‘Good Laughs’: A Prescription for an Old Man
Good Laughs (笑得好) is a collection of short stories edited by Chinese doctor Cheng-Jin Shi (石成金) of the Qing Dynasty (1636-1912). This collection can be considered as the Chinese version of Aesop’s Fables. Doctor Shi was believed to have lived between the Kangxi and early Qianlong reigns. He also authored many other books on remedies for life and health.
Good Laughs meant to nourish a good heart with stories. In the preface, Doctor Shi wrote: “People entertain by being sarcastic; I inspire people with sarcasm. It entertains the heart, but it can also save a life like acupuncture.”
Here is one of Dr. Shi’s stories from Good Laughs:
On the 100th birthday of an old man, he looked very unhappy. With all the wealth and many children and grandchildren, he was really a blessed old man. People were wondering why he seemed worried.
When asked what was happening, the old man sighed and said: “I am worried that when I turn 200 years old, there will be hundreds, and even thousands of more guests to come to celebrate my birthday. How can I remember all the names of the guests?”
It seems that as people grow old, the more worried they become. To resolve the problem of worries associated with age, the gods have a plan. It is called “bad memories.”