Some situations present us with multiple options on how we can respond. We can a) get really mad, b) cry, c) laugh, or d) be horrified. We all know that “c” is the most common answer on a multiple choice test, so that’s what I go with. Being someone who is little (I barely graze 5 feet and am “small-boned”), hard-of-hearing, and spends all day with high-schoolers, a sense of humor is necessary lest I wish to sing “They’re coming to take me away, a-ha!”
Take for example, my student who upon learning I met my husband ten years ago exclaimed, “Oh, you must have been so pretty then!”
There was also the student who, out of complete sincerity, asked me one day, “So, your dwarfism…. were you born like that or was it something that happened to you?” The kid next to him leaned over, “Dude, you just called the teacher a dwarf.”
Or my flower girl at my wedding, who instead of tossing flower petals, carefully and meticulously placed the petals evenly spaced on each side of the aisle, stopped halfway through so she could go back and fix one she missed, before proceeding to work her way up to the front. The DJ had to play a second loop of the music.
Or when I sold furniture and we got a new gal to run the front desk. I told her, like I tell everyone, that I’m hard of hearing. She always spoke to me in the voice that we reserve for the blind and non-English speakers: “HEH-LOW! HOWW ARRRE YOOOUUU? YOOOUUU HAAAVVE AH PHONNE CAHLL.” Never mind that no one else who worked there spoke to me this way. The other salespeople grabbed throw pillows off couches to muffle their laughter as I replied, “I AHM WELLLL. THAANNK YOOOUUU.”
Or when taking orders at the McDonald’s drive-thru (a.k.a. a Bad Idea). With my reliance on reading lips, the fact that fries, pie and Sprite all rhyme, the static, the roar of the engines and surging bass from the radios, it was no surprise when I asked one man to repeat his order three times. Frustrated beyond belief with me, he found his loud and clear voice to demand, “What are you, deaf?” “Yes, sir, I am. Will you please pull up to the window so I can read your lips?” When he sheepishly arrived, I pulled off my headset and took out my hearing-aid for him. He shook his head, “Well, I’ll be damned. Whose moronic idea was it to put you up here?” I grinned, having waited for so long to say this, “My manager! It was his moronic idea to put me here.” Besides giving the drive-thru shift, my manager, who spit while talking, also felt inclined to speak directly into my good ear.
These are not my only stories. I could have gotten upset at each instance. I could have made people feel bad (the girl that I mocked, was so oblivious, that she didn’t realize that both of our behaviors were ridiculous). I could have gotten my feelings hurt. Stuff happens, and it’s funny. So why cry about it?
(My flower girl was primed by me and her mother on her role in my wedding. I was quite pleased she took her job so seriously, but other brides may not have been so happy.)
Readers– Has anybody said anything to you that was just laughable?