Our backyard is in great shape. The grass is green, the flowers are blooming and the pool is clear. My wife, son and I sit out on the patio in the bright sun shine talking about life. It was one of those intense conversations where opinions were expressed and countered and thoughts were laid out on the table, analyzed and sometimes rearranged. In the middle of an intense soliloquy my wife was intently looking at our son and I when, mid-sentence, a bug flew into her mouth and lodged in the back of her throat. So picture this. Intense conversation, a big point was being made, eyes were fixed and then … hacking, coughing, spitting and total complete laughter by my son and I. The afternoon was reduced to stories of mom hacking up bug luggies.
Dignified, I was dressed in my best suit and tie. I walked on the podium and to the lectern and offered my best introduction for the famous guest speaker. I waited at the lectern and shook his hand and then, just as dignified, walked off the stage. I sat at my place at the front table in anticipation of a great speech. As I sat down and proceeded to place my napkin, again, on my lap I noticed the entire front of my suit pants was wet from an earlier water spill which I thought I avoided. So picture this, a well planned introduction, with humor and deft insight into the 500 or so people assembled, and me looking like I had an accident. A large dark spot on my light gray suit; a lot of laughter that I thought was coming from my well-planned, spontaneous jokes. I don’t even remember the speech.
What do you do in times like these? I felt most of all like quietly slipping away, out of the room, slinking to my truck, driving home, and calling for my mom while in the fetal position. My wife was at first angry and wanted to finish her point but … she couldn’t because of the laughter.
Bug’s happen. Accidents happen. All you can do is … laugh. Join the laughter, understand that it really is funny, it really is! I have used that example in countless speeches I’ve made on laughter and it always gets a laugh. I had to go up again after the guest speaker to thank him and present him with a gift. I was still wet. I went up dignified and proudly, without standing behind the lectern and said, “You can tell he was a great speaker, this is how hard I laughed!” and pointed at my wet pants.