Thursday, July 14, 2022

What I'm Reading: Feel-Good Book 7

I'm shifting gears to a lighter kind of enlightenment with this book. I borrowed Humor: The Magic of Genie by Jeanne Robertson from the shelves of the Emerald Coast Writers conference room in Pensacola. I've been a member of The Emerald Coast Writers (formerly the West Florida Literary Federation) since 2006, and highly recommend this group to anyone wanting to write -- or to borrow books from their library. 

In this book, published in 1990, humorist Jeanne Robertson, who "grew up large in a small Southern town," shares "Seven Potions for Developing a Sense of Humor" along with plenty of anecdotes from her life as a 6'-2" beauty pageant winner turned professional speaker What a fun, uplifting experience it was to read her book and learn more about her!

My sweet mother loved to laugh, and I remember many funny times with her. Robertson also had a mother with a great sense of humor. Speaking about her mom, she writes, "Standing proudly by my waist [Robertson reached 6'2" at 13], she would say to the salesclerk, 'I want to get some things here for the baby,' and lovingly glance all the way up at me. Once a clerk asked, 'What size shoe does the baby wear?' ... 'She wears a seven and a half, but an eleven feels reeeeal gooood if you happen to have any.'"

Many of Robertson's anecdotes center around her height and her speaking engagements. Once, the contact for a group in Michigan told her, "Everybody is looking forward to looking up to you." She told him she looked forward to speaking at the banquet, and he answered, "As a matter of fact, when you get here you really don't have to be so funny ... but you darn well better be tall!"

She also speaks of her son Beaver (6' 8"), who came by his nickname, as an infant from Red Ryder's faithful sidekick. Once, before Beaver was old enough to wear braces to straighten his teeth, the family went to a restaurant. Robertson writes, "I am like most mothers -- I give directions. 'Put your coat on that hook, Beaver.' 'Sit in that chair, Beaver.' 'Here's the menu. What do you want to order, Beaver?' All of the sudden, a woman at the next table grabbed me by the arm and said, 'How would you like it if he called you giraffe?'"

Excellent advice from this book: develop humor awareness by looking for humor in everyday situations; create your own humor; associate with humorous people, or just ask others to tell you something funny; and collect happy times.

Gretchen Rubin, best-selling author of The Happiness Project, points out, "One of the best ways to make ourselves happy in the present is to recall happy times from the past. Photos are a great memory-prompt, and because we tend to take photos of happy occasions, they weight our memories to the good." 

I have set out on a quest to collect happy times, like the moment of pure joy I captured of my mom. One of the reasons I love working at Hallmark is because of the funny cards, like this one of a dog saying, "I did not get you a car for your birthday." Inside, it reads, "It's a long story and I'd rather not talk about it." For the life of me I don't know why it's so funny, but it gets me every time!

A quick note about my book, Courage Without Grace. The stickers are in! Chris and I made this video, in hopes that it would give someone a laugh!