How Can We Make Angry People Laugh?
September 20, 2012
To say the world population is generally more angered today than at any time in history is like unto a broad sweep with a whisk broom. Still, if put to a vote, results might support such a theory, provided they could withstand challenging roars of voting irregularities.
Anger topics have grown to the point of being innumerable. If our “mads” were written on the sides of railway cars, the train would stretch over the next hill, perhaps even into the next county. Folks’ anger is exceeded only by their fears. Here, too, the list is long. In this epistle, I’ll deal only with the obscure. Obscurity—whether by your measurement or mine—can take center stage with warp speed. Like puppy love, it’s real to the puppy.
Few teapots can contain brewing tempests, even on local levels.
In Dallas, for example, arms are “upped” upon news of greatly reduced restaurant inspections. City budgetary woes are blamed. Some eateries formerly checked on twice annually haven’t seen inspectors in more than a year.
This account reminded my 100-year-old Uncle Mort of a long-ago experience. He and fellow workers ordered café breakfasts. “Make sure I get a clean plate,” Mort warned. Upon returning with the orders, the server asked, “OK, who gets the clean plate?”
A current “movie,” Innocence of Muslims, initially seemed destined for obscurity. After all, it was shot in two weeks with a budget of less than $100,000.
Though Muhammad’s name wasn’t mentioned, Muslim radicals took offense, creating furor in many parts of the world. They’re madder’n hops at the U.S.
It’s not likely to get positive reviews at the international film festival, to say the least.
Doctors are frustrated. So are patients. Young people think they’ll never get sick. Oldsters know it’s not if, but when. (A friend sought medical help for his “hunker” condition. He has no trouble “hunkering down,” but “hunkering up” is a whole ‘nuther matter.)
Most of us long of tooth plan schedules around medical appointments.
At one office last week, I settled into the exam chair just as the doctor walked in. He handed me a little cup of bluish liquid to “squish around.” I thought little of it, but he offered a second cup, and then a third. Finally, we got on with my eye exam and I made a mental note to buy some industrial strength breath mints.
Receptionists for health care professionals wear many hats, their patience tested by patients’ impatience. (I know—we are all “time-biders,” often thumbing through musty magazines. Too bad about the Titanic, isn’t it?)
Receptionists have some of the best “you ain’t gonna believe this” stories.
In my hometown years ago, the receptionist at an optometric practice routinely answered phones with a cheerful greeting: “Dr. Smith and staff.” One caller asked to speak to Dr. Smith. Advised that Dr. Smith wasn’t in, he responded, “OK, let me speak to Dr. Staff.” On another day, there was a call for “Dr. Smithenstaff.”
A few nights ago, I addressed Fort Worth area dentists after they’d decimated a Mexican food repast at River Crest Country Club.
They were affable and relaxed, sharing stories old and new. (Overheard: “Pulled any good ones lately?”)
I reminded them that this was one of those rare times when they could all leave the country club harboring pleasant thoughts. “Too often, after a golf game gone bad, you look back at the club, fists shaking, muttering about how you’ll get ‘em next time.” That’s the same grousing one hears on planes leaving Las Vegas. Unlucky gamblers, bristling at losses, shake fists back as they depart Las Vegas, vowing they’ll inflict heavy damage on the casinos next time.”
Finally, the story of a patient told that she’d need to take a certain medicine for the rest of her life.
Worried after picking up the prescription at the drugstore, she called the physician, making sure he said the medicine would be needed the rest of the way. “That’s right,” her doctor assured. “Then why does the label say ‘no refills’?” she questioned.
And then there was the chiropractor who was lambasted by a patient for “rubbing him the wrong way.” End of the lines; everybody off.
Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to: [email protected] Call: 817-447-3872 Twitter: @donnewbury. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com.
Humorist Don Newbury is author of When the Porch Light’s On.