My default response to most of what life offers me is to find the humor. First and foremost, I love to laugh. Second, laughing is cathartic and helps me find a new perspective when needed.
That is not to say I laugh in the midst of tragedy, which is something that requires a far different response. But when I can, I lift my spirits with humor – and that affects the way I share my stories in conversation.
My Recent Experience
Two weeks ago, I fell in Times Square. With a sigh of relief, I quickly understood that this was not a tragic situation – nothing was broken, pulled, or sprained; no ambulance would be called.
I had been on my way to the theatre, feeling relatively warm in the 18-degree weather as I quickly walked up 7th Avenue to 44th Street. The light changed and I decided I didn’t really need to walk the extra ten steps to the crosswalk (typical New Yorker) and started to cross the avenue.
In my hurry, I didn’t see an incline down to the street and lost my balance. My left foot rolled on its side and I fell on my right knee. Within seconds, I found myself in the kind and capable hands of three gallant angels who swooped upon me, helped me up, and ensured I was OK.
My injury appeared to be little more than a bruised ego – not so bad in the whole scheme of things. How does one deal with a bruised ego? This one laughs.
I hobbled my way to the theatre and successfully negotiated the stairs to the balcony. An usher, the fourth angel of the story, warned me that my seat was going to be very difficult to get to. I would literally have to hug a column and squeeze by it to sit down.
All went well, only to find I was in the wrong row. Now that I saw what I had to do, I did a great job of protecting my right knee – but jammed the edge of the wooden armrest into an excruciatingly painful “funny bone” (who knew?!) in my left knee.
I lost my balance – arms flailing similar to what I remember from the old silent movies of Charlie Chaplin and the Keystone Cops. I steadied myself just in time to save the people in the row below from having a very unpleasant surprise.
The usher requested cold packs and suggested I wait in the back with him so that I wouldn’t have to get up to let others squeeze by when they arrived. Great idea, until someone stepped flat on my injured left foot. It was pure farce – now more like the Three Stooges.
There was one final laughable moment. I don’t normally see a Saturday matinee, and it’s interesting to note why was I there. This play was being livestreamed, and a friend who lives out of state planned to attend virtually while I would be at the same performance in person.
It was a fun idea that didn’t quite work out.
My friend’s virtual ticket was for the next day when the temperature here was in the balmy 50s. I was so sure we had agreed upon that Saturday, and then I found the message in which I chose Sunday from the dates she gave me. If only I had acted on my own choice!
Learning to Reframe
I grew up in an environment that had more than its share of drama. Learning to open to a perspective that allows me to find humor has been helpful and even healing as I move forward in life.
One of my earliest lessons of using humor to reframe drama came from my dear friend Sheila. After I moved to Los Angeles, my mother would send guilt-laden, drama-filled letters. Her default reaction to life was one that skewed to woe, and her writing was dripping with it.
Sheila took the letters and read them to me in a way that was simply brilliant. She treated my mother’s words as a comic script and created a caricature that was hilariously over the top. The heaviness I felt immediately lifted.
“Humor is mankind’s greatest blessing.” Mark Twain
As I reflect in an ongoing conversation with myself, it is clear I need to center my thoughts and slow down. I had plenty of time that day and didn’t need to hurry. And if I had double-checked before buying my ticket, I would have been out on a much nicer day, enjoying the warmer temperature as I walked.
I feel very fortunate. Nothing was broken. I’m healing well. I got to meet some wonderful people who helped me through it all. And, at least for now, I have slowed down and become more centered, and there’s a gift in that.
Getting a good story to share? Priceless.
Photo by Aleksey Dmetsov on Adobe Stock.
4 thoughts on “My Left Foot – Reframing to Humor”
Awesome story – made me laugh out loud! As usual, great insights Cathy!
I’m so happy that you were able to share in the humor with me, Allison. Sometimes, we just have to laugh…!
OMG!!!I’m trying to picture all these scenes. Could be a new play on Broadway staring Dick van Dyke.
Glad you are ok and just a bruised ego.
Dick van Dyke – I love that image! Thank you, Harriet!!