Happiness is Laughter

Humor is a weird thing. It’s subjective, for one thing; what makes one person laugh annoys another. But it’s worth the risk: the thing I love most about humor is its effect on people. Humor, when it works, is good for you because it makes you laugh and then you relax and all those endorphins start pinballing around your system. Laughter is not only good for your health, it’s catching. When you laugh, the people around you look up and smile and sometimes laugh along; viral happiness. Laughter can come from blatant slapstick–Mildred Natwick rolling down the steps in Barefoot in the Park, Rick Moranis spitting coffee as his helmet closes in Spaceballs, most of Dodgeball, all of Airplane–or subtle wordplay–“Eagles may soar, but weasels don’t get sucked into jet engines” Steven Wright–and anything in between.

So let’s be happy. What’s the funniest thing you ever saw, read, listened to? Share the laughter, please, and then tell us what else made you happy this week.

101 thoughts on “Happiness is Laughter

  1. One of the funniest things I laughed at was on arghink. A conversation about Alien Tentacle porn that lead to thoughts of what orifices tentacles would go in.

    I recently found Ismo, a Finnish comedian who now lives here.

    And David Nihill, an Irish comedian who now lives here.

    I will put links below.

    I seek out laughter. There is an excellent book by Sarah-Kate Lynch called Heavenly Hirani’s School of Laughing Yoga. As is every book by her, it is exceptionally good. And laughing yoga is a real thing.

      1. I looked at Ismo, and I’m with him. I can’t sleep on a planet that is going around the sun. Too much movement. Hilarious!

      2. Oh my. David Nihill hits American prejudices right on the head. And makes us laugh about it. I love that they dig up their own potatoes! What a concept.

      1. Wow! I wish that was funny, but it’s just sad, in an enlightening way. Things for women seem to get worse as they get better, which she points out very clearly.

      2. Thanks, Jenny, but unfortunately on Amazon.com.au ‘They Used to Call Me Snow White But I drifted’, costs $29.15 for Kindle and $128.55 for paperback 🙁 However, I read the first few pages so I was lucky enough to get my laugh for the day.

  2. I think the funniest thing I’ve ever read is the first few chapters of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Just thinking about it is making me smile. And one of my best childhood memories is listening to the radio show in bed at night.

    1. The radio play is even better.

      I listened to it in the dark, in a crowded hotel room at a science fiction convention in 1978.

  3. The funniest thing I ever read is still PC Hodgell, who writes about a terminally clumsy young woman. Pat used to babysit me, and for many years as a kid I thought her character was based on me, as I’m the only person I know who gets into those kinds of scrapes- but it turns out it was based on Pat (hey, I was a child! little kids are self centered!). Although the scene in Bet Me where Tony walks Min and Diana home and tells them his fantasy about them runs a close second. I reread that when I’m blue.

    The funniest thing I’ve ever listened to is an old recording, man, I forget who it is, but it’s a bunch of really famous jazz or blues players, and they’re jamming, then one of them blows a b flat, and they all lose it. Just howling, and it holds a record as the longest ever recorded giggle fit. It’s supposed to be impossible not to laugh while listening, so my Dad brought it home to test it out. We had a wonderful time with it ’til it had to go back to the library. I should check YT, see if it’s on there.

    And for this week’s dose of laughter, I’m trying to build my stupid author website, and I keep getting stuck on pictures of remarkably suspicious cows, and really cute stink bugs labelled as ladybugs, and general stock footage weirdness that cracks me up. But now I want to write a thriller just so I can build a site featuring sketchy cows. Such faces!

    But my biggest joy this week was discovering that the first seasons of Bake Off are available for free on Roku. They are really great, just soothing. At some point I’m going to have to get back to the website project though…

  4. I love to laugh and I love making other people laugh… usually at inappropriate times- like a funeral. There’s something awesome about that.

    I adore anything from Mel Brooks or Monty Python… the nuances of that humor slays me.

    When Mystery Science Theater came out, I was in heaven. I still watch it on the Pluto TV streaming channel.

    Recently I stumbled across a British comedy show called the Goes Wrong Show and my life has been forever changed. I have not laughed like that in years. I think the reason it resonates was because I had some experience in theater as well and I could relate.

    Find it and watch. You’ll be so glad you did!

