My dad had a great sense of humor and he was kind enough to give it to me in a lot of different forms – stories, jokes, puns, sarcasm. He taught me to stand back and look at things as if it were a movie. Many times, when you do this, you are able to see the humor in the situation.
He also used laughter as a defense. When he was 3, he fell off a horse, breaking his arm so badly that the doctors barely saved it. The result was a left arm much shorter than his right and a curled up, essentially useless hand. When kids at school bullied him, he made them laugh. They decided they liked him and wanted to be around him, so the bullying stopped. This ability served him well his whole life, allowing him to get married, have two kids, provide for everyone using his humor and talent to create radio commercials for his clients. He won an Addy Award for lifetime achievement in Tulsa. When he died, he scrawled on a piece of paper, “Remember me laughing.”
He gave us love and a priceless tool for handling many of the tough things in life. I can’t count the number of times that being able to see and share the humor in a situation has helped me – plus those dealing with me.
This morning is a good example of how being able to see the humor has saved my husband and our marriage! We were upstairs trying to program our ‘smart’ thermostat to cool down in the evening before we go to bed, keep it cool while we sleep, and then turn off during the day. The idea is that you set the time and day of the week, then start with day 1, setting heat and cool for each ‘period’ of the day – morn, day, afternoon, and evening with temp for heat and then for cool. When you finish one day’s programming, you can then copy it to all the other days and then get out of programming mode, setting it to ‘cool’ or ‘heat.’
We have just tried to do this four times, laboriously going through the long list of directions. When we finish, we get out of the programming mode, putting it to ‘cool.’ And it immediately turns on the a/c and starts to cool it down. WRONG! Plus – the ‘prog’ mode indicator is flashing. We don’t know if the thermostat is messed up or we’re having a serious case of user stupidity or what. We started getting really frustrated and angry, and then I was able to stand back and look at the two senior citizens – frustrated and angry – arguing over the thermostat being smarter than we were, and I started to laugh. When my husband asked, ‘what the hell are you laughing about?” I laughed even harder. Finally, he started to laugh, too. It diffused the situation – even though it’s still true that the thermostat is smarter than we are. We have now called and left a message with our go-to guy on heat and cooling…