Whiting column: We can’t lose our sense of humor

Bryan Whiting
Personal Responsibility

We can take ourselves too seriously.

Sure, the increasing inflation rate, impending recession, Russian imperialism and inhumanity are mentally draining and require decision-making. Traffic, climate change, housing and educating our children consume our remaining energy and corners of our brain.

As a result, it’s easy to think of ourselves as victims looking for someone or something to blame. Consequently, our tolerance and fuse become shorter, with sense of humor lost in the process.

The banter between generations is a good example and has been present since the time of Abraham. It doesn’t take but a few strokes on Twitter to read examples of millennials and Generation Z blaming baby boomers for the problems of the world and consequently nothing to offer the world. The boomer rebuttal isn’t on Twitter but abounds in oral conversation and is the correct version.

The main difference is our life experiences were different, but we learned from them and responded accordingly. We didn’t have seat belts. Child car seats didn’t exist. But we were tougher and more loyal. We stood up in the front passenger seat. We were going to go through the windshield with the rest of the family.

Our years provided experience. We’ve had short hair, long hair and no hair. We saw the first Rolling Stones tour and Star Wars I. We not only knew Elvis when he was alive, but when he was skinny. If someone needed a needle it was for a record player. When we said “no” to crack, it was a reminder to pull up our jeans.

We learned and adapted. We didn’t complain about the wait at Starbucks because we went to 7-Eleven for coffee before we got in line. We had designated drivers. Someone had to drive the car while the other three were mooning out the back window. When the doctor told us we needed to lose a few pounds, we learned that eating three donuts instead of four constitutes a diet. We learned that the rules in preschool and the bar were the same: You pee your pants, you go home.

Life provided its own answers.

Our best bedtime story: darkness. I once asked Dad what dreams meant. His response, “It means you’re sleeping.”

We had birth control. It was called acne, and it was 100% effective.

We had a TV remote control. It was yelling at little brother to go change the channel.

When we become dissatisfied and think we would like to go back to our youth, we remember trigonometry.

Regular naps prevent old age; especially if you take them while driving.

If one door closes and another one opens, your house is probably haunted.

We learned to always poop on New Year’s Eve. We don’t want to carry the same old crap into the next year.

We learned how to raise our children from our life experience. When our daughter got to high school, boys started getting interested. One called at 2 a.m. “Is Amanda there?” “If you’re smart, you’re going to hang up right now,” I responded. My wife, being the sweet person she is, said, “Bryan, you need to be nice.” “Nice ends at midnight,” was my reply.

A week later he came by to pick up Amanda for a date. I met him at the door. “Do you like my daughter?” “Yes,” he said. “Just remember: This is my daughter, my baby girl, the light of my life. If you’re thinking about kissing her, hugging her, getting too ambitious in your car, just remember, I don’t have any problem going back to prison.”

We learned to use our available resources. Our neighbor, Hugh, bought a bull and complained, “All that bull does is eat grass. Won’t even look at a cow.” I suggested he take him to the vet. Next week, Hugh was much happier. He told me, “The vet gave me some pills and the bull serviced all my cows. Then he broke through the fence and bred all the neighbor’s cows. He’s like a machine.” “What kind of pills were they,” I asked. “I don’t know, but they taste like peppermint.”

We learned life is all about perspective. The first tool of the unsuccessful is the excuse; the second is jealousy. If your employee does what you ask, pay them $1; if they do what you ask well, pay them $2; if they do it well without being asked, pay them $5.

Our retired neighbor Allen visited the doctor for a checkup. “Allen, you’re in great shape,” said the doctor afterward. “How do you do it?” “Well, Doc,” said Allen, “I don’t drink or smoke, and the good Lord looks out for me. For weeks now, every time I go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, he turns on the light for me.” Concerned, the doctor found Allen’s wife in the waiting room and told her what Allen said. “I don’t think there’s anything to worry about,” she said. “And on the bright side, it does explain who’s been peeing in the refrigerator.”

It’s our personal responsibility to learn from ours and other’s experiences and keep a sense of humor.

Bryan Whiting feels most of our issues are best solved by personal responsibility and an understanding of non-partisan economics rather than government intervention. Comments and column suggestions to:

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