The Importance of a Good Sense of Humor

You’ve probably heard the saying, “laughter is the best medicine.” My experience has taught me that this is one of the wisest pieces of advice. A study done at the Mayo Clinic showed that laughter is one of the best ways to relieve stress and puts us in a better overall frame of mind.

The funniest things to me are the humor which I find in human nature rather than watching a stand-up comic perform—although some comedians base much of their act on this concept.

When I was still teaching elementary school, I found that laughing about some of the absurdities of the job was a healthy way to handle the ridiculousness of a situation. How could I ever forget the time when one of my students smuggled a garter snake on a field trip without my knowledge? The only reason I found out about it was that the snake decided to make an appearance at the museum and scared a poor lady half to death. Of course, I wasn’t exactly happy with my student, but I also found myself laughing when I retold the story to my colleagues.

Then there was the memorable time when a student’s parent showed up uninvited to my classroom during the middle of class to do a chemistry exhibition. Not only had the nervy adult bypassed the office, a requirement of any person on a school campus, but she expected me to drop everything for her demonstration. After recovering from the shock that anyone could be that brazen, I told her that she was not allowed to hijack my class. I suppose I could have responded with anger, but the whole situation was far too bizarre for that. Laughing about the entire thing later with a friend was a better solution.

Part of having a good sense of humor is being able to laugh at yourself. Aren’t we all guilty of doing things that humble us? Last month I had one of those moments that is too priceless not to share.

One of the challenges of being a homeowner is we must be able to deal with the unexpected expenses that inevitably occur. Six weeks ago, my wife and I began to hear what appeared to be the rattling of the water pipes under the house. In the beginning, the noises seemed to happen at intermittent times. Sometimes we didn’t hear it for several days.

When the sound resumed, and with greater frequency, I decided to do some research before calling a plumber. After searching on my computer, I learned that this occurrence is quite common. The articles I read indicated that most of the time, the problem was a minor fix, but it also could be a symptom of a more severe situation.

The next time it happened, I decided to play detective and see if I could figure out what was going on. I crawled under the house (something that is getting a little harder to do with age) to investigate. By the time I was scurrying around like a mole, the noise had stopped. There were no signs of a leak or other apparent problems.

After a few more days of silence, a new pattern developed. The metallic sound started up every morning around 6:30, while we were still in bed. The other curious thing was the noise now appeared to be coming from somewhere in the backyard rather than under the house.

By now, I was baffled but determined to discover what was going on. The following morning the noise came back right on time again. I got out of bed, went out the back door as quietly as possible, and tried to track the sound. Sure enough, my hearing was correct—the pipe rattling was no longer coming from under the house.

I tracked my prey the way a mountain lion pursues its next meal. I tried to be as silent as possible because I was concentrating on the location of the noise. The other problem was our two yellow labs. (They spend the night in our three-car garage which has a dog door to their pen). If they heard me lurking about, they would most likely start barking.

I followed the noise to our back gate at which point it stopped. Okay, what gives? Just then, one of our neighbors drove down the alleyway between our properties as he was going to work. I’m sure that I was quite the sight standing there in my pajamas with a mop of disheveled hair. He stopped his truck, and I explained that I wasn’t losing my marbles. He said that he was unaware of any noise, but he would keep his eyes and ears open. (By the way, how do you keep your ears open?)

By now, I was fully invested and determined to figure out what was happening. I went back into the house and reported my findings to the other detective (my wife) assigned to the case.

The following morning the noise started again at precisely 6:30. I shot out of bed like a cannon ready to get to the bottom of this mystery. I went out to the back gate again and heard the metal sound coming from the top of a nearby telephone pole.

As I looked up trying to identify the source of the sound, a bird swooped down from the pole and landed on the neighbor’s roof. I didn’t think the bird was the culprit, but then the little bugger gave himself away. He tapped his bill rapidly against the small metallic satellite dish atop the neighbor’s roof. As soon as it struck the object, I recognized the familiar sound. I had found the mischievous scoundrel.

What else could I do at that point but laugh at my stupidity? I got all worked up over nothing. That bird got the best of me, and I felt embarrassed for not figuring out what happened sooner.

In retrospect, there was no need to be too hard on myself. My previous experiences with woodpeckers involved watching them drill into trees in search of insects. That was a much different sound. I could only deduce that the noise, which appeared to be coming from under the house, was the vibration from the metal vents that run vertically from the roof.

I’m sure this won’t be the last time I am forced to laugh at my gullibility as life provides us with so many opportunities. Instead of being privately embarrassed about it, I’m hoping that you get a chuckle and can also laugh at yourself from time to time. Maybe we can bring a little more laughter and joy to a sometimes troubled world with a good sense of humor

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23 thoughts on “The Importance of a Good Sense of Humor

  1. petespringerauthor February 23, 2020 — 5:00 pm

    Oh, suet feeders! That brings back a lot of good memories of our chickadees. The birds do figure out our weaknesses.

