If you’ve been on the internet at all this past week, you’ve likely seen Chewbacca Mom, akaCandace Payne. In a viral video, she filmed herself putting on a Chewbacca mask that she'd bought at Kohl’s. It roars by itself, and her absolute joy and infectious laughter had everyone laughing along with her. She just couldn't contain herself, and if you didn’t at least giggle while watching, you have no soul.
The video landed heron “The Late Late Show with James Corden,” where “Star Wars” director J.J. Abrams joined in the fun. Even he couldn’t help but howl as she laughed in that mask. If Peter Mayhew doesn’t go hug this woman, all is not right with the world.
As I was writing a story about it, I couldn’t stop grinning. It set the tone for my entire day. By the time I was done, I had resolved to watch something happy every morning before starting to work. After talking to friends about all of the negative stuff we have to write about, I realized that it really does affect our day. Crappy stories about politics, news of yet another musician’s death, depressing statistics about pay disparity between genders and races, hateful words being flung because someone just wants to use the bathroom — by the end of the day (or, hell, the end of the hour), it’s hard to believe there is anything left to laugh about.
Endless studies have shown that constantly watching or reading about bad news will have negative effects on your life and relationships. There is something to be said for letting some of the terrible things in the world go for a little while and watching someone laugh. Laughter is contagious. Even just smiling is contagious — endless studies have shown that, too. You can experience it for yourself while watching the video. It’s lovely.
I’m so tired of feeling jaded. It’s exhausting. Sometimes I just need something wonderful, even if it’s a cat video, a laughing little kid or even a woman delighted by a Chewbacca mask. So do yourself a favor and watch it again. Do it before you have to walk through your office door. It soothes the soul.