Wednesday, March 30, 2011

P4E.208 Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh at Yourself...

We have a couple of rabbits that live in hutches in our backyard. (We have a couple more that live inside, too. Don't ask me why two live outside and two live inside. I don't really know myself!) On Saturday morning, before leaving to do some errands, I was going to feed the backyard rabbits. I usually fill a large tumbler with water to re-fill the water bottles and gather the parsley for the rabbits. I had bird food for our Australian Zebra Finches that are in the outdoor aviary as well. I was in my socks and as I set it all by the back door before I went to get my shoes, I spilled a bunch of the water on the floor and immediately stepped into it with my stockinged feet. I was in a hurry and I groaned, knowing this would set me back a couple of minutes.

I tried to figure out what to do first. Should I take my socks off? Should I get a paper towel and mop up the floor? If I walk more I'll get water everywhere. Did I have any other socks I could wear? Should I go ahead and finish feeding the rabbits and birds first? I know it sounds silly, but I just froze in indecision and heaved a big sigh.

My wife, Gwen, had ignored the first groan. With the sigh she turned and asked "What's the matter?" Exasperated, I replied "Well, I spilled the water and stepped in it and now my socks are wet and I just don't know what to do first!" Gwen turned back to washing the dishes and said, "You know Kim, sometimes you just have to laugh at yourself..."

I involuntarily laughed. Not at myself, mind you. I was laughing at the very idea that I should laugh at myself in these circumstances. I know that my father did the best he knew how in raising me and I do my best to hold no grudges. But, he did not set an example of laughing at himself or at circumstances when things went wrong. Things got very serious and explosive around my house when things went wrong. There was a lot of yelling and exploding eyeballs and exasperation and sarcasm and fuming. There could be humor, but it usually had its roots in cynicism, in sarcasm, and in mocking. Failure was not tolerated well.

In any case, that is the past and I am responsible for my own behavior now. I have done (and even excelled in) what was modelled for me, but it doesn't have to continue. So, now I seriously consider the value of having a sense of humor (LOL!).

Many studies show (and we know by our own experience) that women are attracted to men with a sense of humor. Not the crude kind of humor. Not the kind that belittles or mocks others. Not cynical or sarcastic humor. Not the kind of humor that deflects or defers the seriousness of a serious situation. But, women value the kind of humor that can lighten a burdensome situation. The kind of humor that allows a man to laugh at himself. Women appreciate the kind of good humor that minimizes or overlooks their mistakes, missteps, errors and failures (Indeed, I think everyone does).

A good sense of humor is not something I can generate overnight. Even without taking my upbringing into account, I am a pretty serious guy by nature. I don't like making mistakes. I don't like looking like a fool. I'm easily embarrassed and don't naturally see the humor in situations that cause me inconvenience or cost me time and/or money. But, I think just becoming self-aware of this about myself is a start (To be truthful, I did not become self-aware, I needed my "help"). Letting go of pride and replacing it with a sense of humor is something I want and can have...if I can just laugh at myself. A laugh will beat a frown every time.


  1. you are a racist bigot

  2. I love laughing. I really do. But it's taken time to get to a place of letting myself do that more (particularly, as you say, in the messy moments :)

  3. Anonymous - In the spirit of finding a seed of truth in every criticism, I have edited this blog post to remove what I believe were the offending sentences. I really don't believe I am a racist bigot, since I am myself a "person of color." Maybe I let my own self-loathing get the better of me. Anyway, I edited the post so that you and future readers would not be distracted from my true intent in writing it.

  4. LL - Yes, I love laughing too. It's laughing AT MYSELF that is the real struggle!

    Also, I am challenged to prepare my heart in such a way as to NOT laugh at inappropriate things or at inappropriate times.

  5. After reading this post, a friend e-mailed this:

    "A study showed what the profile would be of the happiest people in America. Through the survey, it was determined that this is the happiest person profile: Male, Married, Asian-American, over age 65, lives in Hawaii, and has a strong faith in God (Jews were happiest among the faiths). They found a man named Alvin Wong, who completely fits that profile and they interviewed him (he actually is an Asian-American Jew). He is indeed VERY happy and his advice was "If you can't laugh at yourself, then life is going to be very harder."

    That was his direct quote, happy grammar and all..."

    Here is the youtube link:

    According to this, I'll be one of the happiest people in America if I live another 11 years and move to Hawaii. I've got the other criteria covered!