Exercising the Smile Muscles

As time goes on I become  more convinced that many of the problems we face are the direct result of trying to compartmentalize the different parts of our lives, sometimes going as far as having different principles for each. Lately I’ve been trying to tear down these silos in my own life  and live with a commitment toward greater alignment between my values and my words, attitudes and actions.

While I’m convinced this is the right move, it is not without its hazards — focus for one has become a casualty.  So often I’ll find myself listening to a sermon at church and thinking, that’s a great theme for this week’s business presentation or thinking a “God-thought” during a business meeting.  This apparent lack of focus can be downright frustrating.  Then again, I’m convinced that it’s the way I should have been living all along, as one person with just one set of values and beliefs, who happens to wear many hats.  There is something very liberating about being my true self at all times.  Becoming more genuine means there isn’t as much to remember because I am no longer a slave to the opinions of others.  I’m smiling just thinking about this rediscovered freedom!

Another hazard will happen when people discover the new me (or is it the real me they didn’t know because of my silos?)  Will they be confused?  Will they be afraid?  Will they think I’ve changed?  Well yes, I am changing.  But, only in the sense that I’m changing back into just one person.  Good-bye schizophrenia!   Will they think I “got religion?”  (I’m smiling again.)

One way I feel the change is in my willingness to admit a goof-up.  I’m not talking about moral failings as much as those trivial flubs that make me look like a klutz or a dope.  It’s a lot easier to laugh about them.  If people want to think I’m a big dummy, let them!  (I just did 10 more reps with the smile muscles.)

Where in your life can you become more genuine?  You don’t have to surrender the private parts of your life with the whole world.  You do have to make sure they are in full alignment with your true values.  Then you too can be liberated.


I don’t know what inspired me to write about humor this day. The books I’m reading lately are drop dead serious. I haven’t seen any funny television commercials for the longest time. I guess it must be the spontaneous memory of something I read long ago, which is one person’s definition of humor.

“There are 3 types of humor: 1) a logical series of events leading to an illogical conclusion; 2) an unpredictable substitution of reason; 3) slipping on a banana peel.” — Unknown

Now that we have a working definition, let me note that humor can be found almost everywhere, even at funerals and in church. In my experience, most pastors don’t know how to tell a joke, at least not as well as a church secretary. Some great humor can be found in church bulletins and announcements. Imagine a moment of quiet reflection being interrupted by one of the following announcements?

“Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the recreation hall. Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.”

“The low Self-Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 to 8:30 p. m. Please use the back door.”

“8 new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.”

So much for creating a mood of reverence. This type of amusing slip-up can also be found in the news media. I recall a summer day in 1977 like it was yesterday. On my car radio I heard the following late-breaking report:

“Groucho Marx died yesterday after 86 years in a Los Angeles hospital.”

Groucho would have been proud!

Humor is so important that it has its own Internet “initialisms” such as LOL and ROFL, which mean “Laughing Out Loud” and “Rolling On the Floor Laughing.” Humor’s significance goes beyond amusement and pleasure. It helps us cope in difficult times. It helps us lead. It helps us teach. Read the following quotes and you’ll understand what I mean.

“Humor is a rubber sword — it allows you to make a point without drawing blood.” — Mary Hirsch

“Humor is the great thing, the saving thing. The minute it crops up, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place.” — Mark Twain

“Our five senses are incomplete without the sixth — a sense of humor.” — Author Unknown

“Comedy is simply a funny way of being serious.” — Peter Ustinov

“Comedy is tragedy plus time.” — Carol Burnett

Humor is a matter of personal taste. What is funny to me may not be funny to you. Therefore, any attempt to make a top ten list is futile. Even so, I thought this issue of Clancy’s Quotes would be incomplete if it didn’t include some humor that made me LOL.

“Give a man a fish, and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll buy a funny hat. Talk to a hungry man about fish, and you’re a consultant.” — Scott Adams, Dogbert; Dilbert cartoons

There once was a young man from Lyme
Who couldn’t get his limericks to rhyme
When asked “Why not?”
It was said that he thought
They were probably too long and badly structured and not at all very funny.
— Anonymous

“Golf combines two favorite American pastimes: taking long walks and hitting things with a stick.” — P.J. O’Rourke

“2 is not equal to 3, not even for large values of 2.” — Grabel’s Law

“Son, if you really want something in this life, you have to work for it. Now quiet! They’re about to announce the lottery numbers.” — Homer Simpson

“The doctor says to the patient, ‘Take your clothes off and stick your tongue out the window’. ‘What will that do?’ asks the patient. The doctor says ‘I’m mad at my neighbor!”” — Henny Youngman

“Adults are always asking little kids what they want to be when they grow up because they’re looking for ideas.” — Paula Poundstone

“Q: What do you get when you cross an insomniac, an agnostic, and a dyslexic?
A: Someone who stays up all night wondering if there is a Dog.”
— Groucho Marx

God Bless,

— CC

© Copyright June 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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