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Tickle Yourself?

August 11, 2009 1 comment

My wife and I have had an ongoing debate in our home… “Is tickling funny?” I hold the correct position that it’s not funny while she continues to persuade her position that it is very funny.

To prove her hypothesis she finds opportunities to tickle me.  And yes, sometimes, however seldom, to my chagrin and her delight I laugh…to which she says is proof. However, here are the three points to my rebuttal.

the-tickle-sculpture

1)    It would not be funny if a stranger on the street touched me like that. So it’s not just the act of tickling, there is a direct association to the funny factor and the tickler.

2)    If it’s an appropriate relationship, then someone’s persistent intent to touch another person in “ticklish places” is funny, regardless of the actual tickling or not.

3)    Finally, the obvious response – you can’t tickle yourself.

Let me elaborate on number three, it is quite fascinating. Have you ever tried to tickle yourself? Studies have proved it to be impossible because if our brain knows exactly when it’s coming, then it’s not ticklish. However if it’s even a fraction of a second off then it can be ticklish. When we are the one initiating the contact our brain is too smart. However the more the delay is created and the element of surprise is involved the more the tickle factor increases. Even with that said, after all that effort, when you eliminate the other person, it’s not funny. So what’s funny, the tickle or the tickler?

Take out the human element of tickling and I’ll even push to say that it’s really scarier than it is funny. Scientists believe that the sensation is to alert us of insect or some sort of harmful skin invader. Come to think of it, if you visualize a spider or another insect crawling on the back of your neck, or maybe an ant crawling up the bottom of your foot, you will probably trigger a natural reflex to shake the invader off but you probably didn’t laugh. Just saying.

While my wife and I continue this debate please feel free to cast your vote.

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