My emotions have been rough the last few days; there is a point of anxiety I sometimes reach where I have to take some time for self-care before plunging back into action, otherwise, I will make rash decisions without thinking them through. Television and movies have been a traditional escape for me, but I find I cannot handle anything too serious right now. Because of this, a new delight has been watching episodes of the show “Nailed It!” on Netflix. I cannot remember the last time I laughed so hard.
My favorite moment each episode is the split screen between the dessert masterpiece and the ubiquitously failed attempt the home cook has produced. I like people who can laugh at themselves, and most of the contestants are good sports. The host slips in observant narration that moves beyond the farce at times and keeps me entertained. What’s your latest TV binge?
When I got my dog as a puppy, I purchased him a stuffed animal dog into which I could place a plastic “heartbeat” and a warmer. I intended for it to be soothing to him, but he developed another kind of relationship with his dog friend. Let’s just say people tend to feel a bit awkward when he has his special time with it when they visit. It is the only thing he treats that way and it cracks me up.
I wash his puppy every Sunday and he eagerly scampers to the dryer to attack and get frisky with his friend next to the pile of fresh laundry (his bedding, etc.). Today, I forgot to wash it, and the search was on for where it went. He eventually found it and brought it down an entire flight of stairs just so that he could share the love of being next to the laundry as he snarled and bit the stuffed animal. It made me laugh so hard that he apparently has an entire ritual built into the puppy being washed. What’s made you laugh today?
I struggle as a person with the false belief that the events of my life are completely under my control. In my worldview, planning, due diligence and attention to detail can surely prevent all catastrophes. Although there is certainly wisdom in forethought, I acknowledge that massive efforts to wall off any possible harms comes at its own cost, and that some circumstances are truly out of our control. In addition to the unknowable, mistakes happen even when we try to avoid them. I decided to take a bit of time today to recall the humor that can come with such situations.
One of my most poorly planned driving errors (of which there are many) occurred when I was in college. It had snowed significantly the night before and the sunniness of the day belied the amount of precipitation that had accumulated. I entered a complicated intersection of two roads which offset each other. Somehow, in my brilliance, as I tried to find a parking spot, I decided to make a three-point turn. I unfortunately drove directly into a snow bank in order to do so. I have no idea why I thought I could just pop into it for a second and then retrieve myself. I immediately became hopelessly stuck and blocked multiple lanes of travel, as I was now perpendicular to the curb. A few people eventually jumped out of their cars and angrily pushed me out of the snow. It was my total confidence as I drove into the snow that has always stuck with me, a “this is fine and will work” attitude that failed to consider in any way the physical realities of my situation that makes me laugh.
Another mistake came at a thrift shop, I believe a year or two after the first story. I wore dresses and skirts at the time but was very lackadaisical about shaving my legs (a preference that makes more sense in light of my realization that I am trans and non-binary). I found a skirt that I thought was cute and attempted to try it on. It wouldn’t fit over my pants so I took them off. It still wouldn’t fit (at this point, the lesson is to give up), but I forged on by straining it, one arm at a time, over my head. I was wearing it finally, but could only move it a foot or so up and down my torso. This was before cell phones were popular so I had no way of calling anyone for cover. Were this to happen today, I would walk out and explain my dilemma. I was much more easily shamed at the time, so I felt there was no solution other than to force it from my body. After several minutes of straining, I finally got a handle on it enough to rip it a bit and pry it off of myself. Even though it caused me immense guilt to do so, I ended up leaving it in the dressing room as I was too embarrassed to admit I got stuck in it. The mental image of tangling my way through mismatched clothing makes me crack up, especially in light of the ridiculous lengths to which I went to trap myself in a piece of clothing.
I have many, many more stories of stupid actions I’ve taken. Before jolting off on a new adventure (which these days often involves an attempt at DIY repair), I often ask myself “Is this how I die?” mostly but not fully in jest. The importance of being able to make a fool of and laugh at one’s self cannot be over-estimated as both a coping skill and a check to arrogance. What is a ridiculous scrap into which you’ve gotten yourself? What about it strikes you as funny? What lesson, if any, did you learn from it?
For today’s simple pleasure, it took me no time at all to figure out which video to watch as I’ve viewed this beverage cart fail video at least five times already today. I feel embarrassed at times that what I find funniest is observing something going wrong and chaos ensuing. I am not sure why it makes me laugh so hard!
When I watched the video this time, my humor only increased at noticing the guy in the background in his cart who comes to a dead stop and then sits there taking in the whole scene. Life is absurd and, on occasion, I enjoy witness this truth writ large. What is your favorite type of humor?