Tag Archives: humor

You Must Rock!

The political season is in full bloom and many ads will soon be bombarding us with “Gotcha- politics”.  Regardless of your political affiliation, both parties use this technique which is simply, to catch someone doing something that is going to hopefully make would be voters turn away from their opponent.

You don’t have to spend much time on the internet to discover a video of someone doing something incredibly dumb.

We walk into our boss’s office when he or she calls and expect to be told what we’ve screwed up.

How easy is it to walk in the door of your home with an expectation that something will be completed, or waiting for you, only to instantly know that the person you counted on let you down? (This asked by the mother of a teenage boy).

Tonight on my way home I picked up takeout food for my family’s dinner.  I was instantly annoyed when I noticed, as I was driving off that, the person who bagged my order had missed about ¼ of the order.  We are trained to catch others and ourselves doing something wrong.  Many of us have finely tuned radar that can scope out failure in a nanosecond.

What would it take to train ourselves to catch people doing something right?  Better yet, how about catching ourselves doing something right?  Why is it okay to notice the wrong, but to dismiss the right as the norm with little regard for the effort to secure it?

I’m not suggesting that we walk around issuing press releases every time we or someone else ties our shoes correctly.   Greg Behrendt has a pretty funny (comedy routine called “You must Rock”.  Unfortunately, the language is pretty vulgar, so I’m not going to put the link on my site, but it can be find pretty easily in a google search if you are curious.  One example he give is the comparison of how we treat rock stars.  They perform, while the crowd holds up signs and yells “We love you!”  Behrendt asks his listeners to consider what it would be like if we treated the person who makes our morning Latte or drywalls our kitchen, with the same level of excitement when they do their job in an amazing way.

So if you don’t want to hold up an “I love you sign” for your barista and chant his or her name, you can certainly do that with a tip, which is always appreciated.   But the tip goes in the jar and is split among everyone including the person who did not put in any extra effort.  How about taking the extra step and saying “Hey, thanks!” in a personal way like “You always do that so quickly!” or “How do you manage to stay so cheerful every day?”

Better still, are you as likely to call and recognize an employee for good service, as you might be when they mess up your order?”  This is something I really like having the opportunity to do.  Usually the manager comes to the call braced for a ripping and is so incredibly grateful to hear that I am complimenting their establishment or employees that it is great fun for me.

This week make it a point to catch someone doing something right.  And if you really want to have fun, catch yourself as well.

Smacked up side the head with perfection

 

 

 

For an audio version of this post, click on the link below:

To see the video referenced in the post click below:

 

 

There is a pretty funny video that circulated around the internet a while back. I’ll post the link on my website so you can watch it if you haven’t already seen it.

It’s in another language, but you don’t need to understand what they guys are saying to get it. There are three guys. Guy A shows guy B how to hold a wooden spoon in his mouth, bob his head up and down and use the spoon to smack Guy A on the top of the head as hard as he can while guy C looks on from behind Guy B. Guy A takes the spoon and demonstrates. Except what guy B doesn’t realize, is that Guy C secretly pulls out another spoon and whacks him painfully hard. He thinks that guy A has done it using only his mouth.

Now its time for B to give it a try and of course, he can only make a little tap on Guy A’s head. They repeat this sequence a couple of times. It’s funny and sad to watch, but if my description didn’t make it clear, take a look.

I’m not sharing this due to my secret love of sadistic video. Rather, it made me think about how people try and “win” at something they think others are doing, without ever realizing that the deck is stacked and they never had a fighting chance. Yet, they will pursue their goal over and over again in an attempt to achieve the unachievable, all the while berating themselves for their inadequacy.

Women try to look like supermodels with flawless skin. It’s flawless because the photo has been airbrushed.

Ever try to prepare a recipe that looks like one in a magazine? I once met a photographer who does food shots. She told me that food for photos is prepared differently, and is usually inedible because it is made to appear attractive for the camera and is often cooked improperly for consumption.

Ever compare your relationship to someone else’s and find that that same couple ends up divorced and no one saw it coming?

Real people are not perfect. Their houses, cars, clothes, relationships are not perfect. Heidi Klum is divorced. Steve Jobs died of cancer. Johnny Depp didn’t finish high school. Nor did Robert Downy Jr. or Walt Disney.   Oprah was fired from her job as a news anchor in Baltimore.

I’m going to share with you one of my favorite all time pieces of printed material. This comes from the book Breaking Free from Compulsive Eating by Geneen Roth.

