Yesterday as I was walking into work, my boss’s boss was laughing as she held the door open for me. I asked her what was so funny and she says, “Bill saw you walking up and told me to give you a hand.” Bill is my boss’s boss’s boss.
I acknowledged the hilarity of the situation because, you know, I super like being employed.
Honestly, though, I love when people joke with me about my arm because it tells me they know me. Bill and Michelle felt comfortable making that SUPER CREATIVE JOKE THAT I’VE NEVER HEARD BEFORE IN MY LIFE because I’ve joked with them before.
And I love that.
Having a sense of humor about my situation, I believe, enables me to live my life confidently.
For one, it puts me in control. I’m the one breaking the proverbial ice; instead of me feeling awkward or uncomfortable, a well-timed joke can tip the scales in my favor when meeting new people. It also puts those around me at ease knowing that my difference isn’t a big deal.
That said, I realize that humor can be like a stinky, oil-covered ferret: a slippery animal.
What’s funny to me (that last sentence, for instance) may not be funny to you.
In some cases, it might even be offensive.
This is why I don’t envy comedians. Their job is to make an entire room laugh for however long they’re onstage. A room, mind you, made-up of vastly differing senses of humor. Some like it blue, others like it wholesome. Some like observational, some find it boring. Some like zingers, some like long, drawn out jokes with a big payoff.
I inherited a very particular sense of humor from my grandpa and my dad. Sometimes it gets me in trouble, but I’d say that more often than not it does what it’s intended to: Make people laugh.
For instance, one question I hear over and over is, “What do you tell people when they ask what happened to your arm?” Whenever a kid asks me, I reply, “I was just born that way. You had two hands when you were born, right? I just had one. But it doesn’t hurt and I can do anything I want to!”
That’s the standard answer. Also known as the Polite Answer. Sometimes masquerading as the Boring Answer. But, it gets the job done.
Adults are a different story. If I’m sensing the person can take a joke, I might lay the Shark Attack story on them. Or the Train Tracks Saga. Perhaps the Chainsaw Disaster. And do you want to know where I got this from? When I was little, my dad would tell my friends stories about what happened. I would sit there and play along and then we’d laugh and laugh once they figured out he was joking around. That’s what led to these shirts…
I love seeing people laughing and smiling and feeling empowered by their difference! I love seeing people all around the world wearing these shirts (buy here), taking ownership of their difference and making people walking by think, “Wait…you’re telling me that baby lost her arm because of a chainsaw accident?”
WHAT, ARE YOU CALLING HER A LIAR? A BABY? HOW DARE YOU!
Like I said, though, humor is in the eye of the beholder. I know people who think this approach is rude and dishonest. And while they’re entitled to their opinion, I’d rather bring someone into the joke and make a memory with them! One of my friends still remembers our first interaction some 25 years later because I told her I lost it in a shark attack! “You sounded pretty convincing and I didn’t want to ask if you were being serious, so I just believed it,” she told me, years later. That humorous approach made a memory that has lasted a quarter century, man.
I’ll take it.
So, what do you think? I’d love to hear your stories and/or thoughts in the comments below!