Monday, October 17, 2011

Finding the Funny Side

How are you at finding the funny side of situation?

In America, each of the states likes to promote themselves with a slogan. I currently live in Utah, where the slogan is “Life Elevated.” It’s a nod to outdoor recreation in the high country, including the ski industry. I previously lived in Colorado, a land with red dirt, majestic mountains and golden plains. The slogan there is “Colorful Colorado.” Years ago I lived in the “Peach State” of Georgia, and I grew up in New Mexico, whose slogan is "Land of Enchantment."

New Mexico is a land of high, arid desert and it has a beauty of its own. I have never seen a sunset as spectacular as one in the New Mexico desert. The western sky can glow a brilliant orange behind red and purple clouds.  

But this is also a country of wind, lots of it. A gritty wind can howl for hours, and “dust devils” (funnel-shaped whirlwinds) will appear without notice.

We never seemed to get away from dust in New Mexico, so I appreciate the story of a newcomer to the Land of Enchantment who learned about dusty breezes. She was visiting an antique shop and the proprietor wiped down every item before showing it. The newcomer said, "Everything gets dusty here pretty quickly, doesn't it?"

"That's not dust, honey," the shop owner replied. "That's ENCHANTMENT."

Here was a person who took a negative and turned it into something humorous. That made the problem more palatable - easier to swallow, or at least live with. And face it. There are some things, like the weather, we can’t change. All we can change is our attitude toward them. I believe one of the best techniques to do this is to find some humor in the situation. Finding the funny side of a difficulty, an irritation or a troublesome problem can be one of the most creative and effective things we can do.  

A Hong Kong shopping center manager was informed that an escalator broke. He posted a sign to warn customers. He opted not to use the traditional "Out of Order" or "Do Not Use" warnings. Instead, his sign read, "This Escalator Is Temporarily a Stairway." He turned a minus into humor and made it a plus. Sometimes the only sense you can make of a situation is a sense of humor.

How are you at finding the funny side?

-- Steve Goodier



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