Good morning, and happy Friday! I hope your day is off to a great start.
I heard from an old friend this week who implored me to spend a little more time focusing on humor. I think that was her way of telling me to get a life. It’s not that she doesn’t appreciate the motivational stuff, but after a while even I think, “Lighten up!”
When I look back over my life, it’s hard to find something I can’t laugh about. Even things that seemed pretty severe at the moment are funny later. Like the time I whacked myself in the forehead with a 20-pound sledgehammer. Take a moment to picture how that could have happened. If you know me, it’s not hard. When I do stupid, I don’t mess around.
I was doing some demolition work in a bowling alley, swinging the hammer down into the ball return tracks to knock wooden strips from the floor. There were some obstacles I had to work around, like opposing 2x4s extending from under the lanes, leaving a gap of six inches for a hammer that was four inches wide. What could possibly go wrong?
Well, I learned a valuable lesson that night. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve successfully swung through that narrow opening without missing. You’re only as good as your last swing. And mine, as luck would have it, went a little bit to the left. I also learned that if you’re gonna hit a piece of thick wood with a 20-pound hammer, don’t hit it across the grain. Boing!!!
The recoil must have taken the hammer out of my hands completely. That or my arms stretched a foot longer as my wrists inverted, allowing the flat part of the hammer to find the center of my forehead. When I woke up, there were a dozen people hovering over me, and a co-worker asking, “Is he day-ed???” That’ll get your heart pumping.
I didn’t laugh that night. I didn’t laugh the next day, either. But fast-forward three years later when the Navy doctor was trying to get to the bottom of my migraines and asked if I’d ever done anything to cause them. “Well, I smacked myself in the head with a sledgehammer.” I’m pretty sure his next sentence included the word “dumbass.”
Sometimes, it takes a few years to find the funny. That’s okay. With something like that, it’s worth the wait. Believe me, I’ve shared that story at least a hundred times. In fact, it’s my default explanation every time I do something really stupid. And it works! I could put firecrackers in the microwave, and the conversation immediately changes. “You hit yourself with a what?”
Okay, I know you’re dying to know where that one came from. Yes, there is a story involving Dave and firecrackers and a microwave oven. In my defense, I was only 16 and, according to Dad’s car insurance company, still prone to random acts of stupidity. The firecracker was wet, and I wanted to dry it out. It worked. Instantly. Who needs fuses when you’ve got an idiot with a magnetron?
I could probably write a book about all the stupid things I’ve done over the years, but nobody would believe one person could mastermind all those blunders. Mom wouldn’t argue. She’s the one who peeled me off the wall after I found two suitcase keys on a small chain and plugged them into an electric outlet. That fuse didn’t last long, either.
When my grandson was nine, we were driving home from church and he said, “Grandpa, when you die …” He paused, and I said, “What about when you die?” He said, “No, when YOU die …” Okay, that went downhill fast. Still, it was an innocent question. “What about when I die, buddy?” Without missing a beat he asked, “Can I have your motorcycle?”
Here, I thought we were having a deep spiritual conversation, and he was just trying to get dibs on Grandpa’s stuff. A week later he asked for my pool table. “No, you can’t have my pool table and you can’t have my motorcycle. Now get that toaster away from my bath water!” I’m kidding. He didn’t need a toaster. He’d heard the stories and figured it was just a matter of time.
Humor finds its way into the darkest of moments. There was nothing funny about my dad passing away. But his insistence that I drive him to Fort Lauderdale to see Mom (who’s been gone 26 years) made me wonder if he was trying to help my grandson inherit a pool table. Dad always liked him anyway.
We are among the only creatures on the planet with the ability to laugh. It’s a gift, one that grows exponentially when we share it with others. Finding the humor is easy. Practice a little and it’ll show up when you least expect it. And the boss’s expression when it happens in the middle of a presentation – priceless.
That’s all for now. Have an awesome day!
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