    1. Have you ever seen Coupling? The British version not the US. There’s an episode called, I think, The Giggle Loop about laughing at a funeral, and it’s hysterical.

      Actually, that whole show is hysterical. “Lesbian Spank Inferno” will stay with me forever, especially the part where the guy tries to explain it to his girl as an art film.

      1. I love Coupling. I actually saved it on my hard drive for gloomy days. I love the episode where all the men are against pillows and cushions. Someone does a speech about how they invade our homes & conquer our couches 🙂

    2. Fun story on funeral: the crush invited me to his grandma’s funeral years ago. I was Warned Ahead Of Time By Coworkers to NOT be…me…at it. So I sat in the literal way back and hid.

      Then his dad tells a story about putting in a new toilet in crush’s room that supposedly will flush everything, including golf balls. So his mother was all, “So, when (crush) starts shitting golf balls…” Crush followed up with “So far, that hasn’t been a problem.”

      I was in the back, bent over, hand over my mouth, trying not to laugh, thinking, “I AM NOT GONNA BE THE GIGGLE AT A FUNERAL!!!!”

      1. He invited you to his grandma’s funeral… Did he invite anyone else? Just curious. No wonder you were getting mixed signals.

    3. We took our kids to see Peter Pan Goes Wrong live a number of years ago as the family Christmas present, and I have never laughed so hard over anything in my life. We all loved it so much, and I was crying laughing the whole time.

  5. I love What’s Up Doc? It has every funny movie trope in it. I was going to suggest it.

    1. Barbara Streisand: “Love men’s never having to say you’re sorry.”
      Ryan O’Neill: “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.”

      Kills me every time.

  6. Tom Lehrer. (Honorary mentions to Anna Russell, PDQ Bach, and Flanders and Swann.)
    I’m also a big fan of Steven Wright and Steve Martin. And of Doonesbury, Bloom County, Baby Blues….we have a large collection of comic strip books . Charles Adams.

    Somewhat embarrassingly, however, what will reliably reduce me to giggles is telling the story of how my 4 year old daughter told me—loudly, across the local children’s library—that she was pregnant and that the father was Big Bird who gave her the sperm last Thursday.

    I also can’t keep a straight face while retelling the story of how I failed the parenting well with neighbors test when we staged a mini inquisition with my daughter and their daughter and son; the son had accepted $4.37 from a little girl who wanted him to spy on our two girls and when his father told him we don’t talk about what happens at home with other people (not the message I would have chosen) the 5 year old son said “I just took the money I wasn’t going to tell her anything.” I unhelpfully lost it and laughed uncontrollably.

    Actually I have a number of stories about my kids that make me smile or laugh. There is a reason my career is child advocacy.

    1. My friends daughter was 5 yo. They were at the pharmacy. She just randomly looked at the pharmacist and said – boys have penises & girls have vaginas. I have a vagina. Do you have a penis?

      The pharmacist found it funny, thank goodness but my friend was mortified.

      1. My friend put her toddler daughter in the bath tub with her one-year older brother. He said ‘Look mom, Jackie has no peanut!’

  7. Happiness is heading back home today to see our dogs! And on the way to the airport, we conducted our post trip debrief in our usual family style (using the Agile stand-up questions that my husband insists upon) and found out that my nephews and oldest nephew’s girlfriend really did have a good time…was a bit concerned since mostly they seemed to spend their time in Florida going to Disneyworld one day and watching Law and Order the rest. Vacations are wasted on the young.

  8. What do you call friends you alway go out to eat with?

    Taste buds.

    We are still evacuated but safe and sound in our hotel with the dogs at a friend’s place and cat still at the kennel. We are supposed to get about 3 inches of rain over the new 2 days so with any luck we will get home Thursday or Friday. There’s a lot of fire fighting infrastructure recently put in place to protect the town. The fire hasn’t moved a lot in the last couple of days so that’s good.

    We are now in the wait and see and be kinda bored stage of things. Which is better than flat out panic.

    1. Yes, Office Wench Cherry, being bored because you’re safe, things are on hold, and respite might be coming is a good downtime during a catastrophe. Continue to batten down the hatches and take care!

