I was killing a little time early Saturday afternoon, and found myself sitting at my computer skimming a critique of the criticism (ridiculous, I know) of Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert’s weekend “Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear.” The piece was dissecting the pre-event analysis by a handful of “cultural critics” who had such a broad variety of objections to it that you couldn’t do anything but chuckle and shake your head. Jeezum, I thought, people take themselves so damned seriously.
And just like that, another thought entered my head: “So do I.”
I have been so focused this year on the losses I’ve suffered, the stresses of my daily life, the challenges of my job, and my all-around deficiencies that I’ve forgotten to recognize that the glass is half full. Yes, life comes bearing tragedy, and sometimes it’s dramatic, but I’d be so much better off if I’d channel Lucille Ball instead of Sarah Bernhardt. It’s easy to forget to laugh at yourself.
And so I decided to lighten up. I eschewed my normal weekend to-do list and drove to Costco, where, without a care, I navigated the rain-drenched traffic jam in the parking lot to happily stand in a long line to renew my membership. I had some snacks, none of them healthy, and didn’t swear at the shoppers blocking the aisles, not even in my head. None of these behaviors is remotely like the easily annoyed me that I usually am.
There’s so much self-righteous earnestness and outrage running through our daily public discourse. Every day, we have front-row seats at the theater of the absurd. With a different attitude, I could be my own refuge from a growing storm of incivility.
Is it possible that I can walk through life without letting the little things irritate me? I don’t know, but it seems that cheerful and forgiving is better than cranky and critical any day. I think it’s definitely worth a shot.