I wasn’t feeling well on Friday. Nothing major, just PMS, sleep deprivation, and frazzled nerves from trying to teach math to two classes full of noisy, needy sixth graders. I did *not* look forward to cafeteria duty sixth period.
Then one of the teachers announced that it was “Open Mic Friday.” I thought, “Well, this is going to be interesting.” I heard many more renditions of One Direction (aka The British Backstreet Boys; try saying that five times fast) songs than I wanted. I was also scratching my head about not one, but two preteen girls singing “Rolling In The Deep.” (You’re 12. What do you know about “a fire starting in your heart reaching a fever pitch?” If you know, you shouldn’t.)
Apart from that, the experience was great fun, not to be confused with fun., whose “Some Nights” and “We Are Young” were also popular. Some kids opted for silly songs and gave me a much-needed laugh; others were surprisingly good, despite being in the throes of puberty and all the associated vocal changes. I went to seventh period in a much better frame of mind.
I also got some great laughs during my shift today with Ruby Tuesday. While we did some organizing and cleaning for her upcoming move, we watched “Betty White’s Off Their Rockers.” This show features the beloved star of “Hot In Cleveland” and a motley crew of senior citizens playing practical jokes on their surprised juniors. Some pranks are elaborate; the scene where a suit-clad older gentleman joins a young couple at an outdoor cafe and engages in a conversation straight out of a spy movie comes to mind. Most are reminiscent of “Police Academy” or “National Lampoon’s Animal House.” In one scene, a woman sits down in a train station with an urn containing what seems to be her late husband’s ashes, opens the urn, and then sneezes, spilling ashes on the young woman next to her; in another, a man posing as a police officer threatens a jogger with a “farting violation.”
Though I’m not usually a fan of reality TV, I thoroughly enjoyed this show. I forgot I had cramps, Ruby was in a good mood, and we had a productive afternoon.
While I deal with serious issues in my work, I’m blessed to have many opportunities to laugh. As crabby as Mrs. A gets sometimes, she still surprises me with wry comments or ribald jokes even when she’s feeling her worst. Little One used to crack me up on a regular basis; on one day, she was leaving a long, rambling voicemail for her father about what color violin she wanted, and I was laughing so hard that Big Sister looked at me like I was losing my marbles and asked me if I were OK.
I forget to yell at a student who’s misbehaving because his or her antics are making me laugh. Laughter breaks the ice with an overwhelmed teenager who’s skeptical about tutoring and not happy about fitting it in his or her schedule. Sharing a joke or a funny story with an older person makes both of us feel positive.
“Laughter is a universal connection.” — Yakov Smirnoff