That’s What Humor Does

Last week I was on my way to Kona, Hawaii to give a keynote speech to over one thousand people. I called home during my connection in Los Angeles and my wife told me my father passed away. I made a decision to continue on to Kona. My plan was to give my speech the next day and then fly back home in time for the wake and funeral services. The following morning I was at the hotel restaurant having breakfast. My thoughts were on my father and all the wonderful memories we shared. I felt a wave of emotions building up. The one thing I didn’t want to do, was to loose it at a restaurant. But it was too late, my emotions got the best of me and the tears began to fall. Just then I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was my waitress. “Mr. Rizzo, she said, is everything alright?” Without missing a beat, I turned around in my seat, looked her straight in the face and said, “No it’s not. This is the worst omelet I’ve ever had!” There was a slight pause and somehow she sensed the need for a quick comeback. “Well,” she said, “I’ve had people complain about the food, but I’ve never seen anyone cry over it!” We both started laughing. The laughter instantly relieved the tension and I was able to explain the situation about my dad. Two hours later I was ready and focused to give a speech to a group of wonderful people. That’s why I say humor is the instant-mind-shift. It gives you the emotional fortitude you need to move on with your life, even if you’re hurting.

Like many other families, my family has had its share of difficult times, sadness and heartache. But somehow we always managed to pull through. I asked myself how we were able to survive so many of life’s calamities. The answer was obvious—-LOVE! It was always the spirit of Love that pulled us through. But it was our sense of humor and the power of laughter that kept us from falling apart.

I believe one of the greatest qualities of humor, is that it makes us all realize we are all the same in the universal scheme of things. We all have fears, concerns, pain, heartaches and problems to deal with. We just have our own unique stories to tell. It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or how much money you make. It doesn’t matter if you’re black or white, male or female, rich or poor, conservative or liberal, gay or straight. We all make mistakes. We all have our successes and failures. And we all have good times and hard times. Humor simply helps us embrace who we really are and gives us enough peace to live with it.
That’s What Humor Does.

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