During our department meeting at work today, I was afforded an opportunity I couldn’t resist.
I work in health insurance and one of the presenters was talking about the different levels of urgency for authorization requests. “Medical urgency is the highest level and is given the most attention. These are usually life or limb situations. For instance, if this patient doesn’t receive care immediately, his heart could stop or his arm could fall off,” she said.
I put that line in my back-pocket.
When it was my turn to present, I stood in front of the crowd and said, “Listen, I’m living proof why it’s important that doctors submit authorization requests correctly. Mine didn’t and my arm fell right off.”
Who am I to turn down an opportunity for a joke about my arm?
I realize, though, it probably gets old.
It’s funny because I never used to make jokes about my arm; at least not as often. As I’ve become more comfortable with it, though, the joking and self-deprecation has increased. Sometimes successfully and sometimes not.
For instance, when I moved departments at work I went from having a huge monitor to a small one. I noticed there was a big one next to my cube, so I took it. My boss saw my huge monitor and asked where I got it from. I explained what happened and she proceeded to rattle-off a number of reasons why I couldn’t keep it. I begged. I pleaded. And finally, I very seriously dropped this on her, “Michelle…listen…I don’t ask for much. But, you have to understand…I only have one hand.”
“Good Lord…keep the monitor!” she said.
I’m noticing more and more, though, that I’m pushing it a bit. Not often, but occasionally I’ll think, “Eh…that wasn’t worth it.” I need to pick and choose my spots more carefully now. I need to be more intentional. I need to use my powers for good and not for evil. The last thing I want is for people to moan their disapproval because I’ve used the, “Sorry, can’t help…I only have one hand” joke too many times. It needs to catch them off-guard and that can’t happen if it’s overused.
Oh, the challenges of a one-handed man who deals with his insecurities through the use of humor.
That said, I will NEVER stop saying, “Hey, champ. What has one thumb and doesn’t give a crap? Ryan Haack. How ya doin’?”