Learning through Laughter

Bob Owen, Humorist

One of the things I like most about being a Baby Boomer is that I no longer have weird friends.  I think having weird friends is best reserved for youth when you’re competing and judging and trying to justify your own strange actions.

The older I get, the more I realize that my weird friends aren’t weird at all.  They’re interesting.  Interesting because they’re different.  Because they can laugh at their differences.  Because they don’t really care what you do, as long as you’re interesting, too.

As I reevaluate my friends in this new light, I’m also discovering they have wonderfully interesting children.  A few summers ago, the son of two dear friends came home with his wife to visit for a few days.  This homecoming was joyous and fun and served as a reminder, first of all, that I’m really getting older. I watched the son grow up, move away, tell me things he asked me not to share with his parents, get married, and begin his new life. Secondly, his visit reminded me that he and his wife are interesting because they do crazy things.

At the time, this couple lived in New York City.  They’re two of the brightest people you’ll ever meet and have a casual, adventuresome spirit that I would have loved to have at their age.  Actually, I’d love to have it now.  In fairness to myself, I think their adventuresome spirit must be essential for living and working in a city in which thousands of others want your job and want to live in your apartment.

Their being able to cope with virtually anything has really paid off.  I’d like to think I could have done that too, but I’m convinced I’m not as creative as they had to be.  Certainly, not as confident.

Case in point:  when living in the city, they inherited an older car from his parents that was in good shape.  However, like all good cars, it was not meant to live forever and finally began to show wear and tear.  Eventually, the locks on the driver and the passenger doors wouldn’t work.  This became critical. You really need to lock your car in the city, you know.  So they did.  But, since the doors wouldn’t unlock, how do you think they got in the car?

Simple.  I told you this couple is creative.  They unlocked the trunk, kicked out the back seat and crawled through the car into the driver’s seat.

Wouldn’t you love looking out your window in the morning and seeing this young, attractive couple crawling into the trunk of their car?  I would have been looking for the video cameras.  This would have to be a stunt.

The story gets better.  One morning, the wife had a job interview outside of the city, so she drove.  She wore a suit.  Being bright, professional, and innovative, she snowed the person who interviewed her.  They liked her so much, in fact, they offered her the job and said, “I’ll walk you to your car.”

Our quick-thinking friend said, “Oh that’s OK.  I’ve got some errands to run before I leave.”  And, off she walked.  Alone.

I can sit here and laugh with them at their deteriorating car knowing I could never do that.  Not now.  But, 30 years ago, it seems like I remember taking the duct tape off the passenger side window so that I could slide the window down and crawl in to unlock the door.  And, I might even recall the time when my boss told me he was embarrassed for his PR director to ride a bus to work, so I bought a grotesque brown clunker of a car for only $500 and parked it next to his sports car every day.  It’s a gift being interesting, don’t you think?

Date of Blog Story: 
November 21, 2007

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