    1. there is something in nearly every scene of ‘Blazing Saddles’ that makes me laugh, even when the non-laughing part of my brain is going omg I can’t believe this is so funny because it’s so WRONG.

  9. Decades ago, probably in the 90s, we found a British show called something like “Are You Dave Gorman?” A comedian with that name set out to meet all the other Dave Gormans in the UK, with often hilarious results. More recently, Hannah Gadsby’s “Nanette” was amazing, but it was a laugh-one-minute, cry-the-next show.

    I also like Jim Gaffigan’s humor. I was supposed to see his show live in January, but I was felled by COVID.

  10. I love Thurber’s book “Let Your Mind Alone”. It’s James at his best. If you search “sex ex Machina” you can find my favorite essay. I tried to read it aloud once but laughed too hard to get through.

    Funniest video is 9 minutes long, which might be off putting, but it is so worth it. I am having trouble posting a link with my phone so may have to do it separately.

    And one of my all time favorites is the immortal Crusie line “I was eating a brownie” to explain why she answered the door holding a butcher knife. Absolutely true without looking any less potentially crazy.

    1. Thank you for “sex, ex machine” Thurber. “…hurriedly put on the brakes of my 1935 V-8 Sex Symbol that I drive.”

      I blame everything on my thyroid.

        1. When I was in high school the Drama Club hired a choreographer every year for the spring musical. The guy they hired had a laugh like the ones from that clip on steroids. The only trouble was that, having seen the play so many times in rehearsal, the choreographer would start laughing before the joke. So the choreographer would laugh and the audience would laugh at him and nobody could hear the joke.

  11. The signature line from my email is “This communicating of a man’s self to his friend works two contrary effects, for it redoubleth joys, and cutteth griefs in half.” – Francis Bacon, Essays
    Spider Robinson says it differently: “Shared pain is lessened. Shared joy is increased. Thus we refute entropy.”

    A lot of the humor I enjoy comes from webcomics. Calvin and Hobbes, Pogo, Shoe, Freefall, Dumbing of Age, just to name a few. Then there is the Humor conference of Baen’s Bar, from which I stole A Monty Python Joke. I also read a one liner: “My mate has a bad stutter, and by the time he told us his Nanna had died we aere all singing Hey Jude.”

    I’ve been wanting to use this one the next time an Argher admits to a birthday: “Birthdays are good for your health. Studies show that people who have more birthdays live longer.”

    Then there was this:

    After I retired, my wife insisted that I accompany her on her trips to the local grocery store. Unfortunately, like most men; I found shopping boring and preferred to get in and get out. Equally unfortunate, my wife is like most women – she loves to browse. Yesterday my dear wife received the following letter, from the local store manager:

    Dear Mrs. Harris:

    Over the past six months, your husband has caused quite a commotion, in our store.

    We cannot tolerate this behavior and have been forced to, ban both of you from the store.

    Our complaints against your husband, Mr. Harris, are listed below and are documented by our video surveillance cameras:

    1. June 15: He took 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in other people’s carts when they weren’t looking.

    2. July 2: Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.

    3. July 7: He made a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the women’s restroom.

    4. July 19: Walked up to an employee and told her in an official voice, ‘Code 3 in Housewares. Get on it right away’. This caused the employee to leave her assigned station and receive a reprimand from her Supervisor that in turn resulted with a union grievance, causing management to lose time and costing the company money. We don’t have a Code 3.

    5. August 4: Went to the Service Desk and tried to put a bag of M&Ms on layaway.

    6. August 14: Moved a, ‘CAUTION – WET FLOOR’ sign to a carpeted area.

    7. August 15: Set up a tent in the camping department and told the children shoppers he’d invite them in if they would bring pillows and blankets from the bedding department to which twenty children obliged.

    8. August 23: When a clerk asked if they could help him he began crying and screamed, ‘Why can’t you people just leave me alone?’ EMTs were called.

    9. September 4: Looked right into the security camera and used it as a mirror while he picked his nose.

    10. September 10: While handling guns in the hunting department, he asked the clerk where the antidepressants were.

    11. October 3: Darted around the store suspiciously while, loudly humming the, ‘Mission Impossible’ theme.

    12. October 6: In the auto department, he practiced his, ‘Madonna Look’ using different sizes of funnels.

    13. October 18: Hid in a clothing rack and when people browsed through, yelled ‘PICK ME! PICK ME!’

    14. October 22: When an announcement came over the loud speaker, he assumed a fetal position and screamed;


    15. Took a box of condoms to the checkout clerk and asked where is the fitting room?

    And last, but not least:

    16. October 23: Went into a fitting room, shut the door, waited awhile; then yelled very loudly, ‘Hey! There’s no toilet paper in here.’ One of the clerks passed out.

