why i choose to laugh daily by chris otcasekFeatured Authors

Why I Choose to Laugh Daily: Chris’ Journey

By Chris Otcasek (aka Mr. Ohh!) | Featured Contributor


Hello! I have a question for you all. I would like to ask how you grew up? How were you treated? When I grew up, I had asthma, and was not treated well. The thing is…no one was in those times. I would run the 100-meter dash and run out of breath after 25. It wasn’t so bad that the other children told me I ran like a truck, but when the coach did as well it made me feel I wasn’t trying hard enough. Well, I tried harder and got worse.

Some folks find this abuse depressing and are scarred. I grew to fight harder, and when I was laughed at, I learned to laugh at myself as well. It was a sad existence. Bullying is cruel but it must be survived. Friedrich Nietzsche said, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” It’s a lie that which does not kill us gives us one more thing to avoid. For me, that became everything. And it continued throughout my working life.

My Diagnosis

alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency Chris Otcasek Mr. Ohh!

About ten years ago I found out just how bad my asthma was. I was given several medications over the years but things didn’t improve. Consequently, neither did I. Then three years ago I found out I had a genetic disease called Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. This is a liver disease which causes the liver to stop making a protein the lungs need to protect themselves and make an odd protein that clogs the liver. There is no cure. My lungs have large holes in them, and once a week a nurse comes to my house and gives me a transfusion of proteins to protect me from further damage.

When I found out about all this, I was despondent. I sat and cried for days. The job I had let me go because I could no longer work. I can’t even talk for more than ten minutes, so I couldn’t get work in a call center or retail. I was forced to go on disability after being employed since I was sixteen. It was the worst time of my life.

A Turning Point

alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency Chris Otcasek Mr. Ohh!

Then I remembered the lessons from my early life: Try harder and laugh. It was not easy, and I still have some very bad times and mornings when I sob for a few minutes. First, I needed a job. The job I selected for myself was to write an entertaining blog. I would post once a week so I could maintain a high quality. Next, I decided the blog had to be humorous, a reason to laugh. I would beat all those from the past. I would laugh first and best. They would laugh with me…not at me.

You will never hear any of this in my blog because I choose not to mention it. I refuse to say anything related to it because it has become a sanctuary. My disease doesn’t exist inside my blog world. Well, thanks to my followers, it has worked. I have found a happy place inside the virtual world of Mr. Ohhs!’s Sideways View.

You can do it to. Look into yourself and create what you need and stop mentioning what it sad about you and turn yourself into a happy person. Laugh on!

Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency: How You Can Help

Before I end this, I’d like to say a bit more about Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency. It is a rare genetic disease. As I said there is no cure. What the Alphas need is blood proteins. These come from plasma donations. It takes twenty-five donations for me to get one dose of my infusion medication and I get an infusion once a week. I am not alone. Blood and plasma donations are very important and life saving to people like myself. Please considering donating this part of yourself to save many lives.

Also, the Alpha-1 Foundation is searching for a cure. If you would like to know more about this you can go to Alpha1.org.

Chris Otcasek (aka Mr. Ohh!)
Chris Otcasek (aka Mr. Ohh!)

Chris—aka Mr. Ohh!—is a blogger at Mr. Ohh!’s Sideways View. A former comedian who had to quit because of health issues, Chris works with theatre groups and had written several produced plays and murder mysteries. His radio drama, The Day I Was Santa Claus has been produced three times in Ohio, Colorado, and online. He has three children who are a constant source of inspiration and frustration, and is married to a beautiful woman who puts up with his crap almost every day.


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29 replies »

  1. Hi Chris,
    I love your story, and I love the way you got through the hard parts. Laughter is definitely the best way to survive a difficult childhood. I’ve found that looking for beauty helps as well. I crave beauty in my life because there was so much ugliness when I was little. So I surround myself with beautiful things, and find myself seeing beauty in nature, even if I’m not looking for it. It’s like God shows it to me because He knows I love seeing it.

    But humor also helps a lot. It doesn’t take ANYTHING to entertain me and make me laugh! My stepdad used to say that he could make me laugh just by saying, Pass the mustard. And because he said it, I’d start giggling!

    I wrote a post for my blog about beauty, called When Faith Becomes Sight. Here’s the link to it: https://godsnotthroughwithmeyet.com/2020/03/01/when-faith-becomes-sight/

    I hope you like it!!

  2. Yesterday, I watched AGT all the day. Some people are having some health and disability related issues.
    One comedian make me too much laugh because he has a problem to repeat a word two times.

    People appreciated his work. They are laughing on his jokes not on him. My best wishes to you Chris.🤗❤️💪

  3. I can really relate to Chris’ story. In my case, anything said to me was taken negatively due to my epilepsy, bipolar, and depression. In hindsight, not every kid in high school was a bully.

  4. Getting a diagnoses like that is tough, but at the same time, it’s liberating. I don’t have your disease, but finding out I was always sick, made moving on that much easier. Thanks for sharing. We need to let more people know that we will survive.

  5. toughest childhood imaginable…, probably…. but am physically healthy enough, I think.
    laughter is a great healer, I am sure…. an atmosphere of kindness, benevolence in it….

  6. Grew up poor and split between two families. Fortunately I’m from the south where kindness is a norm, so never really experienced any abuse per se, just always hungry.

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