Bagpipes And Other Shenanigans

Two things I saw today on my usual drive home from work that struck me as odd. No, it wasn’t the usual jaywalking of the pedestrians running in front of cars. It wasn’t the insane offensive and defensive D.C. driving that occurs on a daily basis.

It was a man walking down Macarthur Blvd. happily playing the bagpipes for no one in particular other than himself. I looked around as I drove past, he was alone. He was the lone bagpipe player. Maybe he belongs to a band or something and this was his personal practice time. Perhaps he does weddings. (have you ever seen So I Married An Axe Murderer ? If not, go see it!)

I drove another mile and I saw a cab driver pulled off on the side of the road facing the woods. He was standing next to his car working his triceps with a Shake Weight. Ever seen the commercial for that ridiculous thing? Believe me, there was quite the scene going on next to that cab.

I had a not so great day today and I felt like these things were put in front of me at the end of it just to lighten my mood a bit. Laughter once again comes to the rescue of my day.

If you don’t take the time to notice the details and the things around you, then you can miss out.

Happy almost Friday!



Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road?

Today one of my patients gave me photocopied pages from a book of jokes about professions. He copied all of the dentist jokes for me. ( I cringed as I remembered every lawyer joke I have ever heard and hoped this was not as cruel) I was relieved to hear it was written in the 1950′s during a time when the jokes in this country were a little more tame than they are now. One joke resonated with me:

Dentist: “Open wider please”

Patient: “A-A-A-Ah”

Dentist: (inserting rubber gag, towel, and sponge) “How’s your family?”

Ok, not a hilarious joke, but I admit I do that all the time. I wait until I have intruments going and cotton in their mouth before I ask them questions. Funny thing is, I have gotten really good at understanding the answers. Someone will say “ah ou eeeh argh” and I somehow know they are trying to say, “yes, I have been to Paris many times”. It’s a learned skill deciphering that special language.

I was glad my patient gave me that list of jokes during an otherwise tense morning. It was the universe’s way of telling me, “lighten up Caroline!”. You have to laugh everyday. If you don’t, then what is the point? I don’t believe it is good to be completely serious at work. You have to have humor. If nothing is funny, then make it funny. Poke fun at yourself and at situations around you. Not in a cruel way, but in a harmless manner.

If you can’t laugh things off then you will not do so well on this spinning ball we call Earth. Whenever you feel like the day is getting too serious. Stop, slow it down and find some humor in it or in anything around you.

In my profession I see people who are terrified at the very idea of being there. I use humor to calm people down. It is hard to be terrified or upset if you are busy laughing. It is also difficult in any situation to be sad, stressed, or angry if you are laughing about something.

They say laughter is the best medicine. There is a reason for that. Laughter can turn almost any situation around. All you have to do is pay attention to what is around you. Humor is all around us. I find humor everywhere but only if I look for it. I was once sitting in the library studying when I was a student and I looked up and saw a guy walk right into a pole. (He was not hurt at all. Except maybe his ego was bruised a little) As I giggled to myself, I realized no one else noticed what had just occurred. They just kept their noses in their books. Humor was right in front of them but they didn’t notice it because they weren’t paying attention. (I’m not perfect or judging this guy. As a child I once ran into a very clean glass sliding door. Others laughed while I rubbed my forehead and the impending knot that was yet to form) If you keep your head in the serious events of the day and don’t come up for air, then you will miss out on the funny things in life.

Laugh everyday and laugh often. You will live longer and enjoy your life more. You will chase away any bad mood, negativity, and stressful reaction with a good laugh.

The trick is to be open to it and stop being so serious. If you are too solemn, then you are not having any fun and neither is anyone else around you. I once briefly dated a guy who all of my friends thought was incredibly boring. (poor guy) Let’s give him a fake name in case he ever reads this. I shall call him ‘John’. My friends (male and female) quickly named him, ‘Boring John’. I defended John to others, but then I realized he was a rather serious person. I never saw him laugh. Ever. I never saw it happen. He was a really good person but his inability to have some levity made everyone not want to be around him. Dear ‘John’, if you are out there, I wish you well and I hope you laugh a lot now.

