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Sometimes You Just Gotta Laugh

February 29, 2016
Stuff happens, and sometimes it can get you down. I have learned over the years that you have 2 choices; 1) to cry your eyes out, or 2) to let go and laugh. I recommend #2, but honestly, I typically get real mad first and go through a bad mood, then I learn to laugh. I guess it’s a process for me. I never cry though. Well, that isn’t totally true; I cry during most Disney movies. Don’t tell the kids though, they think I just have bad allergies. Ok, let me explain this option #2 thing here:

Tonya and I rarely have date nights due to our busy lives and given we don’t leave our kids with many people, and our families live nearly 2 hours away. Additionally, whenever we try to do a date night, it’s a 50/50 bet as to whether it will even happen. For example:

  • One date night, we were driving to a fancy restaurant in downtown Richmond (i.e., the type of place where they don’t let dudes like me wear tank tops). The babysitter called and said “I accidentally let your dog out of the front door and she won’t come back.” I could have totally thrown my bow-tie at the valet parker guy after getting that call, but I went with option #2 instead. Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

  • Another date night, we had just sat down at a smoky BBQ joint when the gymnastics place that was hosting “Parent’s Night Out” called and said “Your daughter is sick. She can’t stay.” I was frustrated and actually rear-ended another car on the way to pick up the kids. I could have flipped my lid after that evening, but I went with option #2 instead. Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

  • Another time, we had a date “weekend at home” planned, so we took the kids to Staunton late on Friday night to stay with my parents. We returned to Richmond around 1AM only to realize that we had left our house key in Staunton and were locked out. After a trip back to Staunton, we finally entered our house around 5AM. I really wanted to kick in a window, but I went with option #2 instead. Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

Then there was the coastal overnight getaway that turned into a “fire drill work weekend” from the hotel, the winery event we missed due to the interstate being shut down, etc. You get the idea; we don’t have good luck when it comes to date nights. Every time though, I could have slammed my head into a wall, but I went with option #2 instead. Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

I apply this technique to other situations as well. For example, after a real challenging day at the office and a strong desire to either go to bed or just be alone, Tonya called me during my drive home one day to say “Deacon is stuck inside the wine rack.” I rushed home in a panic. He was 2 years old and somehow had lodged himself inside the structure. The stress level was high and it took a while to figure out a safe solution, but we finally got him out. I could have “wined” like a baby, but I went with option #2 instead. Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

Not long ago, I started coaching my son’s 2nd-3rd grade basketball team. Before each practice, the league asks that we lead devotions, which is an inherent challenge with boys this age anyway, especially on a Monday night. I was teaching on the topic of “self-control” and I asked the boys for some examples. It was at that point that one of the boys accidentally produced a loud noise from the rear of his body; I will let you fill in the blanks. That was the complete opposite of any example I was looking for and I totally lost control over the boys; they were on the floor in laughter at this point. I could have slam dunked that kid, but I went with option #2 instead. Sometimes you just gotta laugh.

So in summary, I have become very good at recognizing when I am about to boil over out of frustration, and knowing when to shift gears and apply option #2. It has taken me a long time to develop that skill. I don’t have it down perfect though, and I recently found that out.

As part of my networking relative to future opportunities as an accountant, I was privileged to have scheduled a breakfast meeting with the CFO of a Richmond company back in January. The day prior to the breakfast I had to reschedule the meeting as one of my kids was sick and I had to stay home with them. I hated to do that but sometimes you have no choice – family first. We were able to get it rescheduled to February though, so it worked out.

When the rescheduled breakfast meeting rolled around, I woke up that morning not feeling great, but I really didn’t think I had the option to reschedule again without sacrificing the networking opportunity. It had been a long week and I figured I would be ok once I got going and had some coffee. As I was about to pull into the restaurant parking lot I started feeling really sick. I will spare you the details, but let’s just say my white sweater and khaki pants were yellow-greenish after I parked. I was in bad shape and I couldn’t go into the restaurant, but I also didn’t want to run into the CFO in the parking lot, so I parked behind the place. I needed to contact him to explain why, at the last minute, I couldn’t have breakfast; however, I had no cell phone contact for him. I sat and strategized. I sent him an email, left a voice-mail at his office, and even called the restaurant to see if they could help, but I had no luck. Long story short, I stood the CFO up for breakfast and I felt terrible about it.

I had blown more than a few chunks that morning; I had blown a potential opportunity. I was a mess physically and emotionally. I slammed my fist into the dashboard, said a few things I shouldn’t have, and drove like a maniac back toward my house. I changed clothes, jumped in bed and decided to exit the day via sleep for a few hours. I was mad and depressed; not a good combo. Without knowing it, I had gone with option #1. I guess we’re all a work-in-process; nobody is perfect and we don’t get it right every time. Sometimes we mess up and I messed up that morning.

Well, after waking up from the long nap and regaining composure, I noticed I had a voice-mail on my phone. It was the CFO. He had received my email and voice-mail after getting to his office, and to my surprise he was laughing; not at me, but at the overall situation. I actually think he may have been a bit entertained by it (and me). I called him back and I was right. He asked how I was feeling and then he had another good laugh. He wasn’t mad at all and told me to go ahead and set another date. I was very surprised and very thankful. He could have written me off like a tax deduction, but he didn’t. I am sure he was annoyed initially, but while I was still dwelling in my bad mood, he was laughing about the whole thing.

I had gone with option #1. The CFO went with option #2. Sometimes you just gotta laugh and I am very glad that he did!

Until next week,













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