A Teaching Moment

Something very unpleasant happened to me over the weekend.  Something so unpleasant that I can’t even bring myself to share the raw details.  Suffice it to say, it was not pretty, nor was I prepared for it.  Quite honestly, I am still scraping up my remains as a result of the endless band of yoga pant wearing mommies who angrily ran me over in their minivan parade a few days ago.  Wow.

Maybe I deserved it or maybe I didn’t, but at the end of the day, no one likes a cry baby, so I’m going to keep any amount of whining that I feel is completely justified given the circumstances, to myself.

What I am not going to do is allow such a wonderful teaching opportunity escape me.

Please take your seats students and allow me to present today’s lesson (Feel free to take notes.).

HOW TO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR IN SIX STEPS (www.wikihow.com/Have-a-Sense-of-Humor, with Jill Veldhouse as a co-contributor for purposes of this blog post only).

Step 1: Find your funny bone.  If you’re physically looking for it right now, please stop.  More importantly, stop reading now.  You are well beyond the scope of what I am able to teach you here.  God speed though.

Step 2: Know the difference between being funny and having a sense of humor. “Both are important, and it’s usually difficult to have one without the other, but it’s not impossible.” For example, you might completely suck at telling jokes, but appreciate and appropriately laugh at a good joke when told by someone who is in fact funny.  It’s okay.  Be aware of your limitations and accept the fact that your funny bone (again not a real bone) just isn’t very funny.  I’m sure you’re good at other things.

Step 3: Understand context. “What might be humorous, or even funny, could also be seen as clueless, or even tasteless, depending on the situation.” Scroll through a few of my recent blog posts for specific examples on this one.  The take home message is simple.  If you don’t fully understand the context, something that was intended to be funny might easily offend you.  In this case, the fault usually lies with the ineffectiveness of the story teller, unless the story tellee unequivocally just sucks as a person, then it’s anyone’s best guess.

Step 4: Stay above the fray“To develop a sense of humor about things, try and stay objective. Much that we call humor is victim related (e.g. the guy who slips on a banana peel,” the dumbbell wielding crazy mom at the park, etc.). “If you are that person who slipped on the banana peel and ended up in traction for six months, you might not find the banana peel jokes funny at all.” And for good reason.  Whoever made that joke in front of you is an insensitive jerk and clearly doesn’t have a good grasp of context and/or what is funny (See steps 2 and 3 above).

Step 5: Lighten up. “Not everybody’s humor will be the same as yours, and what might tickle them to death might make you yawn, or even make you throw sharp objects in their general direction.” Seriously, you don’t have to analyze and judge everything.  It’s exhausting and quite frankly, no one gives a shit.  Find a hobby, unrelated to anything involved with being funny or having a sense of humor.  Maybe try knitting.

Step 6: Watch and learn.  “If you’ve already got a sense of humor, you know what makes you laugh. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you have a lot to learn.”  To those less fortunate souls, may I humbly suggest that the first step you take be to remove the giant stick from your terribly constricted anus in a gingerly fashion.  You certainly don’t want to rip it off like a band aid.  It’s likely been in there for a while.  Proceed with caution, but do it nonetheless.

Or call me. I’d be happy to do it for you.

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