    I recently got an emotional support animal. It’s a pig.

    Well, not a whole pig. Part of a pig.

    Okay, it’s bacon.


      On a related note, I saw a big ol’ white/pink potbellied pig (sadly not a cute one, but presumably loved) strolling down the street the other day. “Oh, I’ll let her go, I’ll catch her in a minute,” the dude said.

  12. I love Calvin and Hobbes. Mr. Harris is a scream!! That made me laugh out loud.

  13. “Our Hearts were Young and Gay” — two young women take a cruise ship across the Atlantic for a European Grand Tour (in 1923), and their romantic imaginations keep running up against reality.

    There is one scene that still makes me laugh until I cry, every time I read it — Emily and Cordelia signed up to play deck tennis without knowing how to play, and Emily’s serve hits the referee in the face, every time she tries. He can’t duck behind anything because he needs to referee, so he holds his nose, wipes his face, stands back up, waits for Emily’s serve, and gets hit in the face again. My words can’t describe how funny this is.


  14. I had a really happy day on Friday – went to Portmeirion with my photographer friend Pam for my birthday. The weather was perfect, we had a whale of a time exploring both the colourful architecture and the wild rock gardens on the beaches, and the drive there and back was beautiful.

    I’m planting up my gardens between proof-reading sessions in the sun. Chatting to fellow gardeners on the allotments and enjoying everything growing in my garden.

  15. My favorite contagious laugh is/was the Car Talk guys. I could never resist laughing along, even though half the time, I didn’t understand the joke, because I know absolutely nothing about cars.

    This week’s happy was running the newly-installed dishwasher and having nice, clean, sanitized dishes that I didn’t have to wash myself (and I’m a terrible hand-dishwasher). And realizing I’ve only got about a week’s worth of work left on my current draft of my WIP, so it will be done before the holiday weekend, and I can take the three days off to play with fabric.

  16. PG Wodehouse is hard to beat for comedy. He wrote so so so many comedy gold short stories and novels. Not just Jeeves and Wooster but heists at garden parties and village fairs gone off the rails and the history of golf.

    1. Charlene – he is my favorite! My second husband introduced me to him. We used to get those books from the library. We would read them to each other at night. I would read until I couldn’t talk anymore from laughing, then he would take over until he couldn’t talk.

    2. As a teenager I laughed myself silly redding Wodehouse, sometimes laughing so hard my legs just couldn’t carry me.

      Around the same time I saw the British nearly wordless comedy The Plank which I also found very laugh-out-loud funny; it was rather slapstick-style if I remember correctly, with lot of little incongruous details that tickled my funnybone, like hanging a cap on a non-existent nail.
      I think I’ve grown out of that teenage hilariousness, most such jokes just get a small smile or a grin, not loud guffaws anymore. A bit of a pity that, but much easier to be amused in public if you can be so quietly.

      I wonder if it would still be as funny if I saw it today? A lot of humor of that age was rather unkind to women, looked at with modern sensibility. Sometimes I wonder how it didn’t irritate me at the time, how I could just laugh at it without noticing the misogynist tendencies.

  17. For probably at least ten years or so, I would lose my shit laughing every time I thought of “Baby Fishmouth” from When Harry Met Sally. That’s probably the longest-running consistently funny thing I can think of. (“Oh, like Baby Fishmouth is sweeping the nation.”) I would think of it at random, start laughing, people would ask why i’m laughing, I’d explain, they’d think I was a weirdo…

    As for the last two weekends: I spent last weekend at a hippie festival in town, which was glorious. Also went to another town festival and watched Eurovision. I got a lot of tie-dye and hung out with friends.

