This I Believe

David - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on October 23, 2006
Age Group: 30 - 50

I believe in the power of humor. I believe it has the power to transform lives as it has transformed mine. I went from a wheelchair due to severe arthritis to unicycling 50 miles thanks to the power of humor in changing a negative attitude into a positive one. I believe in the spirit of humor. There is a spirit of alcohol; most of us have felt what it’s like under its influence. There is also a spirit of humor. I believe in laughter.

The laughter of our hearts comes from the joy of our most intimate feeling and thoughts. This laughter expresses thoughts that lie too deep for words. Humor has the power to change anger to joy.

We can’t control the behavior of others, but we can use humor to control our response to those behaviors. Several years ago I was invited to give a guest sermon at a Universalist Unitarian Church on the subject of “humor and spirituality.” The church was on the other side of the city and I was already running a little behind. I jumped in the car and was on my way. I was getting stressed out watching the time. As I was rushing along in my lane, a guy cut in my lane right in front of me and his back bumper barely missed my front bumper by 1/16th of an inch, or two atoms and one electron. We were heading for the light and I was very angry! I couldn’t wait to catch up to him and pull up next to him at the light so I could give him “The look.” You know, “The look,” that angry expression that tells someone “Gee, you are such an jerk.” As I was pulling up, I thought about where I was going and for what purpose. I decided a different approach would be more in-line with my sermon and purpose in life. When we reached the light, the guy turned to see my face, the guy he just cut off. Just as I was reaching the light, I put my disabled placard on the mirror, pulled my arms out of my sleeves and tucked them in my shirt and bit the steering wheel with my teeth! He turned towards me at the light and saw a man with no arms, biting the steering wheel with his teeth. I slightly turned towards him, grinned at him with my teeth still holding the steering wheel and nodded my head. He had a shocked look on his face and appeared to feel awful for cutting off the poor pathetic guy. I was happy, he felt guilty, and this really diffused the anger. I wasn’t mad anymore and he wasn’t either. When my teeth hit that wheel, I was treating humor as a necessity. If we all treated the spirit of humor as a necessity rather than a luxury, there would be much more joy and much less anger in the world.