment’s Uncontrolled Comedy, and the Youtube sensation “Carol” of “Carol & Claire in The Angela Hoover web series, as well as dozens of national commercials, and Independent Feature Films. Read More… 

Subscribe to The Teen Mentor and receive more awesome articles like this straight to your inbox.