Friday, August 1, 2008

What's a Magic Chuckle

I can’t even remember where I heard the phrase but it has saved my sanity more times than I can think of. But here is the best definition I have of it. A Magic Chuckle is something that happens to you throughout the day where you have the opportunity to laugh at yourself and what you are experiencing in a particular moment.
The reason to keep your eyes open for a Magic Chuckle is: A Magic Chuckle doesn’t always “seem” like a Magic Chuckle at the time (referred to as an MC after this point). This means that sometimes it can occur at your own expense, sometimes it happens because of what you do or who you are around or where you are and sometimes it horribly embarrassing. It’s always good to look for these because they are the biggest stress-busters and tension-releasers I know.
So an example of a MC might be: you are taking your child shopping with you and they, in their sense of innocence, might blurt out something impolite about someone. You might actually be thinking the same thing yourself. The only difference is, YOU keep your mouth shut but your child doesn’t.
An example from my life might look like this. My child is developmentally delayed and at the time he was at least five years old. You might have already taught your child by this age, that commenting out loud; on someone’s appearance is something you just don’t do.
On this particular day I was grocery shopping and as we turned down an aisle a rather portly person was coming towards us.
My child immediately turned his head in her direction and openly watched the person walking closer and closer to us. I kept my hand ready in case I needed to quietly and quickly cover his mouth in case something came out of it.
The closer we got the more attentive my son got and I just KNEW we were going to have an expose′ in the middle of the aisle. I wasn’t sure when but my son was just vibrating in anticipation.
I know, I know. You are thinking why I didn’t just whisper something to my child. This however might result in him repeating very loudly what I had just said to him or him responding innocently and out loud anyway. My experience with him had been the less said the better and action was preferable.
I decided to skip buying anything in the aisle and just circle back when this portly person had moved on. As I sped up it seemed like a race for me to get past them before my son spouted his opinion. But we smoothly zipped by, without appearing too much in a hurry or anxious.
I was starting to feel quite pleased with my ability to sense what was happening. You might, in hindsight, say I was feeling a little cocky. “Phew!” I thought, “We got past with no incident and no embarrassment.”
I slowed down a bit after several feet and started to take a deep breath when my son loudly pronounced, “Gee mom! She FAT!” with the emphasis on fat.
The woman abruptly turned around to me and glared at my inability to teach my child manners.
What can I say? At this stage there is no point trying to explain to anyone that my child is handicapped or so sorry but my son is just being honest, or just plain sorry. I’ve never had a happy result from anything I might try to say in a situation like this. My son doesn’t look like he has a disability and I’ve been accused of making it up just to have a reason for the rude behavior. Yes you heard right. If a child has a disability and it isn’t visible then your child is just being down right rude.
I was embarrassed and shushed my child but the damage had been done. I immediately went to the check out and never finished shopping. I didn’t want to run into her at the check out.
I tried as gently as possible to put my child in his car seat despite my anger and I sat behind the steering wheel gripping it while I hung my head. I on the verge of crying but a switch inside me flipped the beginnings of a sob into a spurt of laughter. Just like that I was giggling like mad. I mean when I saw the woman come around the corner it had been the first thing I thought, “She is overweight.”
My son just happened to say “out loud” what I had been thinking. Then events took a turn when I got a little too over confident thinking I had “saved the day”. It was absolutely hilarious. Was I laughing at the woman? Nope. I was laughing at myself and my belief that I had out-smarted my child. I was laughing at my child’s ability to come right out and speak what was so obviously the truth.
Now THAT was a Magic Chuckle.

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