Finding The Funny In Ordinary Moments

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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Sometimes You Don’t Have To Look Far to Find The Funny

Today  just want to share how an ordinary moment can be funny, if you just choose to make it so.

“That’s it. I’ve had it,” I dramatically announced to my husband as we sat in bed reading. He rolled his eyes, no doubt wondering if this was going to be a repeat of last night’s tirade when I’d had enough of telemarketers. Or the night before when I’d had enough of toys that required tools to get them opened.

“These glasses have been crooked for three years,”

I said with the same shocked look I had when I realized not everybody stuffs their pet and puts it by the front door.

“I told you to get them adjusted. Takes five minutes,” he murmured without looking up from his magazine. That was one my weaknesses – those little five minute tasks – like rotating the tires, checking the fire alarm batteries, and finding out why I can’t hear out of my left ear on Saturdays.

So I actually did it. I pulled into the vision place across the street, marched up to the counter and said, “These glasses are really crooked. I need them adjusted.” The clerk stared at the mangled glasses that looked like they’d just spent a Friday night wedged in the back seat of Lindsey Lohan’s limo while she whispers, “I’m not drunk. I’m just stressed.” The clerk left with my glasses and returned two seconds later and I was on my way. They felt great. Until I got home to a mirror and saw that they were still crooked. “OH . . . MY . . . GOSH!” I yelled, as my husband came running into the bedroom still dripping from his unfinished shower.

“What? What is it?” he yells in alarm.

“They’re STILL crooked!” I shout.

So I had to go back the next day. Now I’m mad. One time was fine – but two trips – this was insane. I held an ongoing conversation in my head with the incompetent clerk who was obviously out to get me and probably made it her life’s mission to send people into the world with crooked vision. “They’re still crooked,” I said through gritted teeth, with a smile and an expression that said “I’m on to you little missy. Bringing me out here twice. You must not know who I am and what my time is worth. I’m a storyteller. I speak for a living. All it’ll take is one word and I can bring you down.”

Yes, I have a look that says all that. Just ask the dry cleaner.

She sighed, smiled back, and gave me a look that said, “If I didn’t need this job I’d smack you – whoever you think you are – and it can’t be “all that” considering I saw your jacket on the clearance table at Big Lots.” She sauntered off to adjust my glasses.

“Let’s make sure they fit okay?” she said. “Before you leave. She placed the glasses on and they felt great. We looked in the mirror. Still crooked.

“See? I’m not crazy!” I squealed.

“Yep. They’re crooked,” she answered.

“Well, can you fix it?” I asked drawing each word out like she’d been struck deaf.

“The glasses are straight,” she said pointedly. “I’m afraid it’s you that’s crooked.” I swear she smirked.

“What?” I thought I had already conjured up every disorder that could possibly exist, and come to find that I might have a crooked face? Wait till I tell Mom. Did I get it from her? Do I come from a long line of crooked-headed women and I’m just the first to find out about it? Get me to the internet. I’ve got to see if there are others who’ve been struck by this phenomenon. Perhaps there is a support group. “Well, can’t you just make the glasses crooked?” I asked giving her the same look I gave the cashier who thought Obama was a terrorist.

“Can’t bend ’em anymore or they’ll break.” She actually looked happy to be telling me this.

“This is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen! Do you get other people in here like this?” I am oddly comforted by the misfortune of others.

“Oh, yeah, all the time. Sometimes people have one ear higher than the other – or maybe it’s the eyebrows. Yeah, sometimes they have one eyebrow higher than the other. Maybe that’s your problem.” She stared intently at my face. “Yeah, that’s it. Look! You’ve got one eyebrow higher than the other.” And that’s when the problem slowly shifted into focus. My cheeks reddened and I rushed from the store with my glasses before she could figure out that my uneven eyebrows were not blamed on nature, but on my unsteady hand as I groggily drew them on every morning.

I sat in the car and stared at what was now so obvious. I had been drawing my eyebrows on crooked.

Sure enough, one eyebrow was a good quarter inch higher than the other. I had been walking around for years looking like a circus freak. I had been walking around with a mixed expression of confusion and surprise on my face. No wonder they stared at me in Target. No wonder the other mothers shielded their kids when I came around. No wonder those door-to-door church people kept coming back. How could this have happened to me? Even more – how could my husband not have noticed?

This was all his fault. I was waiting for him when he got home from work – sitting in the dark holding an empty glass. “How could you?” I asked.

“What?” he answered without stopping as he marched into the kitchen for a drink, totally ruining my dramatic effect.

“How could you not tell me?”

“Good grief. Not this autism thing again. I told you, you’re not autistic. Just because you get stressed when your routine is broken doesn’t mean anything. A little nuts. A little OCD, but not autistic.”

“Not that,” I answered. “My eyebrows. How could you not tell me my eyebrows were crooked? After all these years.”

“Who told you that?” He asked coming in for a closer look.

“The girl at the vision place told me. They’re crooked.”

“Weird.” He opened the paper and began to read.

“That’s all you can say?”

“What do you want me to say?”

“Nothing. I wanted you to notice me every once in a while. To notice that one eyebrow was higher than the other. All it took was one look – one tiny look. And you couldn’t even do that. All you had to say was that my eyebrow was crooked and I could have erased it and started over and we wouldn’t be having this conversation and the neighbors wouldn’t think I’m a freak.”

“The neighbors already thought you were a freak long before that. You were the one who got locked out of the house in your stilettos and curlers. You were the one who drank too much at the Jenkins’ birthday party and crawled into the dog’s bed and fell asleep. And what do you mean you’ll erase it and start over?” I had finally gotten his attention.

“My eyebrow. If I’d known it was crooked I would have erased it and drawn it lower.” I showed him what I meant by rubbing one eyebrow furiously until there was nothing left but a couple of invisible hairs. He actually backed away from me.

“Are you telling me you draw your eyebrows on? With one of those pencil things? Like my great aunt Ethel who uses a cigarette holder and talks to her purse?”

“Yes,” I answered, suddenly wondering if this fell into the category of things a man wouldn’t understand – kind of like how I can actually see better once I have my eyeliner on- or how it is worth it to wear those suck-me-in panties and look a size smaller even if it does squash my ovaries. “Yes, I draw my eyebrows on.” I said it like every woman did it. As if he was the one who was nuts. It didn’t work.

I could hear him laughing all the way from the garage where I had marched in anger after grabbing my keys and saying only that I was going out – as if to insinuate that he should be worried – when really I was going out to drown my sorrows in a double fudge waffle cone which always makes me feel better. I needed to get out. I just wish I had remembered that I was now missing one eyebrow.

Kelly Swanson
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