Having a fairly eccentric father has helped me deal with most unfavourable situations in a lighthearted manner. “Fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke!” he used to say mid-mishap.
Like, when he accidentally backed over a curb while parking. He simply turned off the ignition, reached for my hand and we happily walked off for ice cream.
At a young age, I never took notice of the stares from onlookers or the quirkiness of his actions. I just thought he was awesome for never freaking out.
The effect of his patience and humour wasn’t fully realized until I reached young adulthood. I discovered that people, in general, are quite uptight. But why? The things that happened to me literally happened to millions of others: rolled ankles, failed exams, broken hearts, flat tires. I just learned that the faster you found the humour, the faster you could enjoy things again.
However, it’s remarkable how often people stew in negativity, collecting unfortunate events like playing cards to trade with others. So much so, they tend to miss loads of awesomeness in these unpopular situations.
That’s why I make fun. Not necessarily of the people themselves, but the silliness that people bring upon themselves. Did you spill your coffee, forget your phone or miss your appointment? Sucks, dude. But exaggerated pouting offers zero solution and just makes things worse—for everyone!
Just pretend coffee-stained pants are the new black, enjoy the involuntary phone-free day and re-book the pedicure—you’re cool, everything is cool. Because scream-crying in public as a grown ass adult is a hard one to bounce back from.
Why does everything and everyone have to be so perfect? Who started that? The idea of keeping up with The Joneses should be long gone by now. They were fake, mmkay? It was all a façade to sell laundry detergent and TV dinners. No one is even close to being perfect. No one.
The uptightness of our society has stripped the amusement away from how utterly human it is to screw up. Sure, making fun of others from a safe distance is easy. The internet is full of Epic Fail gifs and the like. But, making fun of yourself—in the moment—not so much.
I legitimately feel if people learned to relax and make fun of themselves and their situation, we’d have a much groovier place to live. It’s simple, and I implore you try it.
Sometimes it’s hard to take my own advice, but I certainly try. For example, I’m a terrible parallel parker. I might take two (or seven) tries to park, but when I get out of the car, I’ll pretend to measure the distance from the curb, make eye contact with whoever is watching, smile and say, “Nailed it!” as if it was all going according to plan. And that’s if someone is even watching. Slim to none chance that anyone is reporting on your mundane activities.
However, just today, I grabbed a coffee to-go. I already felt guilty for getting a disposable cup, then I noticed the barista watching me struggle to pry two lids apart. My graceful attempt to avoid touching the second lid was obviously a losing battle. Instead of awkwardly discarding the now fully fingerprinted lid, I looked up at the barista, licked the lid, and pretended to put it back. He burst out laughing. Job well done, I thought. He totally forgot about my weak lady fingers and clumsy attempt at being sanitary. And, to anyone else that was watching, “F*ck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.”
Coffee-stained pants, awkward haircuts, inappropriate sarcasm, first date blunders. These are all the things that make humans awesome! Why are we trying to sterilize our actions? If the intention is good (and this is the important part), the outcome shouldn’t be ridiculed so harshly. Let’s celebrate the ridiculousness—one manhandled coffee lid and flattened curb at a time! You’ll breathe easier, laugh harder and most probably learn from your silly mistake.
New slogan: Let’s make the world laugh again!
With that said, I’m going to plan my life to perfection and happily watch said plan go up in flames. I’ll even do a happy dance, as now it’s finally hot enough to go for ice cream!
Author: Josie McGraw
Editor: Travis May
Photo: Courtesy of Author
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