“I just shaved my lower legs, my armpits, and my upper lip. You guys are getting “my best self” when we go out on Sunday”.my contribution to a group text with 4 other close girlfriends
From the looks of my acquaintances’ social media posts, I have far less of a social life than, well… everyone. So when the opportunity for last-minute lunch date with 4 amazing women, along with some wine tasting, pops up… I get giddy. And if the opportunity arises to crack you up (at my expense), I take advantage of that, too. Constantly. Annoyingly. The above group text had started prior to going out. Five women in their 30’s & 40’s. Five stellar women, with no ill-will, no jealousy, no need for typical-chick-$%@# (I’ve legally trademarked that phrase). A group where you could be yourself. So I was.
This is my type of humor; telling my friends how special they are by advising them that my grooming regimen increased just for them. Not necessarily making fun of myself. Just slight self-degradation to make others feel better about themselves. Isn’t there a rule? If you can’t make fun of yourself, who can you make fun of? I like being the friend who quietly straightens your crown, then makes fun of my own. Stress can manifest itself in numerous ways; I could write a Pulitzer Prize novel on that topic. Personally, in times of sadness and stress, I crack jokes. In times of joy and celebration, I crack jokes. My ultimate favorite past time is to catch people completely off guard and lift their spirits.
“Humor is something that thrives between man’s aspirations and his limitations. There is more logic in humor than in anything else. Because, you see, humor is truth.”Victor Borge
It was an extremely stressful, emotionally draining shift… so, it was a typical day in the life of a 9-1-1 dispatcher. No real breaks, and if you needed to eat something… anything… you had to take 2 chews, stuff it in your cheek, answer an emergency call, utilize the ‘mute’ button, chew a little more, swallow, un-mute button, save a life. The whole room was running on empty. Finally, a potty break. This was my chance to empty my bladder, take a few blood-pressure-lowering ‘cleansing breaths’, and look at the back of a bathroom stall door instead of 6 computer screens. My haven.
After returning to the room, getting situated in my still-warm, ergonomic, 24-hour-use rated chair, I adjusted my headset and surveyed the room. None of my partners were on a phone line or had any radio traffic… just for a moment. I had a serious question. A deep, psychological, mystery that I had never heard another soul ever discuss (and I’m fairly sure you haven’t, either). “Hey guys, question for you… do you wipe while standing, or wipe while still sitting?”
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The shock only lasted a split second, and was quickly followed by uproarious laughter, which we all desperately needed that day. My primary intent was some stress relief for my coworkers in the form of levity. My secondary intent was to see if we had all been taught the same way from our parents, if there was a guidebook out there for how to properly do it (googling it doesn’t seem wise), or if it was just because my arms are too short and my rear is too big. According to my brother, knowing this could answer a multitude of psychological, childhood questions. With a simple, random, thought provoking question, everyone’s serotonin levels increased.
“I no doubt deserved my enemies, but I don’t believe I deserved my friends.”Walt Whitman
They say confidence comes with age. Well if you add my age, with my sense of humor, you’ll get a fun, uplifting, wine-tasting day with girlfriends. Oh, last weekend. Those poor, poor girls. They definitely got my “best self” that day, and I didn’t even drink! #DD. This last year has been a fog. Only recently have I occasionally felt like my “old self”… which can be hyper and way too happy… and may severely irritate my friends and family (or anyone remotely near me). Maybe it’s hormones, or healing, or how a healthy person experiences their own natural serotonin ‘dump’. Who cares. I’ll take it.
Sometimes we just don’t have much to give. Your “best self” may barely be able to get out of bed, let alone shave your armpits. It’s easier to be rude to someone, than to lift them up. Look around for where there’s a need. Make someone laugh this week. Dig a little deeper. Your best self is who you deserve. Ponder why you wipe the way you wipe. My week’s goals are to crack a few jokes, commit a random act of kindness, and keep my ankles, upper lip, and armpits smooth.