When I heard that the Obama administration was planning on forgiving student loans, I was mad. Mad for all the students who DID have to repay their loans through sacrifice and discipline. Mad for the people who have car loans and are feeling lucky at this news. Mad at a culture that is not more mad over this issue.
Humor is all about
* accepting who and where and what we are–even and sometimes especially the not-so-pleasant
* becoming open to possibility and ideas
* discovering who we are, and what we’re on earth to accomplish
* having fun as we enjoy the entire journey
This process can’t happen if the component of “self” is taken from the equation of self-responsibility.
This process can’t happen if we shield people from the negative and encourage them to only see the positive and shiny/bright/sweet-smelling.
The news of the loan forgiveness struck me, because it highlighted our increasingly-normal response to change. That is, we don’t, won’t and can’t ADAPT. That’s because we are looking at “college” in outdated terms. Just like the Hausfrau image has hampered interpersonal relations by giving (usually) the woman what sociologist Arlie Hochschild names a Second Shift.
The problem is that we have kept our image—our “perfect” image–of what college should be, despite radically changed circumstances that make this image not only obsolete, but dangerous to apply in today’s world.
That “perfect” image had us needing to travel far, far away from home to a college. Going to a branch campus or community college was unacceptable. Commuting while living at home? Nonsense! College meant finding a profession, and preferably a husband. ”College life” meant partying and wasting time. Being free. Not worrying about who would be responsible. Ok, maybe that was just me. But that DID work way back in my undergraduate days.
Unfortunately for today’s students, the world has raced quickly out of that image, and we haven’t created another “perfect” college image to replace it. But maybe that’s the problem: We’re focusing too much on a comforting goal: perfection. And even though we know it’s unattainable, we tenaciously grasp onto it, a security blanket in a world that’s increasingly unknown and therefore, unsafe.
What do we do when we face the unknown? We run, hide, ignore, and/or cling to what we’ve known to work in the past. Our first choice isn’t usually to see how that past choice and today’s reality gel or don’t.
The worst part of the loan forgiveness isn’t that it will happen. Isn’t that it’s a dangerous precedent to set in the attitude and mindset of the next generations.
The worst thing about it all is that it reminds me that we DON”T have a healthy or useful strategy for dealing with change. It tells me that we don’t naturally or typically want to make adjustments. It shows me that our open-mindedness that we claim to have isn’t so wide-open after all.
The natural progression of graduation in your area of concentration leading to a job in that profession today is laughable. That fossilized mindset is what stops students in their tracks, hardens their mind like cement around only looking for work in that area of expertise. Smashes the entrepreneurial spirit in its wake.
This loan forgiveness issue should inspire us. No, not to sign up for college. To examine what OTHER areas our thinking have become fossilized. Which other models we’re basing our current actions on, even though they may be ineffective. What attitudes we’re clutching to, that don’t serve us in (the) reality of our situation.
How much do YOU owe in student loans? How funny is THAT?
This week’s Comedy Around the World goes to the airport en route to Thanksgiving vacation. Humor is all about having fun despite our outward circumstances, right? However, the TSA’s recent actions don’t seem all that humorous at all. Here’s why I’m boycotting them (besides the fact that I am not flying anywhere this Thanksgiving):
1. The TSA flouts humor’s big-picture view. By focusing on minutiae the organization isn’t achieving it’s goals.
2. TSA’s refusal to look at other perspectives makes it’s goals fail. Is airport terror still even cool to the Quaeda kids or have they moved onto something else while the TSA hasn’t?
3. The behavior of some of the TSA agents shows they have forgotten the human factor.
4. Not wholly at fault, the TSA has to hear from a larger entity. This stifles the TSA’s creative problem-solving and also throws rationality out the trap door.
5. The TSA isn’t making travel FUN anymore. What we have now is uncertainty, anxiety, and fear—aren’t those the very things the TSA is supposed to prevent?
Whether or not YOUR organization allows humor, you can still embrace it within your own actions.
Where will YOU travel to this Thanksgiving? And how funny is THAT?
The Twinkie Diet is outrageous, right? It goes against all common sense, all experts’ admonitions, and even our national moral code. Culinary madness!
It helped one man to lose 27 pounds.
1. Mark Haub, professor of human nutrition and hero of humorist speakers everywhere, decided to buck common sense.
2. He purposely targeted the lesser-species of edible reality. The bottom of the food chain, right above aphids and fossils from the Paleolithic Period.
3. He stayed on his mission, even adding various malicious snacks like those proffered by Little Debbie.
4. He likely ignored all the health fanatics and soccer moms who probably told him he was being a poor role model.
5. He very well enjoyed his experiment.
That’s the secret that humor holds, too.
It looks like fluff. Like white-flour pablum that couldn’t possibly hold any nutritional value.
And so what do we do?
Of course we don’t make it a staple of our diets.
If we do consume it, it’s late at night when we can bring it out of the cupboard where we hid it.
We can’t even relish the taste because we feel so guilty about its valuelessness.