Real people feel some kind of discomfort every day of their lives. Being born hurts. Living hurts. Dying hurts. If we know that, if we don’t expect to be happy all the time, then we don’t have to feel frightened or cursed when, inevitably we are in pain. The expectation that pain is bad, abnormal, or avoidable creates fear and confusion when pain arises. It also creates varied and complex systems within us that are designed to avoid pain at all costs.

Most people never touch the bottom of their pain. They become compulsive instead, and in so doing, they exchange one pain, that of being alive, for another, the pain of compulsion.

Neither road is easy. Compulsion is painful, and living without compulsion is painful. Compulsion has its joys, so does living without it. The biggest advantage I see in living without compulsion is that you stop being afraid of the pain.

 

What would it take for you to be willing to look at your pain without the veil of compulsion? Or without the veil of perfection.

 

Bad Hair

 

 

 

For an audio version click on the link below- If you are listening on a smart phone scroll to the end of the message and click on the sound icon.

 

I’m having a bad hair day. I pretty much have bad hair days through most of April and August because these are the months it rains a lot in St. Louis and the humidity makes my hair fat. And occasionally I have bad hair days at other times,  but I also have some really good hair days. Today isn’t one of them,  but I do know the difference.

I didn’t always though. When I was a kid I had this wild mound of super curly black hair. Actually it’s pretty much the same as I have now, just with no gray mixed in. I also didn’t have some of the great hair products I use now to keep my locks from oozing into the personal space of a person standing next to me.

Just about everyone I knew while I was growing up had silky straight blonde or light brown hair. But not me. So I felt like an odd duck. Okay I felt like an ugly duck. An ugly duck with bad untamable hair that had a mind of its own.

My mom, bless her heart, tried to do everything she could. I would lay my head on the ironing board while she tried to flatten it out. Not my head, just my hair. I can pick up the scent of singed hair a mile away. Over the years I tried every imaginable straightener on my own and professionally. I’ve spent a fortune on brushes, hair dryers, curling irons and OMG my retirement fund went entirely for creams, shampoos, conditioners, hot oil treatments and I can’t remember what else.

When I was about 4 my severely mentally retarded brother ran a wind up car through my hair. Cutting it out did not leave pretty results. Try picturing RoseAnn Rosannadanna with chopped out sections.

Along the way of my life, people would say “is it natural?” My answer was always “Who would pay to do this to themselves?” Others, (including my mother with baby fine poker straight hair) would say “oh you are so lucky”. I didn’t feel lucky.

But a few years ago,   I did what the popular movie Frozen says.   I “let it go”.   I let my curls be whatever they wanted to be for the most part plus or minus a little anti frizz stuff.

Ironically, or not so, it’s not that unusual when a stranger says to me, an adult, “I love your hair”.   And now I realize in fact that I AM lucky. My sister told me recently had left the house a couple times recently and realized once she was out and about haven forgotten to comb her hair. I can’t remember the last time I combed my hair. I don’t even own a hairbrush. I used to spend an hour a day blow drying my hair out. Now, my morning routine is pretty much limited to a 3 second glance in the mirror just to make sure no wild animals burrowed in during the night. We live on wooded acreage. It could happen.

Am I really writing an entire post about my hair? Nope. Stay tuned.

Recently, I received contact from a friend from about 30 years ago. Although we’re still trying to catch up on each other’s lives, one thing has become oddly apparent. Who she knew back then and who I knew her to be were two people that clearly did not exist. We both credited the other with possessing skills and strengths that were far from grounded in reality.

Perhaps we are simply blind or too inexperienced in our youth to see things of value properly. Maybe I will learn in 20 years that the things I think I see today are just as misguided. But what I now know is that my hair hasn’t changed much. I just have learned to see it from a very different lens. And similarly, the girl I was, back when my friend knew me, desperately wanted to live a life in which she could feel legitimate. The problem was that she took cues from everyone else to determine what that might/should be. It was only once I began to listen to my own voice somewhere along the way I created a life I recognized. I know today there are still people who see me as something they think I am, rather than who I really am. The difference is that i now understand it is their vision that is off, rather than whatever mask I have put forward.

I stopped wearing masks a long time ago. I found they messed up my hair.

Are there parts of yourself that you could appreciate in someone else, but fail to embrace within yourself?

Do people know you? Or do you let them know who you want them to see? Are you hiding your best attributes in fear that they won’t be good enough?

Do you try to mold parts of yourself into someone else or society’s criteria?

Are you judging yourself by a standard that is far more harsh than you would extend to another?

Is it okay to not be the same as everyone else? Or even the same as everyone expects you to be?

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog. I’d love to hear your comments. If you found this helpful, I hope you’ll pass it on to someone else.   Until next time, take good care.

