I love to kid. I love to tease. I love to laugh.
I also know that sometimes I do things which cause people to laugh. No, it is not the funny stories I tell (the ones I think are funny). Sometimes it is the things I do–unintentionally. For instance, I loose my keys–a lot.
For many years I have been looking for my keys. "Why don’t you keep them in your pocket?" you say. Because I just don’t like the way that big clump of keys feels. So, I have them in my hands and I sometimes misplace them. A few examples of where I’ve lost my keys through the years:
- Hanging on a hook in a bathroom stall in a Shoney’s restaurant in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Unfortunately, a man went into the stall after I left. On that Saturday morning, we were with a group of ten, all of whom had to wait outside the bathroom until the man came out. (At that point, the Kirkland’s gave me a device to attach to my keys, which would help me find them if they were lost. Whistle and the the thing beeped).
- In a trash can in a McDonald’s in Atlanta. I had to put my left arm into that can in order to fish them out.
- In the meat-counter in a Kroger. I went up and down the meat isle searching for my keys.
- In a bathroom at Harding Graduate School of Religion (Memphis, Tn.). Unfortunately, I first thought I had misplaced them in Dr. Phil Slate’s office (the Dean of the school at the time). He got down on his hands and knees to look on the floor for my keys. (This one still embarrasses me).
- In the book stacks of Baylor University Library. Unfortunately, it took me awhile to retrace my steps.
- On the bleachers at a visiting high school basketball game. Fortunately, they were still there after the game.
Is that enough? These are what I can remember at the moment. There are many, many more examples. Isn’t that funny? You may as well laugh!
I love people who can and do laugh at themselves. They have a way of putting people at ease. Don’t you just feel comfortable around a person like that?
I also know people who I wouldn’t dare tease. They are overly serious. That is–overly serious about themselves. They also have a way of getting people to become tense when they are around. If someone laughs at them, they turn the situation into an opportunity for a personal cut.
No thanks. I like people like my friend Bill Petty and so many other people whose sense of self is so strong, they can laugh at themselves.
Did you do something silly today? Slip on a step? Stub your foot on the carpet? Lose your keys? Did you ask for help when the information was right in front of you? Why not laugh? If others laugh, why not laugh with them?
Yes there is a time to get serious. However, I want to save my seriousness for things that matter. For all those other times, when funny things happen, I want to laugh.
Today, when you do something silly, what if you choose to laugh about it? What if you refuse to get defensive or sensitive? What impact would this have on the people around you?
(I’ve often placed a cup of coffee on the page of this blog. Today, I placed a diet coke, remembering all of those who start their day with a diet coke or similar instead of coffee. There are quite a number of you).