    This weekend I went to a craft fair, a storytelling festival where I ran into people I haven’t seen since pre-pandemic, and went with friends to see the show I auditioned for and did not get into (and several of my friends and the crush did), Avenue Q. It was very well done. I had had plans to try to not be spotted at the show, try not to laugh like I usually do (which I at least did pull off, helps that I know what the laughs are in this show), and otherwise avoid, but they had the cast parade through the audience with the lights on pretty frequently, so so much for that. At any rate, said friend group who decided to go after finding out I was going wanted to go see him. And he was very huggy (multiple hugs, touching my arm when he did not need to) and friendly to me again like he had been in the past…but I reminded myself he enjoys the friendship *when he remembers it’s there,* he won’t remember it tomorrow, and I haven’t contacted him or anything since then even though I kinda want to. Probably the next time I see him will be in his next show in summer, and that’ll be it. In the meantime, I have made a friend date with another castmate (neither of us have any attraction to each other, but definitely like on an intellectual level) for next weekend to go to another castmate’s show.

    Today I am trying weed gummies. Or at least 1/2 of the ‘anxiety” version since I am not doing anything during the day. After that I have a singing lesson and I think I will try to audition for Spamalot somewhere. It’s at a SUPER clique-y theater and there’s no way in hell I’ll get in, but I’m doing it for fun. I am also going to audition for Much Ado, which I dunno there. It’s at my first home theater, which is good, but only four female roles and obviously the odds of my getting in are bad, and my Shakespeare expert friend will obviously get Beatrice in her sleep. I’d be lucky to get “serving wench.” At any rate, I will try to do that one instead of waiting around for the next show (Something Rotten at the musical theater) that the crush and I both like. It’ll be my backup show if I don’t get into this, and at any rate, maybe he won’t do it because that show would be a third show in a row with no breaks between for him.

    Keeping my distance, like a good acquaintance-only person.

  18. Anything by Jim Lehrer makes me laugh, particularly The Vatican Rag. CBC (national radio station) has a program called “The Debaters” – 2 comedians debate a topic, ranging from serious to the sublime. It’s regularly laugh-out-loud funny. We’ve attended several takings and it’s even funnier when you know what they cut out.

    One thing I love about working on the flower farm is that we laugh a lot. During my first year in the farm, I was helping cover a flower bed with shade cloth. The wind caught the cloth and I went flying in the air and landed aboyt 15 feet away in another flower bed. Every time we have to cover a bed, we laugh about this.

    My boss and I went to see Herb Alpert. We both remember him from our childhoods, as our parents had his records. He’s still touring at 88. It was a lovely evening of music and stories.

  19. As a retired reference librarian who fielded many questions about technology, I find this video on the Medieval Help Desk a hoot.

    There are multiple language versions, including English, but I like listening to the Norwegian.

    I don’t know that I laughed a lot this week, but I did have a nice walk with a friend who lives an hour away and came over, and yesterday had a good writing session, which doesn’t always occur.

  20. I still think the funniest thing I’ve ever read was the titular story of David Sederis’ book Me Talk Pretty Some Day about the class learning to speak French and one of their discussions centers around Easter which they are trying to explain to the non-Christian members of the group – “The Jesus, he good.” And then explaining how the Jesus was put up on “two morsels of wood”. Stuff comes out my nose every time I read that story.

  21. I’ve never laughed as hard, or as joyfully, as I did when we went to see a live performance of Dame Edna’s touring show. We took gladiolas, and we oscillated them with the crowd. Her comments when chatting with audience members were routinely so unusual, and unexpected, that you would just erupt in amazed laughter each time. Barry Humphreys was amazing. So sad the world lost him!

  22. Probably the funniest book I have ever read is The Dog Who Wouldn’t Be by Farley Mowat. I laugh out loud every time I read it.

    Several years ago, my niece (age 5) was playing with her mother’s spool thread collection, sorting out the colors. She wanted me to play with her but I was only half heartedly sorting colors while trying to talk with her mother. In total exasperation, she looked at me and said “ Aunt Janet, don’t you know your colors yet!” To this day, I still laugh at this.

  23. The funniest thing I ever saw was Monty Python and The Holy Grail. The funniest thing I ever read is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The times I laughed the hardest were when I read the first Garfield collection, back when he was still fat and ugly and I hadn’t ever read it before, sadly that didn’t continue, and when I read my first Jenny Crusie book, Fast Women. Both times I basically fell out of my chair laughing.

    Honorable mentions are: Terry Pratchett, P.G. Wodehouse, Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes.

  24. Humour matters are a timely happiness post because I laugh with my family. A few of whom I saw yesterday at a get-together held at oa cousin’s newly renovated home. I met a few of their cousins that I hadn’t seen in a while and I was pleased to realise that we laugh at the same things together.

    I love wordplay, even if I’m not good at it myself. So the names in Asterix and Obelix original books always make me laugh first.

    Guaranteed laughs from Tropic Thunder, I couldn’t even begin to evaluate why. I guess there is a Pythonesque vibe to it. But I came to Monty Python incidentally as an older adult so I haven’t even watched it all!

    Carol Burnett is a huge influence thanks to the second show. Keenan Ivory Wayans exhortation to “find the funny” for In Living Colour must’ve worked magic on me too, as did Kim Wayans’ commitment to the “bit”.

    I know I’m good at telling everyday stories in a funny way, there are a few in the LucyMarch blog comments. I like making people laugh as I tell them about my day or some commonplace event. That must come from reading every single Reader’s Digest issue’s comedy compilations from the time I was 8 to 18.

    I come from a family who does laugh at funerals, we all have a spectrum of relatively dark senses of humour. So we stand in the back or sit aside and laugh. Luckily our funerals are accompanied by much singing making conversation and laughing possible.

    There was a Dragonlance novel where a someone described a young power-hungry Drow in a priestess order, I think, with (roughly paraphrased) “She was ambitious but lacking a sense of humour that would make her truly dangerous.” I have that sense of humour, where if I’m being attacked or manoeuvred, I can do something or say something couched in humour that reveals the problem while making people laugh mostly ending the problem. I use it sparingly tho’ because I prefer to shoot straight but maybe 🤔 I should bring it to the issues that I am having now. Huh.

    I find standup comedy a good way to learn about other cultures. Margaret Cho is favourite thanks to the short-lived All American Girl. I’ve found recently that it helps me to learn language nuances. Will post links down thread.

    Humour in music is great, I find hip-hop to be the best vehicle for it.

    1. Sure Thing, The Carol Burnett show with Harvey Korean and Tim Conway in the dentist skit is one of the funniest skits ever! Thanks for reminding me.

  25. The Monty python tv shows were also amazing.
    The blackmail sketch, Dinsdale, …

  26. Strange Bedpersons, Chapter 12, the Dinner Party from Hell

    Dogs and Goddesses, Chapter 13, the Glittery HooHa

    These two scenes are some of the funniest I’ve read. The are bookmarked, and in the audio version, I know what chapter.

    Thanks for the laughs, Jenny!

  27. I walked past a toy store window while we were in Ithaca (it was closed for the night) and saw a display of Jellycat toys in the window. Now I am a little obsessed with their stuffies and picking which ones I am going to buy as Christmas gifts. The gremlin is a must. Possibly also the Axolotl.

    But the Amuseables just make me smile. I am going to get my sister the egg purse and one of the potted plants for my cousin who loves succulents. I am thinking about a purse for myself too. I will have to space out the purchases.

    Can’t add a link from work, but they are super cute and ridiculous.

  28. The Earth’s surface is 70% water. It’s uncarbonated water. That means the Earth’s surface is flat.

    I always wondered where Terry Pratchett got the idea for Diskworld…

  29. Do you know “What We Wanted To Do.” from Ron Carlson? It is funny read on the page. It is hysterical as read by Jeff Dorchen on the “This American Life” episode called “Fiasco”.

  30. I need to scour my memory & archives and make a list of things (especially books) that are guaranteed funny. In the Monty Python Adjacent category, I always laugh at ‘A Fish Called Wanda.’ And ‘Romance with a Double Bass’ is sweetly funny. In the movie musicals category, ‘Little Shop of Horrors.’

    Aside from funny things, happiness is being on vacation. 🙂 And my Ren Fest novella is out now! ‘Our Revels Now’ is available at Amazon, Kobo, & B&N for Nook.

  31. Lee Mack on Irish names. Perhaps especially funny in our house as my daughter’s name is Niamh.


    (The final line, gold).

    Also, the funeral episode of Derry Girls where they try and flush the weed scones down the toilet. Omg.

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