Humor….The Original Silver Lining
Humor With YOU is no joke!
I have buttons. Red….HOT….buttons. After learning from my sympathetic Elementary School Principal when I was 9 years old, that punching people out would not work on someone who has ‘cared’ enough to trigger my hot spots, I needed a new strategy. This is exactly the kind of discussion I currently engage in for my career, with School aged students….young hot heads, quiet bystanders, and kindhearted youth, who need permission and options to manage conflict with their organically generous ideas. This kind of conversation was not at my disposal in formative years. I guess it was luck that directed me toward something less explosive, when my license to clobber annoying people was taken from me. I naturally progressed to handling provocation with a flushed face, tightly tied tongue, and an immediate departure from that persons’ presence, instead of more trips to the Principals Office.
This is how that went:
When I was 11, and the baseball coach told me I could not play with the team anymore, I turned on my heels, mitt in hand, and walked 2 miles home. Apparently, looking like a girl was a problem on a boy’s ball team, and it did not matter how many hits or outs I accumulated over lesser skilled players, I was never going to have the ‘right’ equipment. Grrrr….
At 15, I was with friends at a nearby lake, having a bonfire and cooking up some treats on open flames. A standard campground outhouse served as the only facilities available in this remote, valley location. Upon me using said facilities, a couple friends thought it funny to tip this stinky old structure over….slightly jamming the door, and leaving me stuck sideways, until I could wedge my way through to the awaiting rough ground. Another long walk, up a steeply inclined road, was duly needed. GRRRR….
Fast forward to 18, where I listened to a friend express one too many antagonistic comments about my spiritual views. Again, my feet pivoted swiftly away, to get swallowed up amongst crowds, rides and vendors of a vast city fairground. We stayed apart for hours before bumping back into one another again. GRRRR-roooaar….
At 22, a few weeks after Mum died, I needed to have some fun, so I invited myself along with ‘the boys’, on a night my boyfriend was to be their designated driver. He acted like I did not exist, ignoring me when I talked, avoiding eye contact, so I left. Taking a few of his friends with me, we headed to 7-11 for some ‘tasty’ hotdogs, laughing all the way. My boyfriend and I did not speak again, not even to break up. GRRRR-ROOOAAR!
Looks like anger is no joke, but what does this have to do with Humor? I thought you would never ask.
One of my favorite walking away mad memories, started with sitting at our round kitchen table at home, after supper one night. Mum was not there, so the odds were stacked against me….2:1….ME vs my Dad and Brother. They were teasing me, trying to get under my skin….a simple thing to do….but I was getting frustrated at their remarks. To make things worse, they were laughing at how upset I was becoming, and my steam was about to blow!
I pushed my chair back from the table, made a dramatic exit, huffing and puffing, and looking for a door to blow down. I could still hear them snickering after heading down the hallway to my room, where I realized my reaction had been a bit exaggerated. I entered my room, banging shelve items and drawers, while looking for a certain object to help exact my revenge upon them….and once I found it, came barreling back out, screaming at the top of my lungs, of how sick and tired I was of not being taken seriously!
They fell silent when they heard me coming, maybe bracing for the wrath they were about to endure, then both fell from their chairs in laughter, when they saw me donning a Groucho Marx moustache and glasses, hands on hips and striking a feigned pose of disgust.
That walk ended quickly, but taught me a strikingly important detail about myself.
I am hot-headed, but not pig-headed. There is some ‘give’ in my mad tyranny.
As quickly as I get cranked up, I can get bring it back down. This is the dance. This is my week.
Up and down, fast curve, quick dip, loop de loop and shake a tail feather!
I was under the impression that Humor would easily transition between things being funny or entertaining, but this has not been the case. Why should I be surprised that a topic is taking on a completely different tone than I anticipated? Me, dismally wrong on topic predictions? I am getting used to it!
For those who have been following my posts, you know that I often lament about my estranged son, who ran away 5 years ago, cutting off all communication. If you thought last weeks’ announcement of my soon-to-be Grandma role was shocking, you better sit down.
My boy walked through our door this week.
I was not dreaming, was not hallucinating, I am not even making it up for a good story, it is simply true. I have the knives to prove it….which is why he wanted to see us. A new-found networking endeavor brought him to us….to sell us some knives.
The last time I saw my boy was in prison garb, barking at me in very specific details, what I could do with my hat and for how long. Trying to help him at his youth shelter resulted in my driver side window being smashed and sitting on shards of glass to get home, some of which may still be embedded on my unappreciative derriere, figuratively and literally! I still find glass in various parts of my vehicle, 3 years later.
So….he calls….and asks to pick up a connection at this point….the point where he has found a start of a decent life direction. He is not hopped up on drugs or anger and needs my help. My outside answer is Yes. My inside answer is….HOLY BLEEP-ITY BLEEP!
How will I act….what will I say….who should I talk to about this….and I drove myself bonkers ‘what if’-ing and guessing. Dizzy from over- thinking, I finally gave up in a goo of emotion and let it all go.
It would be….what it would be.
Satisfied with that profound summary, my thoughts turned to how I might enrich his experience of arriving through the same door he fled through 5 years ago.
My simple, yet proven strategy to entice someone with a male gender….through their stomachs….meant aromatic, freshly baked cinnamon buns would amply welcome him back home. As he emerged through the door of our arranged meeting place, clad in a suit and tie, and a bag full of knives, I thought….what could possibly go wrong?
For the next 7 hours, we talked knives, food, dreams and even visited with a friends’ family for another knife demonstration.
I felt proud. He survived. He is trying to thrive.
I do not know this 18 year old soul who looks and sounds vaguely like a boy I once knew, but I was happy to be near him; glad he enjoyed being fed, ecstatic he took a quilt I handcrafted for him years earlier, and honored he asked for a ride to his apartment.
My mind says he will not call again for some time, that he got what he came for….I bought his knives and gave him referrals for more business.
And….that is okay.
When he is ready, he will see my soft eyes and forgiving heart have always been, and always will be, fully open to him.
That, will be a great day of laughing; joy of all joys, and the glimmering silver lining that gets me through dark days…
Humor keeps me sane….
Keeps me from walking away forever….
Keeps my hope gauge from falling below half a tank….
Keeps my joy muscles in good shape for that day….
We have to keep at it, friends! We are in this together….let’s find the silver lining, ‘til all the clouds roll away.