    My dad was a bird lover (a career wildlife biologist for Fish and Wildlife), and I just had a funny memory while reading your comment. One night we had company over for dinner, and my dad suddenly jumped up from the table and went racing out the back door making a racket the whole time. If I hadn’t seen this scene before, I would have thought he was losing it. It turned out the neighbor’s cat was near one of the bird feeders.😊


  2. We’ve got woodpeckers who love to drum on the window sills… time to fill the suet feeders, their melody repeats until we’re out there filling their request, sometimes in our pajamas… 🙂 Laughter is definitely great medicine! xo


  3. Nice article! Please read a similar article of mine too. Having A Good Sense Of Humor


    1. petespringerauthor July 1, 2019 — 8:38 pm

      Thank you for commenting, Tharun. I read your excellent piece and left a comment on your blog.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor June 8, 2019 — 10:20 am

      Better to laugh at ourselves in the long run.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Pete, for making me smile it is always better to turn that frown upside down, isn’t it?


    1. petespringerauthor May 28, 2019 — 7:59 pm

      There’s my buddy! Thanks, Carol, for the laugh.


      1. My pleasure, Pete 😂😂


  5. A jolly good story, Pete. I have had these sorts of experiences where you end up feeling you should have known.


    1. petespringerauthor May 28, 2019 — 4:48 pm

      Thank you for the comment, Robbie. Life has a way of keeping us humble.


  6. Laughter is certainly great medicine, and your story was very entertaining Pete. I always say ‘You gotta laugh’ and try to find the humor in everything. It’s great for our sanity. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. petespringerauthor May 27, 2019 — 10:55 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Debby. Better to laugh than to cry. Humor is all around us.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Understatement Pete! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Birds can be funny like that! We have a jay that taps all day long at one of our windows (his reflection??). Laughing at our follies is our best recourse, makes gold out of straw, and is wonderful fodder for good stories. I’m glad you found the source of the noise. 🙂


    1. petespringerauthor May 23, 2019 — 1:50 pm

      Thank you, Diana, for your comment. My dad was a wildlife biologist who worked for the Fish and Wildlife Service, and both my parents were avid birdwatchers. While I have an appreciation for wildlife, I’m afraid I didn’t inherit their passion for birds.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. May 22, 2019 — 8:18 pm

    I like your story. I think a lot of people probably have similar stories. Mine is about my training our cat. We had a hide-a-bed couch in our large bedroom when the kids were young. Our cat would come in and scratch the couch on occasion, whereupon I immediately threw her out the side door. Marsha asked me what I was doing. I told her I was teaching the cat that she couldn’t scratch furniture. She really laughed hard. I said. “What’s so funny?” She said, “The cat has trained you that when she wants to go out, she scratches the couch!” Out smarted by a cat! That was pretty funny !


    1. petespringerauthor May 22, 2019 — 9:40 pm

      Great story! We all need be humbled sometimes, Kent. When we were first married, Debbie had a cat that I, of course, inherited when I married Debbie. During the night, the cat would occasionally want to go outside. It would continue to meow and scratch the door unless one of us got up to let it out. Mind you, there was a litter box inside the house, so that was not the issue. It would usually go out for about thirty minutes, and then we’d go through the same maddening process when the cat wanted back in. Not exactly conducive to getting a good night’s sleep.

      One night I was curious what the cat was doing during the night, so, I left the front porch light on and looked out the window. That cat did not move for a half hour as it sat two feet away from the front door! Finally, it turned around and scratched the door, wanting to come back in. My only thought was, “Now I know who is calling the shots around here.”


  9. Mike and I heard a similar sound. Upon investigation, we caught the culprit atop our chimney pecking at the metal cover. Mike’s brilliant idea was to place a bucket of water and one of those long, tubular water guns on the balcony outside our second story bedroom. The next time that pesky woodpecker started pecking at the metal, Mike filled the water gun and aimed it at the woodpecker. That did it! Now all we have to do is go on the balcony and Woodie takes flight! 😀


    1. petespringerauthor May 21, 2019 — 7:51 pm

      That’s hilarious, Linda. I’m wondering what happened to our woodpecker. Our bird hasn’t been around for a couple of weeks—he must have found something else to whack on.


  10. petespringerauthor May 20, 2019 — 9:08 pm

    Thanks for the comments, Bruce. I think we all need to laugh a little more, especially in the current political environment. It was great catching up with you a couple of weeks ago.


  11. bruce Shaffer May 20, 2019 — 8:29 pm

    Pete, I definitely got a chuckle from your story, and I definitely have an opportunity to laugh at myself from time to time.


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