Laughter, Still the Best Medicine

Just as it is hard to be angry and upset when we are laughing, don’t you find it hard to be discouraged when you feel gratitude?
Laughter, Still the Best Medicine
In: Column, Humor

Do you find it hard to be upset when you are laughing? I do. Here are some funny stories and jokes I like. You can laugh with me or at me; either way, I hope you feel better!

My wife, Mary, and I met at a college where my Dad was an administrator. When we began dating, Mary always called Dad “Mr. McNeely.” A short time after our wedding in 1978, Mary went to the Social Security Administration to update her official identity to match her new name. “So,” asked the nice lady across the desk, “how long have you been married to Mr. McNeely?” “Oh, no.” Mary blurted. “I didn’t marry Mr. McNeely. I married his son.” And I am so glad she did!

One summer, a college buddy, Doug Miller, was bragging about his cool job at a nearby Porsche dealership. I reflected on my job as a landscaper and wondered if I couldn’t put more of my talents to work while getting an education.

(I should have been a brain surgeon. Weeding a Dichondra lawn was the perfect preparation. Dichondra provides a beautiful, exotic, leafy, ornamental covering of the look-but-don’t-touch variety. You must buy a truckload of “Don’t Walk On The Grass!” signs when you seed with Dichondra. You must also battle Oxalis, a green, leafy weed that is indistinguishable from Dichondra by the naked human eye. I spent hours painstakingly digging the pink, thirty-foot tendril roots of the evil Oxalis out of the precious Dichondra. The only way you could find the weed was to wet the lawn, scout for patches where an electron microscope detected a slight variation in how the water beaded on the leaves, and mark the spot with a bamboo stake. My boss wasn’t amused by my suggestion that we let the Oxalis take over because you could play football on it without doing damage, and nobody would notice if we watered at night.)

Anyway, Doug told me about an opening at the Porsche dealership for a detailer. I loved to draw as a kid and thought putting pinstripes on Porsches would be a good outlet for the innate artist within. The interviewer asked me what experience I had; I told him I could draw pretty well. He looked at me as if I had three heads and thanked me for my time. How was I supposed to know “detail” is a word laborers came up with to make washing and vacuuming cars sound important?

Here is a joke my Mom likes to tell about customer service and quick thinking:

A husband and wife owned a little hardware shop in a small West Texas town. One day a stranger came in and asked if he could buy half a stovepipe. “You only want half a stovepipe?” asked the wife who was tending the register. “Yes, I only need half,” replied the stranger. She walked to the back room and said to her husband, “Some idiot just came in and asked for half a stovepipe.” She turned and, to her chagrin, noticed the would-be customer had followed her. “And, she said without missing a beat, “this nice gentleman would like the other half.”

Just as it is hard to be angry and upset when we are laughing, don’t you find it hard to be discouraged when you feel gratitude? This Thanksgiving, Mary and I are most thankful for our family, friends, and each other. We wish you and yours a joyous Thanksgiving filled with gratitude and laughter!

November 16, 2010

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