The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and I were dining out at a very nice restaurant. We had been on the road for two days and were weary of travel. At least, I was.
Nothing I hate more on a vacation than travel. But this time it was not so bad because my wife was doing all the driving. She's an excellent driver because she had the world's best teacher. I admit that I was her teacher.
We were seated and began looking at the menu. Then my wife said, “You don't take very many things seriously, do you?”
We both laughed, but I knew she was right. Life is too short to be serious about everything. I do not want to come to the last of my days and find I have 100 giggles left over. I want to giggle all the way to the end.
The waitress came, graciously took our order and then brought back the bread for us to begin our lunch.
I picked up the knife to cut some of the bread and I dropped it on my right forefinger. There was a little cut there and so I squeezed it to get as much blood out as I possibly could.
My wife looked at me shaking her head and said, “What in the world are you doing?”
At the time I had no idea what I was doing, I was just doing.
Then I saw the waitress heading for our table. Every time in a while I have a thought rattling around in my head. And so when she got to the table I said, “I cut myself and it hurts so much.”
She shook her head and said, “Your finger's okay, I saw you using it as I was coming to your table.”
“But look at the blood,” I complained, “can I get a discount?”
Still shaking her head, she walked away from the table.
I think my wife thought I was just going to let it go, but when you have a good thing going, why not keep it going. I was going to play this to the very end. My philosophy is when a bad thing happens, try to find something good out of it.
I got my handkerchief out of my back pocket, made a little sling for my finger and attached it to my shirt. There I was with my finger in that little sling as though I had hurt it very badly.
As the waitress came to our table again she stopped, looked at my finger in the sling and burst out laughing. I said in such a dreary voice, “Does this qualify for a discount?”
I sat there with my bleeding finger in the little sling and the customers around me were laughing as they watched. Their laughter was worth what I was doing.
Was there any pain in my finger? Not at all. But I did have a drop of blood. That alone should count for something.
My wife looked at me, shook her head and said, “I can't take you anywhere.”
I would not give up on my pursuit of a discount. After all, life is full of discounts if only you can find them. Believe me, I look for them.
“Don't you know people are watching you?” My wife said as quietly as possible.
I snickered a smile in her direction and continued my “woe is me” attitude.
She knew I was not taking this seriously and she knew that I was going to milk this for everything I could get.
Eventually the waitress came back with our ticket and said, “When my manager heard your story he broke down laughing. Nobody has ever tried this in this restaurant before.”
I smiled; I like to hear things like that. Then she said something that really surprised me.
“The manager said that I could give you a 10% discount for your pain and suffering in our restaurant.”
She handed me the ticket and there it was in black-and-white. “10% discount for pain and suffering.”
Several of the customers around me clapped and laughed at my success. Nothing is more important to me than making people laugh. Too much gloom and doom in our world today. Somebody needs to step up and turn on the laughter machine.
I took a picture of that ticket to make sure I would not forget that sometimes one person's joke can equal a good discount.
As we began driving after lunch, both of us chuckled for quite a while.
I said to my wife, “Who in the world would have thought that would work?”
You never know what's going to work until you try it. If it does not work, okay, move on to the next joke.
People take things so seriously these days. Then there are those people who laugh at the wrong things. I need a balance in my life and I know that laughter is like medicine to the soul. It just depends what I am laughing at or who.
One of my favorite Bible passages is found in the book of Proverbs. Solomon wrote the Proverbs and is known as the wisest man that ever lived. He wrote, “A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken” (Proverbs 15:13).
I have a responsibility to help stir up and give people a merry heart.