Thursday, September 27, 2012

Don't Laugh- I'm Serious!

"Are you going to make us laugh?"  Inevitably someone asks me this when I arrive to give one of my infamous presentations on the topic of humor.  So I usually say: "Of course not!  This is going to be  a serious session!"  And then they do laugh!

So many people associate humor with joke telling!  And although I do numerous presentations on brain health and humor,  I am not really a "joke teller".  My humor style is usually slight exaggeration, comparisons and gentle teasing.  But the pressure to at least try to tell jokes got to me one day. I had an important meeting to conduct for about 60 people and I decided that I would start with a joke.

After much practice, just to be sure that I remembered the punch line, I was ready.  I got up to the microphone and welcomed people, thanking them for being there.  And I told my joke.  There were a few groans and some embarrassed laughter. I was kind of frustrated because my joke seemed to have bombed.   After the meeting, I asked my good friend why she thought the joke did not go very well.  Somewhat sheepishly she looked at me and asked me if I  knew that the joke had a sexual innuendo  and was kind of naughty. I did not!  Those that know me will realize that I have never "gotten" those kind of jokes. I can only blame this inexperience on my 12 years in Catholic schools.  I still cannot believe that I was so naive, but the real problem is that I really still do not understand the hidden sexual meaning in this joke!

To this day, I remember cringing whenever I thought I saw someone from that meeting.  However, as with most of our life challenges, this story has served me well by becoming a great example in my workshops, of what NOT to do when trying to incorporate more humor in life.

The ability to tell jokes is a valued skill, but the ability to share humergy (the energy that comes from having a sense of humor) is even more important.  For more information on the benefits of humor, humergy and how to purposefully incorporate more humor in your life, check out my web site, Humor Quest   and my book, Using Humor to Maximize Living. 


Friday, September 14, 2012

When I Grow Up Wanna Be a Tap-Dancing Gypsy

Last week my 6-year-old granddaughter brought home a beautiful self-portrait. She said that her teacher asked them to draw what they were going to be when they grew up. With great detail my grandchild described the hat, shoes, and fancy clothing that depicted a tap-dancing gypsy. I sought to clarify her goals and after a little discussion, she asked me what a gypsy was. When she found out that it was someone who travels lightly and even wanders form place to place, she was quite satisfied with her decision.

After quite a bit of laughter with my daughter (her mom), I believe that I too want to be a tap-dancing gypsy when I grow up. I love to dance and move and hope that I can always enjoy the activity that comes to express joyful energy. I also know it is a powerful way to keep the brain engaged when the body is moving and active. So the tap-dancing sounds like something that I would like to try someday. 

Traveling like a gypsy and wandering around in a rather random pattern is a way that my husband and I like to travel sometimes. It is exciting to find adventure in new places and meet new people. Our favorite travel experiences have come from chatting with folks along the way…asking for their recommendations of places to explore in the area. Of course we always ask for the hometown restaurants that they enjoy.

 If you are familiar with my books and web site, you know that I believe that play is critical for optimal health and well being for the brain. Play keeps the brain active and engaged. Joyful play is essential for lifelong learning with humergy (the energy that comes from optimism, joy and humor).

 My granddaughter’s goals are mine too. I really never do want to “grow up”. I want to continue to do cartwheels, swing at the park and use the hula-hoop. And a tap-dancing gypsy sounds like an amazing and fun goal.