It’s okay to laugh.

The man I love has one particular quality which I admire and value more than I thought I ever could.

He’s able to laugh at himself. Quite effortlessly, in fact.

Maybe this isn’t a big deal for some of you but for me, it’s really up there.

I am not very good terrible at laughing at myself. I pride myself on having a good sense of humor but there are just certain things I don’t find funny. I was never one of those who appreciated practical jokes or prank calls, especially if I was the recipient. And I’ve been the recipient.

One of the traits I always loved about my brother when we were growing up was his ability to make me laugh when he was making fun of me; I held this in the highest esteem, of course, because I didn’t like poking fun at things I said or did. It’s always made me feel as if my flaws were on display and I could just never lighten the hell up about it.

I think that’s why even now, when someone goes out of his or her way to try and make another person feel stupid, I get really defensive, whether it’s myself or not. I’ve always valued any person’s ability to have patience and explain things if I (or someone else) doesn’t know something.

Nonetheless…one thing that will get me in hysterics every time is physical humor. Specifically, people tripping. Kevin is the first person to admit that he’s klutzy, and most of the time, it’s endearing.

But after the thirty-seventh time of listening to things crashing in the kitchen or watching him come home completely torn up and bloodied because he tripped while walking, it starts getting frustrating. (The most recent incident had him scabbed up for a few weeks – thankfully he had his bike helmet still on when he tripped or he would have given himself a head injury. I can’t make this stuff up.)

The best part about Kevin being clumsy is that he takes it all in stride and doesn’t stress out about it at all. Me, I fret. I’m constantly wringing my hands and telling him, “For the love of God, be careful!” He just laughs and shrugs his shoulders.

I so wish I could be like that when it comes to myself. I’ve had several people in my life make fun of my pronunciation of certain words. I think it’s when I get particularly Midwestern and say something with a classic nasal A or E sound. I have a friend who was in absolute hysterics listening to me order a “lamb sandwich on a pita” in NYC one day. I’ve never heard the end of it. I still don’t get it. I’ve laughed along as best I can but I seriously don’t get it. And it’s not one of those, “You had to be there” moments because I was there. I can “heh” a little bit that she finds it so hilarious but since I don’t understand where in my pronunciation I went wrong, I can barely crack more than a confused smile.

It’s in those times that I want to channel Kevin and just bust up laughing with everyone else. I think he’s a good influence on me, though, and I get the biggest laughs when we’re teasing one another at home about something or other. I like to impersonate him in different voices which always ruffles his feathers a bit but he’s such a damn good sport about it, so I never stop doing it. I’m in stitches every time!

Little side story: when we were first dating and Kevin was learning about my likes and dislikes, especially when it came to food and cooking, he told me I was a really picky eater.

At first I was kind of appalled, because I never considered I was picky, just someone who had very particular taste. (I know. Denial.) Over time as we’ve lived and grown together, I have to admit he was right and I don’t know how I ever thought I wasn’t but I am one picky mofu.

Today’s lunch was a perfect example. I went to the store to get something from the deli and I wanted to add something from the produce section. I wandered amongst the fruit and veggeis, undecided. Then, I spied the most perfect thing I’ve ever seen:

DICED PEPPERS!

For those of you wondering what the BFD is, they’re diced peppers. Diced! I have a thing with veggies where they have to be diced in order for me to eat them with gusto. Otherwise I’ll just pick at them. I know it sounds so oddball but anytime I’m given a salad and the veggies are in big slices or chunks vs. nicely quartered or diced, I never finish them. That includes lettuce leaves, usually, as well.

But with this? I managed to eat the entire 6 oz. container with NO salad dressing as I ate my chicken lunch. This is a proud moment in Zoe history, I’m just saying.

And I know that this is weird, I know it’s funny, and I feel good about laughing at myself. It’s progress! Kevin will no doubt shake his head when he finds out since I still eat vegetables like a five-year-old but hey, whatever works, right?

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the point where I can laugh at myself when everyone is staring at me after a particularly embarrassing moment, say, if I tripped. But let me tell you. There is no stopping the mirth from flowing when I see someone trip and just completely bite it. I just CAN’T HELP IT. I will – between gasps of laughter – ask the person if s/he’s okay, of course. I’m nice like that. And I so wish I weren’t a hypocrite on this one but it’s never funny when I do it and always funny when someone else does it.

No matter what movie it is, if someone can pull off a successful natural looking trip, I will crack up. And so, if you’d like to join me, this YouTube video has some of the best physical trips I’ve seen in a long time. Favorite moments: waitress, hurdling, Mercedes honking.

As I get older, I sincerely hope I can keep working on this and be able to tell others, “It’s okay to laugh.”

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Comments

  1. You have me laughing my head off right now! Way to go Zoe!

  2. oh he reminds me of me.

  3. Ain’t it grand when we see ourselves in a different light? Congrats on the laughter. 🙂

  4. Awesome. I’m not very good at laughing at myself, either. I’m getting better at it (I hope), but when I really stick my foot in it? Yeah. I want to laugh, but I sort of descend into a state where I vacuum all of the joy out of the room without saying anything at all. Maybe I just need to get better at not sticking my foot in it 😉

  5. You must be a great fan of chopped salads!

  6. My first day in 7th grade was at a new school. My brothers and I walked in the school using the wrong door…and well…that door just happened to open up into the gym where the entire school was seated on one side with the principal giving a speech on the other. We unfortunately walked in across from where everyone was seated and had to walk across in front of everyone. The principal even stopped talking and motioned for us to sit down “These are new students.” I was mortified…but of course had to learn to laugh because well in all honesty it was pretty freaking funny (although equally embarrassing!)

  7. I never, never, never laugh at anyone who falls or trips when it happens…but later when I’m alone and no one’s feelings will get hurt I can laugh for a good 10 minutes. Haha. Falling.

  8. Hahaha. That video is fantastic. Many times have I tripped, and gone into a light jog to try to make it look like I meant to do it (but it has never worked, I’m sure). I’ve also fallen victim to those embarrassing moments in elementary school, when you come to class with your shirt on inside out (yep), or in kindergarten when you catch a stomach virus and throw up all over the play room…(so the other kids probably don’t remember that 18 years later, but it will haunt me forever). I have a lot of trouble laughing at myself, and am way too uptight about way too many things. But this is a nice reminder to just “let it go” sometimes! 🙂

  9. My family still laughs to tears about the time as a kid I tripped walking up the front steps of a restaurant with my hands in my pants pockets. I had no choice but to play it up and lay there face down flapping my elbows like a beached seal. Diners inside were reportedly choking on their food at the sight.

    The ability to pull off a good pratfall is priceless.

    Thanks for the great article!

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