http://northcoaststeelhead.com/ps:/youtube.com/embed/v5v3QGVLxMM Picture yourself in a wood-paneled station wagon full of your children, towing a shiny airstream trailer and pulling up at Mt. Rushmore. Or passing billboard after billboard rallying your anticipation of the infamous “South of the Boarder” truck stop. Maybe your dream road trip is targeting a destination. Or maybe the road trip itself is the destination. People do it every different way because after all, a road trip is part of the American Dream. While it all depends where you live and how much time you have, here are a few of my favorite North American Road Trip Itineraries.
Lamictal with no rx Well, I am not really the authority on this, except to say that I am one of those people whom it always seems OK to mock. But it’s only OK up to a point. So, what are the defining lines for me? And what are the defining lines for people who would be less comfortable being made fun of?
Everyone handles feedback differently. Whether at home, at school or in the work place. Anywhere we go, we might encounter a person who is made very uncomfortable by the the way we look at them, the way we say thank you, or don’t say thank you. Even the way we shake our head or more significantly, the way we might sigh or roll our eyes. All of those simple and habitual responses can read as forms of feedback. Some times our feedback makes people feel relieved, happy or maybe proud. Other times it makes people feel weak, disappointed, embarrassed or just all-around uncomfortable.
I remember when I was in seventh grade and my father had just some home after months in the hospital. He had nearly died. With failed kidneys, home dialysis and a semi-healed broken leg from having fallen off the roof of our house while spraying gypsy moths in the crab-apple tree; my dad had endured the added complications of a joint attack of pericarditis along with a side of diverticulitis and peritonitis. As my dad slowly recovered from his conditions and emergency surgeries, we were all relieved to have him around. And we got used to his conditions. The broken leg meant that mom drove everywhere and the colostomy bag grossed us all out.
Anyway, my father was a great sport about it and never whined or complained. Always optimistic and industrious, he found ways to heal his body and his mind with little coddling from his overworked wife and selfish teenaged children. On my last day of hockey camp that summer, we were all planning to celebrate because I would be done with three weeks of hockey and conditioning and my dad would finally be cast free; free to just walk around. But in a fit of his aforementioned industriousness, my dad thought it would be a good idea to mop the kitchen floor, which had not been done in a long time (maybe months.) As he walked with his crutches out of the kitchen, dad hit a wet spot on the terra-cotta tile floor. BAM! The foot with the rubber healed cast slid as fast as a torpedo right into the cabinet!
So, when my dad showed up at the rink at Elmira College that night, he not only wore the cast we had expected would be gone, he also had a giant extension on it, which supported all of his newly broken toes. We all knew that it must have hurt like crazy, but it was such a hilarious banana-peel-slip-and-fall that we all felt that we had no choice but to laugh and retell the story again and again. HE laughed along with us. And we also laughed at my mom, as part of a funny pile-on tactic for not allowing the hospital to cut off my dad’s new jeans when he broke his leg in the first place, since it had taken her years to get him to buy a pair of jeans. All of this misfortune brought Wyle E Coyote anvil-crushing hysterical laughter to our family. The four of us could just laugh and laugh until we were sopping wet with tears and hardly able to catch our breath. Except for one part of the misfortune.
One night, my brother made some sort of a comment slightly mocking the colostomy bag. THAT was over the line. That was the barbed wire we had not realized was there until we had torn our skin on it. Then I tried to nationally defend my brother, at which point, for the first time in my life, I was chased violently out of the living room by my father. How were we to know that this would upset him, that this one subject would make hime so uncomfortable that he would lash out at us? Well. We sort-of did know. At least we knew not to bring it up. We sensed it, which is why we had never really talked about it much. We knew better.
The point is that everyone has a line of humiliation that shouldn’t be crossed. People are often able to laugh at themselves when something seems funny but does not feel as though it reflects poorly on them. Like, for example, I thought it was so incredibly hilarious when I accidentally set a fire in my oven when a pie I was baking overflowed and then I forgot the rules of combustion and tried to smother my fire by pouring flour on it, which promptly exploded everywhere covering me and everything I own with a one inch layer of flour. What a mess! I was happy to laugh at my apparent lack of intelligence. It was funnier than a banana peel slip and fall! But I could only do that because I did not actually feel like I lacked intelligence. I could laugh and point at how stupid I had been and how funny the mess was. There was nothing bad in it for me.
But when a friend of mine suggested that I could afford to have failed in baking that pie, implying that I was a bit heavy to be eating sweets; she jumped right over my tolerance hurdle. It hurt my feelings. The truth is I probably could have afforded to skip a meal and I had a low self esteem around my body image. The humor was lost. And the room went silent. Everyone sensed that this might make me uncomfortable. They were all right.
The point is that it is not a question of which people can be made fun of. It is a question of which fun will threaten which person’s self esteem. This becomes really important in the workplace, as employees have the right not to have to feel threatened in their work environment. So tread lightly in strengthening your team’s bonds through making fun. And remember what my 13 year old calls “The Platinum Rule:” Treat people as they would prefer to be treated. Don’t assume that they share the same confidences and insecurities that you do.