8 May 2009
Just grin and ‘bare’ it
Bill Cosby said that “once you find laughter, no matter how painful your situation might be, you can survive it.” I agree, but I've always thought that there’s a time and place for everything and when it comes to humour, timing and location are everything.
Take this week for instance.
On Wednesday morning, I had to take my father Des to the Hospital Emergency. He was seen by a Geriatrics Registrar. Apparently they now like to take an holistic approach to elderly patients who have multiple illnesses as opposed to allowing multiple specialists to have a free for all. In other words, Des now has his own Project Manager who outsources the work required on his 'sub selves' to technical experts!
The 10 year old Geriatrician (I swear her hair was in plaits/braids) tried to explain her role to us. She said that while they may use the word geriatric, she didn’t want my father to think he was “ancient”. Then she turned around to me and joked, “but to be honest, after looking at the length of his hospital records, he really is more like a crumbling ruin”. I couldn’t find it in me to crack a smile. Was she trying to be funny? It was hardly the time or the place.
Then yesterday I had to go and have a pap smear. Of course I was lying back wondering why the hell I didn’t do this more often just for the fun of it. Not. Clearly sensing I was not relaxed, the Doctor jokingly said, “well it could be worse you know, instead of having one of these every year you could have been Dr Papankolaou’s wife (he invented the test) and she had to go through this every day (she was his guinea pig during trials for a couple of years apparently).” I ignored him and thought, 'what is with you people trying to be funny?' It was hardly the time or the place.
Today, I had an online chat with an HP technician about problems with my laptop. The discussion went for 40 minutes. He knew I was from Australia. He finally said, “Well unfortunately I’m in North America", and then laughed, "so it’s a good job women like to talk so much because you are going to have to repeat the whole saga to someone else in Asia Pacific. Sorry, I can’t help you afterall”. If I knew how to stick two fingers up at him using my keyboard I would have. Did he think it was funny? It was hardly the time or the place.
I went to visit Des in hospital tonight. I walked through the corridor and could hear the laughter. When I walked into his room his bed was surrounded by an assortment of patients, nurses and doctors. The nurses were trying to pull his covers over him and he was trying to tell them that given he had such good legs he would prefer to keep them on show. There he was with tubes coming out of him and a monitor of some description tracking his heart beat and, based on all the indicators, he isn't well. Crumbling perhaps. Des, on the other hand, seems to like being in the care of a project manager. He now sees himself as a prized piece of heritage real estate which is going to be bought back to splendour after a considerable upgrade within budget and on time. He has a completely different attitude to me. By the end of an hour with him, I was laughing so hard I nearly had to leave the room for fear that I too would end up in a hospital bed. Perhaps not the time or the place.
Or was it? Maybe its all about attitude. Maybe the 'right' time and place to be funny are irrelevant. Humour can soften some of the worst blows in life. For you and those around you. It might not change the outcome but you can be happier in the present if you laugh about whatever irks you. Our humour might get jaded and fade when we are in pain, sad or scared but we can bring it back to life and use it any old time and place we like. Who knows, I might even bring myself to laugh at the gynecologist's 'jokes' next time. Provided he has warmed up his speculum first.
Have a great weekend. Go find your humour if you’ve lost it. Rent a movie, go see a comedy show, spend time with someone who always makes you laugh. Just laugh.
Don’t forget to put your name down at right for an entry into this week's giveaway. Every week there is going to be a new giveaway to support small online businesses. Some fabulous work from some creative people!! Oh and I am playing around with new headers and might change them every month just in case you wondered what was going on.