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Friday, December 30, 2016

Humor: Inappropriate thoughts and knowing your audience

If you've read my blog, I have a lighter side.  However, I'm can be a deep thinker and a very serious person, sometimes needing to lighten up I think.  So, it's about time for blog about humor.   So, I have a bit of a devious mind.  In other words, my mind sometimes stumbles upon the inappropriate or 'impolite' from time to time.  As I have gotten older, I tend to speak more freely--perhaps I get tired of filtering--what I'm thinking and as a result my daughter (and now my stepfamily) are treated to nuggets of brilliance.  Sometimes, they laugh, sometimes they shake their head, and sometimes they pretend like they don't know me.  I say, genius is often unappreciated, sigh!  But, I digress.  

In between doing the parental griping about them not listening and badgering them to listen, I try to be sometime playful or express a sense of humor.  I remember my dad, God rest his soul, was Mr. Super Serious parent and I was very inhibited what I said around him as a result.  So, besides making a vow not to repeat his 'mistakes' in parenting--instead making my own new ones, I vowed to be more accessible to my kids.  Part of that accessibility was trying to understand them where they are.

I remember sometimes as a kid, thinking and saying  inappropriate thoughts--sometimes related to my gender and anatomy--as little boys are apt to do.  I won't expand upon that.  Those who were once little boys or who have heard some of the talk they do will understand what I mean 😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊😊.   So, I know kids have devious thoughts.  Adults do too at times, but we learn to better pretend we don't.  Anyway, in the course of wanting to be more accessible, I have expressed a simple concept to them.

We know human nature is such that we aren't perfect.  We know that we have 'inappropriate' thoughts float around from time to time.   Some of them we learn from our family, some from siblings and some just our own 'creative brilliance'.  I expressed to my daughter when she was old enough (and later my stepson), that I understand this happens from time to time.  Even among the 'angelic' kids, I believe this happens.  But, I digress.  I told them as this happens from time to time, it is not necessarily wrong having a 'devious' thought, but how you handle it can make it wrong.  So, here are my thoughts on thoughts...
  • Some thoughts are very destructive and as such should not be ever mentioned.  In fact, you should do what you can to change your focus should your mind dwell in that territory.  Obviously, wishing death upon someone is an example of such a thought.  I explained to my daughter that 9/11 was a result of hateful thoughts that were encouraged to grow and grow and lead to hateful and deadly actions.
  • Some thoughts are rude.  Should you 'have to' express them to get them out of your system, they should be mentioned in private and only to only your most trusted confidant(s).  An example of this is 'locker room talk'.  I told my stepson I expected that boys talk about inappropriate boy matters from time to time and girls may do the same.  I expressed while it is not really appropriate to talk like that, that it is especially inappropriate to express such thoughts in the presence of mixed company.  I said, I understand that your curiosity and amusement get the best of you, but that you shouldn't focus on such thoughts when they cross your mind.
  • Some thoughts are slightly inappropriate.  Potty talk is one.  Like when I referred to passing gas a 'stinky surprise', they thought it was funny.  In small doses, things like this I believe are no big deal and more so of an 'eye-roll' or 'honey don't encourage them' moment.  I believe in limited exposure cracks like these are pretty harmless.  Obviously, if you are talking to an officer when getting a ticket, your teacher during class or you are around someone who is easily offended, you should avoid expressing such thoughts.
  • Some thoughts are just silly and can work to lighten the room.  Like recently at a cub scout meeting I attended, one of the presenters asked if anyone had a question.  One of the little bundles of joy said, "Yeah, what is 1 + 1".  The kids giggled, his parent slightly scolded him and the other adults just smiled and laughed.  To me this is a light-hearted moment which is safe to share in most situations.  Obviously, there are limits to even the most goofy, lighthearted moments, but the world needs humor.  So, humor like this is warming.

So, when I first brought this up to my daughter, I 'tested' her about various circumstances and who you should share your thoughts with.
  • I said if the Governor or President rolls by your school to make a speech and you are bored, should you say, "BORING!"?  Or if he/she asked if anyone has a question and you are hungry, should you ask, "Are you finished now, I'm hungry?" when called upon.   She focused on the mental picture I presented and giggled at the thought and of course answered "No".  (I wondered if I presented a bad idea to her.  :^).   Anyway, I said this is an example of something you might say later to a trusted friend that you had wanted say or ask. It could be something that you express in the privacy of home, letting a parent know that you were starving.  I pointed out that beyond being rude to the speaker, it would get you in a lot of trouble.  So, bad idea.
  • I said if you thought someone was really strange looking would that be appropriate to express.   She said “no”.  I said, if you felt like it was bothering you too much, you might mention it to a parent later and talk about it.
  • I said if your friend was talking about something silly like passing gas would it be okay?  She said it likely would be.  But, I said, to a close a friend maybe, but not everyone would think that was funny or appropriate.
  • I said if you had goofy where moment on vacation when you were out, would that be okay to express openly when sharing what you did during the summer to your class.  She thought would probably be okay.  Other kids might relate, I can see that.
  • I said would it be okay to say hateful things to a classmate if you were thinking them after he/she were rude.  Of course, she said no.  I said this might be a thought you might express to a counselor about how you are feeling.
The point of that discussion with my daughter (and later my stepson) was that it's okay to have a sense of humor, even to have a devious thought pass though your mind as that happens from time to time.  But, that just because you have a thought, doesn't mean you should express it.  In other words, it is important to think about if there is a right, time, place or audience to express the thought.  


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As a quick aside.  I remember in previous relationship watching Extreme Home Makeover with my significant other.  Anyway, that episode included making over a house for a middle-aged woman with a brittle bone condition.  So, of course they did a knockout job of fitting the house for her and congratulating themselves on a job well done.  They all stretched out one arm and placed their palms on top of each other in the center and did a cheer tossing their arm up and away from the center.  So, in a moment of an 'ate-up' thought, I imagined when they tossed their arms up and outward that they accidently knocked the lady's wheelchair over, breaking her bones.  While I was laughing at the train-wreck of a thought that had popped into my mind, my so and so pressed me for what was so funny.  I warned her a few times that she wasn't going to like it, but she insisted on hearing what was amusing me.  So, of course I told her and she acted 'appalled'.   I'm like, "I can't help it" and "you asked".  But, you know men are from Mars, women are from Venus.

And that as the late Paul Harvey used to say, is the "Rest of the story".