Finding Your Funny    

Photo Find Funny

Somewhere between sorrow and euphoria, there is an emotional part of us that tends to lie dormant. We forget to give it a proper workout, so it languishes there patiently awaiting its turn. It’s our funny gene. We all have one; some are geared to an audience (the stand-up comic variety) and some are for private use only (the proper giggle type).

Whether we laugh out loud or chuckle to ourselves, we should all work to flex our happy muscles. In the course of a day, there are probably more than a few instances where the personal interpretation of our experiences will fall short of our expectations. That’s where the funny gene comes in. Once we unleash it, it overrides the negativity and the anxiousness of the moment, much like that ocean wave that knocks you down and spins you around until you get all that saltwater up your nose and sand inside your bathing suit. I got carried away, but you get the idea. Basically, it lightens our outlook and gives us an internal “thumbs-up.”

Are you ready to get started? OK, think of the last time you scolded yourself for something that happened to you. Rather than playing it over and over again in your head, find the humor in it (it’s there somewhere, just look for it). Now replay it and yuk it up a bit; that’s it! It’s not that difficult; a few minutes of soul searching can make all the difference.

I discovered this phenomenon quite by accident when my attempts at being graceful always seemed to be thwarted by an unwelcome visit from the awkward fairy:

– When all eyes were on me, as I walked proudly through a seated crowd at a business luncheon, only to find out that a huge cloth napkin was still dangling from my belt.

– When, at a chance meeting with 2 CEOs, the mint I was sucking on fell out of my mouth and they both politely dove down to pick it up, thinking it was my tooth.

– When a planned dramatic entrance down our family home’s staircase one date night fortunately only led to 2 bloody knees and a bruised ego.

– When my date gallantly opened my car door on prom night, then accidently shut it on my fingers resulting in me washing the blood off my white gown, drying it under the ladies room hand dryer and wearing 2 white gloves stuffed with tissues on my one hand (in a tribute to Michael Jackson) to stop the bleeding.

Science has already proven that laughter can make us look and feel younger, cure illnesses and extend our lives. Take it from 95-year-old Carl Reiner and his 2 nonagenarian pals, Norman Lear and Mel Brooks. Together, they have been laughing for over 279 years and are still writing, producing and acting. Carl Reiner says he starts each day glancing at the obituaries. If he doesn’t see his name, he has breakfast.

Don’t take yourself so seriously; remember you are laughing with yourself, not at yourself. It’s time to reboot! The last thing you want is a flabby laugh physique due to inactivity. So, drop and give me 50… chortles or cackles, your choice.


Laugh and the Family Laughs With You

Injecting a sense of humor into everyday tasks threw my family off just enough so that before they realized it, my goals were accomplished and happiness prevailed.

When Big A* was too young to get a job, but old enough to become a consumer, I would say “Go check the frig!” There, he would find jobs posted, along with details and the fee paid:

  • “Go Where No Man has Gone Before”: vacuum under the sofa cushions.
  • “Wanted: Mountain Climbing Experience”: use step ladder to dust book shelves.
  • “Spa Day for Legos”: fill up bath tub with bubbles, wash Legos, dry on towels.
  • “Shoe Biz”: polish our shoes.

To lift spirits in the morning, I created the shower note. On special occasions, the event was immortalized (until the water was turned on) on the shower wall, spelled out in shaving cream.

Once, when houseguests were almost upon us, I had to think quickly as to how to get the ceiling repaired. Mr. Wiz* kept procrastinating. Rather than nag (also can be effective, just takes longer), I wrote a poem and left it on his dresser:
If you want to get that feeling
That will really leave you reeling
And you know with whom you’re dealing
Come on, and fix that ceiling!

Ten minutes later, I heard Mr. Wiz chuckle and then noticed him brush the dust off his tool kit and get to work.

After that, I was a one-woman comedy show, introducing new material with abandon: serving hot dog shaped hamburgers in hot dog rolls, leaving notes on bananas. You never knew what to expect next. I was Lucille Ball meets Martha Stewart and we were a laughing, well-oiled machine.

It’s a busy world out there and your to-do list is not going anywhere, so loosen up, uncover your sense of humor and take your show on the road.

*Who’s who? See “Cast of Characters” on the “About” page.