At the end of last week I made a whirlwind trip to Denver. It’s a trip I’ve made dozens of times so I was nicely relaxed and looking forward to seeing some old friends. I was also teaching three seminars at Colorado Free University, a marvelous adult ed program that I’ve had the pleasure of working with for a long time.

What I didn’t anticipate is how this familiar trip was going to be a festival of friendliness. When my Aunt Marge was alive and I’d go to visit her, she always encouraged me to tell her about my travels. “You meet the most interesting people,” she’d declare.

She was absolutely correct and this trip was full of interesting folk from beginning to end.

Because of my respiratory problems, I’ve learned to order a wheelchair at the Mile High City airport. My pusher was a young man who told me he’d arrived in Denver 10 months earlier from Sudan speaking no English. I was surprised by that revelation since we carried on a conversation during the entire ride. His resourcefulness was inspiring.

When I checked in at the Doubletree, my hotel of choice, I noticed a sign on the counter saying something like “Let us know. We’ll make it right.” I knew they meant it since I’d had a problem on a previous visit, sent an email to the manager as I was leaving the hotel, and had an email from him and a call from his staff apologizing (and canceling my bill) when I got home.

That unusually attentive response earned them a customer for life.

Then there was a three hour dinner with my longtime buddy Karyn Ruth White. As usual, it was three hours of hysteria. What else could I expect from a former stand-up comedian whose current mission is to teach other to manage stress with laughter?

The next day I had two seminars that included all sorts of interesting people. Was surprised to see Scott Poindexter in my I Hate Marketing class and excited to hear about his new online business to share his passion for environmentalism.

That evening one of the students in my Establish Yourself as an Expert class was CFU instructor Vikki Walton who entertained us with her adventures in Backyard Farming, a new passion that she now teaches to others.

When Dorinda Mangan, my volunteer chauffeur drove me back to the airport, I started telling her about my classes. “You meet the most interesting people,” she said, echoing my Aunt Marge.

My second airport wheelchair pusher was also a delight. Just 18-years-old, she to me that she’s currently in college, plans to become a pediatrician, has a burning desire to travel and said she’d discovered how simply smiling and greeting travelers as she whizzes through the airport seems to brighten their day.

I wanted to adopt her.

Then I boarded my flight where I was greeted by Steve, one of the most entertaining flight attendants ever. As I came on I commented that it smelled like they were baking cinnamon rolls. “It’s my new cologne,” he said with a twinkle in his eye.

After he had all of us laughing during the normally boring requisite announcements, he continued spreading good cheer during his trips down the aisle. When I complained that I wished they’d still serve cookies instead of just pretzels and peanuts, he explained I need to take a longer flight since those are reserved for cross country passengers.

A few minutes later, he handed me a bag of contraband cookies.

I’m not usually sorry to land, but we were having such fun, I hated for the flight to be over.

It was a long day, with Making a Living Without a Job in the morning, two flights (Burbank via Las Vegas) and a drive home.

Back in Valencia, I made a quick stop at the post office and was wondering what in the world I was going to feed myself since I hadn’t had time to eat much all day. Imagine my delight when I got to my doorstep and discovered that my daughter Jennie had left a lovely home cooked dinner for me.

As I unlocked my front door, I realized I was energized, not exhausted, from my whirlwind trip. “Oh, I love my business,” I announced to my empty living room.

Love, laughter and learning. Think I’ve discovered the secret of a perfect trip.

Shortly after I met my friend Chris Utterback, I found myself having an especially challenging day. I decided to give her a call and when she answered the phone I didn’t say hello. “Make me laugh,” I demanded.

“Just a minute,” she said. “I have to get my joke folder.” Joke folder?

When she got back to the phone she explained that she kept a file folder of cartoons and stories that she found funny. She promptly began reading me her favorites and before long we were giggling like second graders.

By the time I hung up the phone, the world was looking considerably brighter again.

Ever since, I’ve kept my own Make Me Laugh folders, along with other emergency supplies for moments when I need a dose of hilarity.

If you’d like to expand the amount of laughter in your life, here are some ideas that can help.

* Memorize this quote. Ernest Hemingway said, “The seeds of what we will do are in all of us, but it always seemed to me that in those who can laugh in life the seeds are covered with better soil and a higher grade of manure.”

* Take a laughter class. If your local adult ed program has such a class, sign up at once. If you can’t find such a class, get a set of CDs or tapes from your favorite comedian and play them in the car. I’m especially fond of Prairie Home Companion’s Pretty Good Joke Show CDs.

* Meet my friend Karyn Ruth. The most hilarious trip I ever took was the London adventure I shared with Karyn Ruth White. We both recall it as a week of nonstop laughter. I always look forward to seeing her on my trips to Denver, where she lives, and know that our phone chats will be filled with noisy laughter.

If she’s not available to accompany you on a trip, order her Kiss My Botox CD, her Laughing in the Face of Stress DVD or her book Your Seventh Sense that will help you polish your own funny bone. They’re all available at

* Read something funny. There aren’t a lot of authors that make me laugh out loud, but one who does is Bill Bryson. His travel books are especially hilarious. I’m especially fond of Neither Here Nor There, although any of his books is bound to produce a giggle or guffaw.

You don’t have to be a Minnesotan to find the Pretty Good Joke Book from Prairie Home Companion pretty darn funny.

* Meet Annette Goodheart. The first laughter therapist I ever heard of was Dr. Goodheart whose adult ed classes in her hometown of Santa Barbara had long waiting lists.

Dr. Goodheart calls laughter ‘Portable Therapy’ and points out that its benefits include: strengthens your immune system, helps you think more clearly, replenishes creativity, releases emotional pain, and it’s free.

See for yourself at and

* Join a Laughing Club. The movement started by The Laughing Clubs of India is spreading throughout the world. You may have a local branch or you might want to start one yourself.

The concept is simple: get a group together and laugh for half an hour first thing in the morning. They claim all sorts of amazing cures among their members.

Or let John Cleese show you the benefits of Laughter Yoga on this video.

Don’t ever forget that laughter is a medicine that doesn’t require a prescription. Dose frequently. It’s good for you and equally good for your business.