Here’s what brings me comfort: knowing I am capable of making somebody feel better.
We all have a distinctive ability to change the outcome of somebody’s current circumstances, to shift them either positively or negatively. I like to think that most of us choose the positive. For instance, I have a close college buddy who enjoys teaching international students how to speak English, introducing them to American customs, and making them feel welcome to this country. Another dear friend of mine motivates her exercise cycling students to reach up higher to achieve their full potential, and making them feel beautiful and invincible. I’ve taken her class a few times and can confirm I walk away feeling sore, and on top of the world. For me, I enjoy making people laugh and smile.
About five years ago, I became a tour guide at a movie studio. I came into the job an introverted, sheltered, unconfident, anxiety-filled wreck. The job required me to be inviting, exciting and entertaining; three things I never thought could come from me. Shit, I still feel to this day how I never could be the life of any party since you will almost always find me drinking an angry orchard in the corner of the room watching you mingle and have fun. Yet, I slowly realized how much joy my life received when I gave joy of myself to others. After about three years, I left my tour guide job an introverted-extrovert, open, happy-go-lucky, pun-loving goofball. Somehow, I found myself when the job forced me to be out of my element. I had never met any of the people that took my tours beforehand, and most likely never will again, but why did I feel so fulfilled when their faces light up? Why be compelled to go the extra mile and expect nothing in return? Mostly because it’s what my Ma says, “you have a big heart, mijo.” She herself was baffled at how much I changed, based on my actions and how much I share to her of the many adventures I’ve had. “I believe you always were meant to be like this, Andy. Maybe because you were always picked on and laughed at when you were small, you felt the need to hide and protect yourself from everybody. Even as a baby, the doctors said you were a happy baby because of how much you would laugh and smile”. My Ma is pretty smart huh?
It’s pretty addicting to be perfectly honest. Even if making people laugh at my expense (most of the time intentional), it just feels right (as long as I keep my self-respect). I get a rush at seeing people react and it gets even better when they decide to be in the moment and add themselves into the fray. Extra points given if you can match your humor to mine, or at the very least make me laugh. I would like to credit, in no particular order: Looney Tunes, the Three Stooges, Tex Avery, The Simpsons, Monty Python, Mel Brooks, Bill Murray, Chris Farley, John Candy, John Lithgow, John Goodman, Ed O’Neill, and mostly comedian Craig Ferguson during his tenure as host of The Late Late Show for shaping my sense of timing and humor to what it is today. (The Late Late Show episodes are still on youtube if you happen to be curious...)
Laughter has the power to bring out the best in people. I want people to feel good about themselves, and feel comfortable being their best around me. We live in a world, so shut in and careful with how we act, what we say, what we post, and how we perceive ourselves and others. Maybe, somebody will be willing to step right in and be the court jester. To assure you that no matter what you may be going through in your life, everything is going to be okay, and you can feel comfy around anybody. Even if it’s only for a little while.