I believe in the power of humility. I don’t mean wandering around aimlessly like an out-of-work circus clown, but rather the force of nature that allows you to laugh at yourself, to not take yourself too seriously, to live and let live. I believe it’s the powers that be making the overwhelming decision to allow you to stumble when you least expect it, to snort while laughing in a public place, to insert your foot so far down your throat you may gag from the tickle of your toenails. It’s humbling. And it’s the things that let you know you’re alive and well rather than living a robotic life of regurgitating senseless banter and babbling about a useless existence. Overall, humility allows you to be more than human, it allows you laugh, the true medicine that breaths life back into your lungs.
About five years ago I was sitting at a conference table at the Times Leader waiting to take part in a company meeting. I was an enthusiastic sales rep, yearning to move up the corporate ladder and attempting to make a good impression by looking mature among the corporate heads. Being a new sushi fan, I was pleased with the menu choice, a platter of sushi, and thought about how sophisticated I had become. Unfortunately, however, I had accidentally put too much wasabi on my sushi, causing my eyes to gush as though I just saw my new puppy get hit in the road. I tried to play it cool and pull my act together before anyone noticed when the publisher at the time slowly grabbed a napkin from the table and told the exec next to him to “pass this to Rachel.” My tears from the wasabi overdose then became common knowledge and the meeting’s attendees laughed at my discomfort. I quickly called my parents after the meeting and laughed about the situation in its entirety. I’m still employed by my company and I eat sushi every chance I get — with wasabi.
Several years ago I was at my gym working out when a bunch of hard-body boys began chatting with me. I held the conversation for some time, flirting during the course of it and decided it was time to stroll on out of there and make my way to the parking lot. As I started to walk away, I could feel that the guys were checking me out. Without sounding conceited, it was just that gut feeling that they were continuing their flirting once my back was turned, and I have to admit, I was feeling pretty damn good about myself. As I’m giving myself the high five in my head and was just about to get to the exit, I ate it on the floor mat. I’m talking cartoon tripping without hitting the floor. As I caught myself while flailing, I bee-lined it to the parking lot. Outside, I burst out laughing from my less-than-sexy strut and later shared the story with some co-workers. My love life did not suffer from such a boob maneuver.
Last Valentine’s Day I went all out for my then-brand new boyfriend. It was my first Valentine’s Day with him, and I wanted to impress him by putting together an over-the-top romantic night at Genetti’s Celebrity Jacuzzi Suite. When he walked in, there were candles everywhere, wine, homemade brownies, the works. We went out to dinner and came back to the hotel to watch a movie and relax like we were on vacation. As I was in the living room, my boyfriend relit the candles and placed them all around the Jacuzzi. He had wine ready and we were going to sit back, relax and enjoy Genetti’s amenities. We chatted away while in the Jacuzzi, and I got comfortable by putting my shoulders underneath the water and placing my head back on the side of the tub, enjoying the steam. And then the fear of God came over my new boyfriend’s face. With a quick reaction, he grabbed my head and pushed it under water. As I resurfaced, I realized that I had rested my head back directly on one of the lit candles aligning the tub, lighting my hair on fire. I felt the back of my head which felt like scarecrow straw and noticed the now little bald spot. Plus, the smell of hair burning was enough to destroy any romantic setting in a second flat.
Once I realized I wasn’t injured, I roared with laughter. I had only been dating him for two months and I was trying so hard to impress him that I couldn’t help but split my sides with laughter over our very “heated” hot tub adventure. We’re together today, and my bald patch grew in.
And so I laugh at myself. I laugh out loud when I begin to see my street cred slipping and my cool factor fizzling out to a next-to-nothing flicker. That which doesn’t kill me makes me stronger and gives me one hell of a good story to tell later. My shortcomings are a part of me, and there’s no other person I know how to be. Perfect? Good God, no. And although I try not to look like the stooge slipping on the inevitable banana peel, I hold onto the little things in life that give me humorous memories to share and compile to make my journey my own.
Sometimes we’re our own best comedian. We just need to be willing to arrive at the show.