Sunday, August 31, 2008

There's a big storm a'coming...

Okay - No big blog today. It's my birthday, August 31, and I should have specified when I said I wanted a hurricane on my birthday that I meant "in a glass". So instead, we're battening down the hatches, girding our loins, and other official sounding phrases that mean we're getting ready to be blown away again here in Louisiana.

Wish us luck!!
Christee & her rubber chicken Elvis

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Presentation Skills Article

I'd like to invite you to visit my friend, Shauna Roberts, at her blog today.

We did an interview on presentation skills that you might find useful and even amusing!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Taking a Humor Inventory

You know how sometimes nothing seems funny? I find that this is the perfect time to slow down, put on a silly hat, and take a humor inventory.

A humor inventory is the process of reminding yourself of the stuff that’s funny to you. Sort of a spelunking mission to rediscover your sense of humor. Here’s how the process works for me.

First, I read the newspaper. No, not the depressing stuff -- mainly the headlines, unusual stories, and ads. I find headlines that make me giggle like these:
  • Blizzard Hits Four States. One is Missing.
  • Lawyer to Offer Poor Free Advice
  • Grandmother of eight makes hole in one
  • Police begin campaign to run down jaywalkers
  • Squad helps dog bite victim
  • Two sisters reunite after eighteen years at checkout counter
  • Something went wrong in jet crash, experts say

Newspaper advertising has its own brand of humor:

  • Classified ad: Dog, faded brown, three legs, one ear missing, blind left eye, broken tail, recently neutered. Answers to the name Lucky.
  • For sale: an antique desk suitable for lady with thick legs and large drawers.
  • Dinner Special -- Turkey $2.35; Chicken or Beef $2.25; Children $2.00.
  • Now is your chance to have your ears pierced and get an extra pair to take home, too.
  • We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand.
  • Tired of cleaning yourself? Let me do it.
  • Dog for sale: Eats anything and is fond of children.
  • Stock up and save. Limit: one.
  • Man, honest. Will take anything.
  • Man wanted to work in dynamite factory. Must be willing to travel.
  • A used car lot advertised: Why go elsewhere to be cheated? Come here first!
  • Illiterate? Write today for free help.
  • And now, the Superstore--unequaled in size, unmatched in variety, unrivaled inconvenience.

I often enjoy the acerbic humor of bumper stickers. It’s the mailboxes I take out while reading them that I don’t enjoy:

  • As long as there are tests, there will be prayer in schools.
  • I still miss my ex-husband, but my aim is getting better.
  • My Hockey Mom can beat up your Soccer Mom
  • If you can read this, I can slam on my brakes and sue you!
  • Chaos. Panic. Disorder. My work here is done.
  • Jesus is coming. Everybody look busy.

I also find examples of humor in unexpected places. Like statements taken from medical reports:

  • By the time he was admitted, his rapid heart rate had stopped and he was feeling better.
  • Patient has chest pain if she lies on her left side for over a year.
  • On the second day the knee was better and on the third day it had completely disappeared.
  • The patient is tearful and crying constantly. She also appears to be depressed.
  • Discharge status: Alive, but without permission.
  • The patient has no past history of suicides.

And so, these are the sorts of things that jumpstart my sense of humor. Well, these and a cheap box of wine. But these have fewer calories.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Being Happy Ruined My Life

Darn. I got the call today that every author dreams of. A nationally syndicated television show wanted to fly me out to talk about my midlife crisis.

It was my moment to shine. I was already practicing holding my breath to look skinnier and seeing if clear packing tape would hold up my extra chin long enough for the interview.

But then, in the phone pre-interview, the producer started asking me questions like, “What trauma made you realize how terrible midlife crisis is? Did you husband leave you?”


He explained, “That’s what we want to hear about. Overcoming trauma to get through a midlife crisis.”

I was confused. “But if I think about it as trauma, then I probably haven’t really overcome it.”

He persisted, “But for the show we want to talk about the trials and tribulations, the problems of midlife.”

“But I’m really happy. I like talking to other people and realizing that I’m not alone in this midlife crisis thing.”

He was frustrated. “That’s not what we’re looking for.”

“You mean if I’m not depressed I can’t be on the show?”

“Well, it’s not our focus to see midlife crisis as funny.”

I thought for a moment. I could have run into the other room and asked my husband to leave me so I could be on the show. I considered it for a moment. A very long moment. After all, it is national television.

But then I thought about what I stand for. Yes, I’ve experienced the 3 Ds. Death, Disaster, and Dimpled thighs. I’ve also been depressed, flat broke, and had a bad hair decade.

And if I focused on those things, I could sound just as pitiful as any person who’s ever cried their way through an episode of Oprah. But that’s not how we in the south get through a crisis.

Maybe the national media needs to realize that the kind of survival that gets us southerners through hurricanes, deaths of loved ones, and yes, even midlife, is the kind of survival that says, “You get through it, you move on, and after a respectful amount of time, you make fun of it.” (Unless it’s a president you don’t like. Then you don’t wait the respectful amount of time.)

So I’d like to share my email to the producer with you.

Darn!! Wish I focused on my traumas a little more so I could be on the show!!!

But I can't -- that's the biggest emphasis of my midlife crisis. I have to find the humor in my trials and tribulations or I'd have gone crazy by now. Oh wait... I think that ship has already sailed... Never mind...

So, a healthy sense of humor, a good supply of Prozac, and my fancy car that goes from zero to sixty in just under a weekend -- and I'm good to go for midlife.

Thanks for talking with me and please keep me in mind if you ever decide to do a show on “Using humor to laugh your way through midlife” ... or “How to embarrass yourself in six easy steps.” I'm an expert on both of those...

So, yet again, I’m still one step away from the ‘big time’ – and all because I’m contented.

I’ve never been so depressed about being happy.