Something worth laughing about

 

 

 

 

For an audio version of this post click on the link below or scroll to the end of the message on a smartphone and click on the sound icon-

 

A bear walks into a bar and says to the bartender, “I’ll have a whisky and …… soda”. The bartender says, “Why the big pause?”. “Dunno,” says the bear. “I’ve always had them.”

I wanted to help you burn a few calories.

Maciej Buchowski, a researcher from Vanderbilt University, conducted a small study in which he measured the amount of calories expended in laughing. It turned out that 10-15 minutes of laughter burned 50 calories.

Did you know that laughter triggers the release of endorphins which are our bodies “feel good” chemicals? Endorphins promote an overall sense of well-being and can even temporarily relieve pain.

Laughter protects the heart. Laughter improves the function of blood and increases good cholesterol. Laughter protects the function of blood vessels and increases blood flow, which can help protect you against a heart attack and other cardiovascular problems.

The act of laughing Stimulates many organs. It enhances your intake of oxygen-rich air, stimulates your heart, lungs and muscles.

 

Some studies have shown that the ability to use humor may raise the level of infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells, as well.

One study of 19 people with diabetes looked at the effects of laughter on blood sugar levels. After eating, the group attended a tedious lecture. On the next day, the group ate the same meal and then watched a comedy. After the comedy, the group had lower blood sugar levels than they did after the lecture

 

Laughter, along with an active sense of humor, may help protect you against a heart attack, according to a recent study by cardiologists at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. The study, which is the first to indicate that laughter may help prevent heart disease, found that people with heart disease were 40 percent less likely to laugh in a variety of situations compared to people of the same age without heart disease.

 

One of the most powerful “fat-burning” hormones is HGH (Human Growth Hormone).  There is also evidence that HGH aids muscle growth somewhat as well. Laughter, according to one older study, strongly increases (by 80%) HGH levels. That means that “laughing your ass off” may be quite literally true.

So this is actually a serious laughing matter. But please don’t rely on my jokes.

Instead you might

Read a funny book by authors like David Sedaris,

Watch funny TV- Big Bang Theory

Watch Funny movies: I love stupid humor like Christmas Vacation, Airplane, Police Academy. The other night I re-watched the Pink Panther movies with Steve Martin.

Hang out with funny people

Look at pictures of yourself as a kid with big teeth and even bigger hair

Play silly games- the kind that take you outside your comfort zone

Try Laughter Yoga- I am not making this one up- it really does exist.

And if you just can’t find anything funny to laugh at…. Then just laugh for no reason.

Instead of finishing this off with another corny joke, I’ll offer you one of my favorite quotes instead by Marjorie Pay Hinckley:

The only way to get through life is to laugh your way through it

You either have to laugh or cry

I prefer to laugh -Crying gives me a headache

 

Ain’t Misbehavin- Or are they?

Aint Misbehavin- Or are they?

 

 

 

 

To listen click the link below.  On a smartphone, you may need to scroll to the end of the message and look for the sound icon.

Do you have days, (weeks or years) when it feels like someone or everyone is just not behaving “right”? Of course, right as defined by you.

The reality is we all have to sometimes experience relationships where the other person’s choices and behaviors can make us pretty darn unhappy. Sometimes we simply choose to walk away. But what about when that person is our spouse… or our boss? Yikes.

One of my favorite stories comes from Psychiatrist Harriet Lerner formerly of the Menninger Clinic in Topeka. It’s a personal story she told at a lecture many years ago about an encounter she had with her then 4 year old son Matthew. Lerner walked in her kitchen to find Matthew cutting an apple with a very sharp knife. Here is her account:

 

Lerner: Matthew, put down that knife. You’re going to hurt yourself.

Matthew: no I won’t

Lerner: Yes you will

Matthew: No I won’t

Lerner, pauses to think and comes back with: “Put down the knife because mommy is afraid you will hurt yourself”.

Matthew: “That’s your problem”.

Pausing again, realizing her son has once again outsmarted her strategy to change his behavior.

“You’re right. And I’m going to take care of my problem by taking the knife away from you.”

 

I probably think of Lerner’s story about once a week. It helps me to pause and think about “who has the problem?”

I’ll give you two recent examples.

The other night my son Alex and I went to dinner at a family friendly Mexican restaurant. The hostess seated us in a section where we were the only two people. About halfway through our meal two couples entered with small children. The waiters began setting the table up for a larger group. Within minutes blood curdling screams began to flood out of various children while they ran around the table as if someone had ignited a flame to their hair. Perhaps they were only looking for a way to put out the potential flames, but the parents responded quickly by ordering larger Margarita’s.

