Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Best Medicine

I have never been good at remembering jokes. When we were little, my brother Carl would have me in stitches with his “Sandler-esque” humor. Unlike his older sister, he never forgot the punch lines. I like to tell self-deprecating goofy stories, but jokes are not my strength. On the other hand, Frank, a checker at our neighborhood market sees me coming. I try to avoid him because I know he’ll try to make me laugh, and purchasing groceries isn’t supposed to be that funny. Yesterday I realized I was in the wrong line when I looked up and saw him, but I didn’t want to be rude so I just looked down as he told the customer in front of me another corny joke. “What’s the deal with this guy?” I thought. “He’s slowing down the line with his chit-chat.”

Next, it was my turn. I looked around and saw no customers at the other register, but it was too late to make a run for it. “Here we go again,” I said to myself. It was the old joke about the plane taking off and crashing right on the border between two countries, and with this dilemma where should they bury the survivors? (Punch line: survivors are not buried—duh). Frank spiced up the details with a very emphatic fact: “They were serving chicken cordon bleu on board.” (Huh?) The joke would have made me snicker faintly out of respect at a party, but suddenly I considered the fact that I was standing in a grocery store checkout line with this guy trying to make me laugh, and Macy, the bagger, arguing with him about his poor delivery and the fact that it was really “her joke” in the first place. That’s when I started to laugh. I mean, really, when was the last time the grocery store checker tried to entertain you? I was still giggling on my way out to the car, and it didn’t even bother me that there was a squished tomato all over of the bag, inside and out! This is the same market where another checker and I celebrated his son’s home run last Saturday, so it's obviously a different kind of store.

For those of us who tend to take life too seriously at times, there are people in our midst who can help us stay just a little off balance. My coworker Meri is another such being. She happened to be wearing a heart monitor under her striped sweater today for a routine medical test. We ate lunch in a nearby restaurant, and someone’s cell phone rang with a beeping tone. Meri said, “Oh dear, am I beeping?” I tried to keep a straight face, “Are you supposed to beep?” We both started cackling that maybe she was in need of medical assistance and it was good that we were at least near a hospital. Meri is in good health, thank goodness, but we enjoyed joking about the adhesive sensors poking out from her shirt all day—she looked like she had escaped from her hospital bed. I’m thankful Meri likes to laugh.

My daughter Sheridan also has the laughter gene. I know she didn’t get it from me, but it’s rubbing off over time. She’s even started her own blog to lighten our hearts. Lots of funny stories are on their way. She is the ringleader of the three girls, so when they get started, watch out! Sometimes Brody and I just stand back and call them “The Three Stooges.” Laughter is their common language, and they speak it frequently when they are together. They try to teach me this “giddy teenage girl” dialect. The only time I remember succeeding in their league was a few years ago when we were attmpting to catch a bee in Sheridan’s room. I kept swatting and missing, with the kids screaming out the transient location of the pest. After several attempts, I fell into a heap on the floor and we laughed until tears started flowing. Fortunately, it doesn’t take a bee, a heart monitor, or an old joke to get these girls started. All they need is a few minutes in the same room. Maybe that’s a privilege of youth, but it’s refreshing to know that characters like Frank the checker, Macy the bagger, and Meri the teacher can also remind us that it’s okay to look for laughter in our days.

Cool Volunteering/Community Service Tip:

If you like to tell stories and jokes, or if you just like to make others smile...

1.) Spend some time volunteering in a local convalescent home or assisted living facility. They love to have people from the community visit. Contact the volunteer coordinator to schedule, whether just once or on a weekly/monthly basis.

2.) The clown lives! Check out Ronald McDonald House Charities for great volunteering opportunities near you:

1 comment:

Yours Truly said...

What a great story! Laughing really is the best medicine and can lighten up any dull day.

Here is some advice from a successful blogger who I read on occassion: