The Ha Ha Train

Max gets to ask questions every night as part of his bedtime ritual. It’s fun, sometimes funny, and tonight was pretty rambunctious. Max also has three paintings on his wall, a plane, sailboat and a steam engine.

Max likes to ask me how trains work. The usual answer goes something like, “Well, that big red part is the boiler. There’s a lot of water in there that is heated up by a coal fire. That turns a turbine, which turns the wheels, which makes the train go forward.” Yeah, that’s pretty much it. But, tonight, Max asked how the Ha-Ha Train works. This was a new one. Here’s my answer.

The Ha-Ha Train runs on laughter. There’s no engine, just a car with comfortable chairs, cold drinks, and lots of popcorn and candy. There’s a comedian who stands at the front of the car telling jokes. When people laugh, the train goes. When they don’t, it stays still. When they’re laughing really hard, the train chugs along, “Chuckle, chuckle, HA HA. Chuckle, chuckle, HA HA,” down the tracks it goes.

This answer was followed by tickling, which made Max go “Heeee heeee heee heee, heh heh heh heh,” and me go, “Chuckle chuckle, HA HA.

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