First thought- Those are awful people with big problems.

Second thought- I have a problem in that I am not enjoying the atmosphere where I’m eating.

I had a couple of choices. I could have yelled at them, or even asked them nicely to muzzle their children with duct tape. I could have asked that they buy a round of Margaritas for Alex and me, but he is underage and I had to drive home.   I could have asked to be moved to another section of the restaurant. But in reality we were fairly near completion of our dinner. So we finished up and left. We solved our problem. But it also turned into a great discussion with Alex, about how he and his brother behaved in restaurants when they were small. He asked how we had handled things in the past and we had an enjoyable ride home talking about stories.

 

Next scenario: My husband has a gift for calling me at the most inopportune time. Seriously, it’s like he divines the perfect moment when I’m in the car, about to go through the drive through or the news anchor is finally going to tell the story he has been teeing up through 5 commercial breaks. If you’ve ever been around me when my phone rings, I have a very dramatic ring tone to signal my husband is calling. A man with a deep dramatic voice says “Oh no, it’s Ben calling, what does he want… what   does     he   want? While dramatic music plays. (Yes, if you’re counting, that IS a lot of drama).

I mean this guy has a real problem right? Wrong. He’s just calling at the moment he either wants to tell or ask me something. The problem is mine. It’s that I obviously forget the phone has a silent option, or better still that to date, no laws have been passed mandating the picking up of a call when it comes in.   The problem has to do with why I feel compelled to answer it and interrupt MYSELF. (But I’ll figure that out on my own time)

I get it, these are small examples and when it’s your boss grinding on your last nerve more days than not it is harder. Or how about when you have a mother-in law that can rival Mrs. Wollowitz from The Big Bang Theory. I’m not suggesting a simplistic solution here. Only that you begin to look at what parts of tough situations you can have an impact on versus exhausting yourself with trying to manipulate those you cannot. And when you can’t take an action, you can still employ some of the techniques discussed in the last couple of posts, regarding the relieving of tension through philosophies of meditation and yoga.   At very least, when you feel you can’t DO a behavior to change your frustration in the moment; you can at least NOT DO something. With a clear head and reduced tension you can at least pause and use the pre-frontal cortex of your brain. This is where logic and reason are stored, rather than the Amygdala’s fight or flight response. The latter can prompt you into ordering larger Margarita’s or throwing your cell phone out the window. And remember, although Silence is Golden and Duct tape is Silver… it should still never be used on children.

 

I hope you enjoyed todays post And if you did, that you’ll forward the blog on to someone else. As always I appreciate your feedback, comments and challenges!

 

Hear an angel, there an angel

for an audio version of this post, click on the link below- if you are listening on a smartphone, you may have to scroll to the end of the post and look for the sound icon

 

 

We went to the airshow last weekend. It was a great day weather wise and the show was exciting.   The highlight for me, however was an exchange I had with my youngest son.

Because he anticipated the loud noise, my husband thought ahead to bring earplugs for each of us, which he distributed before we got out of the car. Once the Blue Angels were in full force Andrew and I both put ours on. These are the little foam chunk type of ear plugs. You basically squish them to stick them in your ear and they expand to block out loud noise. However, you can still hear a fair amount going on around you. Well, most people can, but my hearing is not that great to begin with.

A few minutes into the show however, Andrew began talking to me about what was going on around us. I told him I couldn’t hear him and he should wait. At that point, he pulled out one of his ear plugs and began to repeat what he said. It never occurred to him that taking out his ear plug, made neither his voice or my ears sharper. A little bit later he leaned in and said “if you want to talk to me, you don’t have to take your ear plugs out, I can still hear you.”

Have I mentioned before that Andrew is in fact gifted? He has a high IQ and is especially strong in math and science skills. Seriously he is. But he is also what I often refer to in a very loving tone as “a dumb little kid”. And as he continues to grow by leaps and bounds each day, it is that this child- like silliness that I will miss the most as he matures.

John Cabot Zinn is responsible for one of my favorite quotes which is, “Think of children as Zen masters in little bodies. They will teach you every lesson you need to learn in life”. It would be hard for me to pick out the millions of lessons my children teach me every day, which of them is the most important. (because I can certainly be a dumb adult). But the one I’m writing about today is of how it important it is to be able to laugh at myself. I’ve spent a life time trying to be smart enough, when in fact, one of the things I find so endearing about my child is the places where he is not yet “smart like the world”. It is an innocence so pure that it melts my heart. And it doesn’t feel too badly when I apply it to my own inadequacies as well.