If you want to laugh, you have to see whatever situation you are in from a different point of view. Sometimes if I lose my temper, I see myself from the outside being ridiculous and end up laughing at myself. I have quickly turned a unhumorous situation into something to laugh about.

When I was in Spain on vacation, I was on a bus going to Seville and was completely irritated at how long the bus ride was from Malaga to Seville. The bus kept stopping at what seemed like 80 hotels to pick up other passengers. Exasperated, I looked out the window and saw literally a chicken crossing the road. A single, lonely chicken was crossing the road in a beach town in Spain nowhere near a farm. I rejoiced that I finally found the true answer to that old joke “why did the chicken cross the road?” He was trying to ‘get to the other side’ but it was only because there was a beachside resort on ‘the other side’. Hey, I don’t blame him. Seriously, where did he come from? Do people randomly have pet chickens over there? No judgment, just wondering aloud. The point is, something as simple as noticing a chicken turned my mood around.

Now go and find a chicken or something else to laugh about. No one likes a ‘stick in the mud’. ;)



Eating Soup With a Fork

Some days can be as frustrating as trying to eat a bowl of soup with a fork. The key is to try to find the humor in it and move on.

I had an odd day today. Other than dealing with a few strange situations, I also found the answer to that old joke of “how many people does it take to screw in a lightbulb”. In my case it was really, “how many people does it take to remove and screw in a dental light bulb?”

You know that light in the dental chair that the dentist uses to illuminate so they can see clearly in your mouth? Yes, that one. Dealing with a simple light bulb change took up the better half of my day.

I will explain this silly scenario. The bulb went out and it was the first time anyone at the office has ever had to change it.

Long story short, removing the bulb was not as easy as imagined and I ended up having to dissasemble the entire fixture and still could not get to the bulb to remove it.

After many attempts by myself, the staff and 2 technicians on the phone, we still could not get the bulb out.

How many people does it take to change a dental bulb? Two dentists, two assistants, one random window washer (don’t ask), one dental chair repairman on the phone walking me through the process, and one tech support guy from the chair’s manufacturer.

I even sent cell phone pictures of the offending bulb to the repairmen showing them the problem. In the end, all of us put together could not solve the problem. We will all try again tomorrow. Seriously, I am not making this up. This was a chunk of my day.

Here is the picture of the bulb that mankind cannot remove. Doesn’t it look so innocent and easy to take off? Don’t be fooled.

As I sat there at lunch eating my soup with a fork, (yes this actually happened too. I forgot my spoon, ate the chunky parts with a fork and drank the rest) and stared at my hands that were sore from trying to use a wrench to remove the bulb, I began to laugh to myself. I was able to find humor in this otherwise difficult day.

I turned a potentially stressful situation that would make anyone frustrated into something laughable.

What is the point of my light bulb saga? Humor is all around us if we are willing to look past the potential drama and see it.

Look for the humor, especially in ridiculous situations and it can turn your whole day around.

I will never forget the time I was sitting on the plane waiting for 3 hours on the runway for take off. We were all frustrated, and upset.

Many of us including my friend and I were worried we were going to miss our connecting flight because we were delayed for so long.

Suddenly the pilot gets on the intercom and says, “Due to the weather in New York we are going to have to take a different flight pattern and we may have enough fuel to get there with the new flight pattern but I don’t want to take the chance so we are probably going to go back to the gate to get more fuel”.

None of us could believe it and the entire plane erupted in laughter. We were able to find hilarity in the fact that the pilot ( who was not joking at all by the way) spoke so nonchalantly about the possibility of running out of fuel mid-air. It was insanity, but at the same time, I have never laughed so hard.

Whatever day you are having, if you can find a little humor in it, you will be a happier person. If we let things get too serious and forget to laugh, then what is the point?

If you can manage to laugh especially in the middle of a difficult day, it will make you stronger and you will live longer. Laughter really is the best medicine.

Now as for me and the light bulb debacle, it shall continue tomorrow. Really, there is something seriously wrong with this thing. I fix things all the time around the house. I also know how to turn things counterclockwise. Lefty loosey, righty tighty did not help me today. Oh well…