Life is too short not to horse around now and then.
“Lighten up, dad!”
That’s what my younger son Stephen told me several years ago after a couple of blogs I wrote illustrating the harsh symptoms of a depressive episode. He wasn’t minimizing the effects of depression on me or suggesting that I could just laugh it off; rather, he was encouraging me to be more positive at times in my posts. So the purpose of this post is to make you laugh, or at least to grin like a possum, in response to what you read.
There’s an escalating body of research that shows the mental health benefits of humor and laughter. No one cites humor as a cure for depression, but researchers claim that it alleviates symptoms at least for a while. One review of the recent literature on this topic says, “Compared with usual care or control, laughter or humorous interventions reduced depression and anxiety symptoms by a small to moderate amount immediately after the intervention.”
So enjoy my ruminations on “second career” options; my ideas for outdoor, drive-in church services; animal humor, and my thoughts on how to tell when you are growing old.
Terry, what do you want to be when you grow up?
I thought of becoming a funeral director, but discovered that it is too grave of an undertaking. Also, I know so many crooked people that if they died, I’d have to screw their bodies into the ground, which would be less cost effective. I considered being a proctologist since doctors make good money, but then decided I wanted an office with a better view. I almost became a “prosperity gospel preacher,” but discovered I wasn’t accepted into that circle of believers because I tithe to my local church instead of to Trinity Broadcast Network or Inspiration Network. Besides, I don’t qualify because I don’t own an airplane.
I considered being a medical lab technician, but my wife Dolly reminded me that as a Christian, I am already “covered by the blood.” I heard there was an opening at the Mennen corporation to help roll out new deodorant products, but Dolly suggested I first get experience using one. The idea of becoming a great music composer appealed to me, until I learned that when I die I’d start decomposing. I figured I’d settle on becoming a pianist, but Dolly reminded me that I usually cannot find my keys. I thought about investing in a MacDonald’s franchise, then I realized that my golden arches have already fallen.
Could I be a garbage collector? No, that would be a waste of time. A massage therapist? No, my back already goes out more than I do. A jockey? No, I’m too old to horse around. A barber? No, I’ve forgotten what a head of hair looks like. (Dolly cut my hair yesterday…both of them.) A male fashion model? No, I remembered that when I get out of the shower now, I’m glad the mirror is all fogged up! A professional singer? No, my back hurts too much to carry a tune.
A tennis pro? No, love is too important to me, and to a tennis player, love is nothing. I was going to go into politics as a young man, but my parents urged me not to do it, saying those were “elected” positions and they didn’t want me to become a Calvinist. Then I considered becoming a plumber, but found out that the job is almost as messy as politics. “How about becoming a pro basketball player on the senior circuit?” I pondered. Then I remembered that since I’ve lost weight recently, I cannot keep my trunks up. Besides, I couldn’t make a living off the net results. Is carpentry an option? No, those sharp teeth on the saw kept biting me and I could never nail down how to use a hammer.
I was gonna be a comedian, but everybody started laughing at me before I even began my monolog. But when everything is said and done, I figure I’d just be me. Since there is only one of those around, I’d have a lot less competition!
Outdoor Drive-In Churches
If I started an outdoor church, we would meet in a parking lot or barren field and folks could stay in their cars. I can just see it now…
Folks who wanted to be saved could just drive forward. They could honk their horns if they needed to make an announcement, or raise their hoods if they had an unspoken prayer request. To say “Amen!” they’d blink their headlights. If the sermon didn’t put a dent in anyone’s wayward lifestyle, sideswiping might work.
Ladies who want to show off their new hairstyle or outfit could come in a convertible. Come to think of it, that’s what the unsaved should arrive in. It would be lots easier to accept Christ if they were already in a “convert”-ible. Single church members who are on the lookout for a date could come in a “pickup.” People who didn’t want to volunteer for anything could arrive in a Dodge. If anyone fell asleep during the sermon, a carhop could bring coffee so the person could perk up. Now that would be grounds for rejoicing!
I figure that God must have a sense of humor; after all, He created us, didn’t He?
I was going to get another dachshund puppy, but realize that I don’t enjoy the taste of hot dogs all that much. I considered a German Shepherd, but I wouldn’t understand his barking since I don’t know German. I’d get a pet cow except that folks tell me I am already too moo-dy. I pondered a pet hawk, then I read that a hawk has the eyes of an eagle and I wanted a pure breed. A pet owl? No, I figured it wouldn’t give a hoot about me.
A mocking bird? No, my ego is far too fragile to be mocked. “A pet squirrel”? No, Dolly wasn’t nuts about that idea. A chicken? No, though I am a South Carolina Gamecock fan, our two dogs don’t want to walk in chicken poop when they go outside to do their business. A giraffe? No, if the giraffe ever got sick, I’d go broke paying for sore throat medicine.
By the way, do you know what they call it when a bunch of rabbits jump up out of a hole in the ground, form a straight line, then start dancing backwards? Receding hare line. And do you know what it means when you see a bumblebee flying around with its legs crossed? It means it’s looking for a B P station.
Too Old to Cut the Mustard?
I exercised yesterday and I got very winded. That’s good, but Dolly is urging me to double my workout time tomorrow, up to a full minute. I look so old that my16-year-od dachshund, Farley, recently started calling me “grandpa” instead of “daddy.” These days, when I don’t “feel like myself,” it’s a big improvement! Folks say that things tend to improve with age. If that’s true, I’m getting better and better! I need to start thinking more about “last things.” Since I’ve always thought “outside the box,” I’m considering cremation.
I was going to tell you a joke about forgetfulness, but I can’t remember the punchline. I know I’m getting old because my knees buckle but my belt won’t. I sat in a rocking chair yesterday but couldn’t make it go. At Longhorn’s steak house recently, I sunk my teeth into a steak and they stayed there! Earlier today, as I bent over to get something off the floor, I wondered, “What else can I do while I’m down here?” I’m writing this in the late afternoon. You know, the older I get, the earlier it gets late. Last night I “burned the midnight oil,” and didn’t go to bed until 8:30 p.m. I need to go to Planet Fitness for a workout, but these days, my idea of lifting weights is standing up. This morning, I bent over to straighten out the wrinkles in my socks, then discovered that I wasn’t wearing any. This morning, when I sat at the table for breakfast, I heard a snap, crackle and pop, but I wasn’t eating cereal.
But I assure you that I cannot possibly be “over the hill.” Why not? Because I’ve never made it to the top!
Indeed, the person who learns to laugh at himself will never cease to be entertained!
“So teach us to number our days, that we may present to Thee a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).
“A joyful heart is good medicine” (Proverbs 17:22a). Literally, the meaning is “A joyful heart causes good healing.”
May our Lord give you the capacity to laugh today.