But, humor, like the Twinkie Diet, really works.
1. Humor requires us to buck the trend, the commonplace, and the status quo. No one should make twinkies a staple of their diet and certainly no one should make that public knowledge, right?
2. Humor demands that we commit to its purpose and stay with it till the end. The sugar shock alone may make one woozy, but to prove his point, Haub stayed true to his offbeat experiment.
3. Humor requires us to realize what we truly feel, think and believe. If we like Twinkies, we should go ahead and eat them.
4. Humor’s usage practically guarantees us stress-reduction. Whether it’s angry, playful, or self-condemning, it’s ultimately cathartic. The mere exercise of eating what one desires may have propelled Haub’s body to shed the excesses it held because of “common sense.”
What do you avoid, regulate, criticize, or demonize because you think it’s the “healthy” thing to do? Let HUMOR tip the scales in YOUR favor!
Humor requires us to see in a way that the norm does not consider. Otherwise, something wouldn’t strike us as funny, surprising, or weird.
I’ve always been a big fan of open-mindedness and creativity. But: How far should we take it?
Seeing the other side’s point of view is laudable. But: to continue to look further and further into their perspective wrecks our better judgment (and yes, there is judgement involved in humor…).
Case in point, the mosque to be built at Ground Zero. After we pull through all the tendrils involved—the funding source, the intention, the power structures, the institutions, the politicians, the money, the histories involved, the victims (on both sides)—to not make a sound judgement is a mistake.
Doormat, no. Clever, effective use of open-mindedness, yes. Absolutely!
Like anything else, open mindedness can be taken too far. I know. I was the one who wrote, “Ladybug Johnson.”
Starting out with judgment is not a good thing. But finishing our thought process with it is.
What do YOU say? How open is YOUR open-mindedness?
Today’s Comedy Around the World goes to the world of television. Since I don’t have one, I read about it on the internet. And today I just read that my friend Michael McGlone is starring in a series of Geico commercials. Not only was Michael a fellow actor with me on the Kill Point on SPIKE TV. He is also a writer, voice-over artist, and musician.
The Geico commercials are compelling not just because my friend is in them. They are riveting because they are so funny.
Once again, humor operates to
1. improve profits by
2. increasing our retention of those products by
3. making us listen intently to the commercial
What are you selling, saying, or doing that could be more remarkable by adding humor?
Think winning is all about being fierce, mean, overpowering, and ruthless?
One of the students at my school just won the state javelin competition. That’s an astounding accomplishment in itself. But what was more intruguing is what he said about winning.
He didn’t expect to win. He only hoped for 8th or 9th place. He thought the current record holder would win anyway, so he just planned on having a good time and doing his best.
In such a relaxed mind-milieu he did his best. And set a new state record for the event!
This strategy completely flouts the positive-thinking, “I’m the best” advice we’ve been taught to embrace. Sure, that kind of thinking can boost your self-esteem. Until someone comes along who is better than you, faster, brighter, taller, prettier, or wealthier, or, etc. You get the idea.
It’s a very tenuous existence. Because we stop being OUR best, and we start being THEIR best.
And then we can’t get into the mind-set of the javelin champ.
What if we’d go into every situation aiming for 8th or 9th place.
The pressure’s off.
We can relax, maybe even have fun.
And maybe even win~
Ready to supercharge your year? Yes, I realize we’re halfway into it already but it’s never too late to start. Or too late to laugh. Here’s part of my article for Dr. Nancy Mramor’s Happiness Project, Have the Happiest Year of Your Life. To read the rest of the article, just sign up for Dr. Nancy’s e-zine series. It’s that simple! Each month you’ll get a power-packed issue to keep you on track.
Here we go:
Change is Painful but Humor Can Help!
By Trina Hess, D.Ed. Author, Humorist Speaker
Everyone hates change. It’s painful, unpleasant and not much fun. But if we look at change through the lens of humor, we can transform it into something tremendous and terrific. We can feel more in control over our lives and what happens to us.
Humor, laughter, smiling - they all help improve our health and well-being. They can be equally useful and powerful when we’re going through transition situations like job changes, relationship changes, aging, and any surprise changes in our lives. The great news is that we can harness humor to heal our hurts, and make us a harbinger of a healthier harvest of happiness.
The benefits of humor aren’t just to make us happier, though. There are specific physical responses that happen when we laugh. Our blood pressure lowers. Our breathing improves (once we stop laughing and catch our breath). Our resting heart rate slows, and we get an increase in killer T-cells. There are even chemical reactions that occur in the brain when we see, hear, or even anticipate something funny.
Today’s Comedy Around the World goes to Athens, Greece. Home of the first ever marathon race, 26.2 miles.
When I signed up to run the race with the Leukemia Society’s Team in Training marathon fund-raising program, I pictured a big party. After all, that year marked the 100th anniversary of the running from Marathon into Athens during the war. The runner died at the end, but that was beside the point. This would be a big party! Lots of excitement! History, athletics, fun!
Was I ever wrong.
That race taught me a lot. From that fiasco I got:
1. A crash-course in perceptions. What was marketed as a majestic event was in reality a tragic disaster. Note to self: The Greek people are not into fitness or—apparently history, either. At least not the kind of history that involves fitness activities. Another note to self: it’s very, very bad to run a marathon in 80+ degree (F) heat with little water, and completely on pavement. Especially when all your training was done on the soft, snow-packed roads of rural Western Pennsylvania.
2. A better way to train. The guest speaker for our pre-race workshop was Jeff Galloway. He gave us his training regimen. I followed it in the next marathon I ran, in Anchorage. It was my most enjoyable marathon ever. If indeed there can be such a thing as an enjoyable marathon.
3. To trust that people will pull together and create a fun or at least a manageable event, even in times of crisis. As those of us in the back-of-the-pack clamored for water in the sweltering heat, sometimes picking up discarded bottles along the road, a funny thing happened. People who had intact bottles of water were sharing it with strangers. Runners noticed the other runners who were distressed and shared their water from their backpacks. Everyone was in pain, but some still found the strength to care for the others left behind. It was an amazing thing to see and a scene I will always remember.
4. What works for one sector, faction, or business may not work for yours. Like I mentioned in 1., the Greek people weren’t all that excited about this race. At least not by the time my fragmented body wandered into the finish area in downtown Athens, which was—ironically enough—in the Olympic stadium. I realized I may have been reliving the death scene that occurred at the end of the original marathon. There was no parade hailing me to the finish line. Instead, I had to wend my way around rush-hour traffic that had smog that was unbearable. I didn’t know which was more dangerous, breathing the smog or holding my breath.
5. Look at all the aspects, all sides of the issue. If I would have done my research, I could have known that Athens would be quiet that day. That I would have to motivate myself, rather than rely on the kindness of Greek strangers. I would have found out the race course, and that it included absolutely no grass or snow or other soft surfaces. I would have known that the water was only rationed according to your own tour group. There’s nothing like seeing an oasis of water bottles and dragging yourself there only to find out that it’s for another charity group, not yours. Had that group been less rigid and inflexible, they would have saved several of us runners from heat exhaustion.
Your “100th Anniversary” celebration is your way of creating a humorous atmosphere. Make sure the celebration that others join is the same one you’ve envisioned. And bring enough water for everyone! to others as you;re picturing it for yourself?
Inflexibility, inefficient facts,
Today marks the 40th annivarsary of the shootings at Kent State. That defining event showed has risky it can be to speak your mind. And how dangerous a misunderstanding can be.
When I was about ten years old, I rode with my family to Kent, Ohio. We picked up my grandma’s cousin who lived near Kent and she gave us the official tour. Pointed out where the shootings occurred. I didn’t understand what she was talking about. I hadn’t paid attention to the news. But now I realize that just like humor can occur anywhere, so can events like the Kent State Massacre.
There was likely no humor on May 4th, 1970. Nothing to laugh about. But humor could have prevented disaster, altered history, and brought more of a win-win resolution.
The lack of humor in the Kent State Massacre showed us some things:
How to Not Express Your Opinions The demonstrators were overtaken by emotion. So were the National Guardsmen. Both lost.
How to Not Take Yourself (or Your Side) So Seriously Emotions drove actions, to the detriment of both sides. Seriousness prevented either side from even considering another side’s point of view. Both lost.
How to Never Achieve a Win-Win The heaviness of both sides’ views weighted them to their respective sides. There may have been little they had in common. But without advancing toward the other’s perspective, no progress was made. Both lost.
Having a sense of humor isn’t a panacea. Times of distress, danger and destruction make humor especially hard to find. But it’s exactly humor that can whip us into attention and broaden our range of actions.
This week’s Comedy Around the World goes to Germany for their Carneval festival. I just read about a controversy involving this festive and joke-filled holiday. “Parody and mockery are part of its tradition,” said Matthias von der Bank, a historian from Cologne’s Carnival Museum, “but it wasn’t satire like we have today. In the Middle Ages, carnival was a festival of reverse worlds and a playful expression of this,” von der Bank said. “So Christian symbols, for example, were turned upside down.”
The recent controversy stems from jokes that were made about certain religious leaders in the German culture.
Some people defended the humor, saying that is the purpose of the Carneval–to allow freedom of expression, and a chance to air one’s truth. One person said, “People have to be able to handle satire. This satire can and should also be directed against the church or political topics. In the case of cabaret or satire, people have to be able to take it. It is part of our culture.”
Others, though, said that the jokes went too far. That religious leaders and ideals, especially, were immune to any sort of humor-mongering. “Our philosophy is that Carnival should be fun and friendly,” said Sigrid Krebs, spokeswoman for the city’s carnival committee.
What do YOU say? How far IS too far? How do we honor our humorous nature while still residing in a sometimes non-humorous world?
Share your opinions here on the blog or on my Facebook Fan Page http://tinyurl.com/trinacomedy
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