219 Chapters
Medium 9781626567719

4 Reframing from Tension to Laughter

Peterson, Rick; Hoekstra, Judd Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Always go to other people’s funerals, otherwise they won’t come to yours.


All other things being equal, a performer who is tense loses to a performer who is relaxed. We all know we need to relax under pressure, but we don’t know how. In fact, when we’re told to relax and have fun, this often frustrates us and makes us even tenser. Why? Because we don’t know how to relax when we’re under pressure.

Let me offer up a solution. In your tensest moments, actively seek opportunities to laugh. There is something about laughter that makes threats less daunting and opportunities more visible.

In this chapter, Rick and I will coach you on how to use humor as the best antidote to tension. I will also share a number of examples of Rick and others using humor to relieve tension and move forward in difficult situations. Humor is more than a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have. Not just because it’s fun, but because it works.

Andrew Tarvin is the chief humorist at the company he founded, Humor That Works. He is not what pops into my head when I think of a humorist. For one, he is not a comedian. He graduated with a degree in computer science and engineering from The Ohio State University. Before founding Humor That Works, Andrew worked as a successful international information technology (IT) project manager at Procter & Gamble. He said, “As an engineer, I find what works, I do it, and then I teach it to other people. It turns out humor works.”1 But how does it work?

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Medium 9781574414615

Crime in a Small Town

Ron Tatum University of North Texas Press ePub

Crime in a Small Town

I live in the rural Northwest, where, contrary to popular belief, a small town can have problems with crime. I’m going to tell about some of them.

Before I get into the actual crimes we have to deal with here, I need to mention one curious thing. We don’t seem to have many problems with kids or teenagers. It’s an odd experience to walk up to a 17-year-old kid whose hair is sticking straight up in multi-colored spikes, his body covered with tattoos, his head filled with metal piercings, and ask him how to get to the nearest Starbucks, and he responds pleasantly and eagerly, even calling you “sir.” This usually happens. And the kid isn’t playing you for a fool; it’s the way the kids act around here. I never got that kind of response in California. Another thing that may have something to do with kids is that there never seems to be any graffiti anywhere, even on bathroom walls in gas stations. This is pretty much true throughout the area. The biggest graffiti I’ve seen is on the walls of a tunnel where the culprits use a wet towel to write their messages in the grime on the tunnel walls. The messages will say something like, “I love you Sarah,” “Support the Queen of the Netherlands,” or “US out of Oregon.” The messages last only a few days, however, because the cleanup crews wash down the walls frequently.

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Medium 9781574414615

Photos Section

Ron Tatum University of North Texas Press ePub

On the fence.

Marine Corps Mountain School. 1958. I’m on lower right.

Fresh from active duty in the Corps.

In Tacoma after active duty and before entering Seminary. 1960.

Graduating from Seminary. 1963.

Official picture of smiling Marine Corps major in Reserves. 1967.

Dad, Mom, me, and Nicky, my faithful horseshoeing dog.

Nicky, eagerly waiting in back of my truck.

Working in the sun in California. 1975.

Typical customer’s view of a horseshoer.

Feeding hoof parings to wild turkeys. 1990.

Dog and turkeys eating hoof parings fresh off of horse, who couldn’t care less.

Lady apprentice watching me measure a shoe. 1978.

Rasping a foot. 2011.

Picture by David Beardsley.

Nipping for a field trim. 2011.

Picture by David Beardsley.

Cochise, my favorite customer. 2011.

Picture by David Beardsley.

Thinking about it all. 2011.

Picture by David Beardsley.

Rasping a left hind foot. 2011.

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Medium 9781574414615

People and Their Animals

Ron Tatum University of North Texas Press ePub

People and Their Animals

I’m always fascinated by what happens when animals and humans get together. People act strange around animals, even their own, and animals can really get bizarre around certain people. Horses, in particular, draw interesting behavior out of people. As an old cowboy once told me, “If it can happen with horses, it will.” After all these years as a horseshoer, I can verify that with people and horses, if it can happen, it will.

Interspecies communication can be clear and productive at times; other times it’s non-existent. How else can you explain the little lady who ignored the sign on the stall in the horsebarn that said “Dangerous Horse,” and ignored the angrily flattened ears as she reached out to pet him—the little lady who sued the barn when the horse picked her up by the shoulder, pulled her into the stall, and trampled her? The horse communicated quite clearly with her. The lady was oblivious.

We are not always perceptive about what’s going on in the head of an animal, even our own pets, but they can usually figure us out. What about the time your dog ate the two steaks off the barbecue? When you discovered it, you hid your rage, put a nice smile on your face, and with your kindest and most gentle voice you called him so you could beat hell out of him . . . and he wouldn’t have any of it. No way was he coming within reach. He saw right through you to the real emotions inside. Animals have the power to do that.

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Medium 9780253010285

8 Life under the Knife

Mike Roos Quarry Books ePub

“My gosh, Joe! This is where you lived?”

“You made me bring you here.”

On a rainy Sunday afternoon in August, Joe Lents and Connie Leinenbach stood in the decay of the little shack in Burns City where Joe had lived the first eleven years of his life, the place where he had slept fitfully and uncomfortably in one room with a brother and three sisters, where his parents had fought with random and terrifying violence, and where his mother had died painfully of cancer.

“I had no idea it was this tiny and dirty,” Connie said in the gloom of the abandoned kitchen.

“Nobody’s lived here since we left. It was a little cleaner then. Not much.”

“It’s so depressing, Joe.”

“What did you expect?”

“No hot water, no indoor plumbing.”

“There are people who have it a lot worse than this.”

Connie felt the sadness welling up inside her and put her arms around him. “Oh, Joe! I’m so sorry.”

“Why?” he said, pulling away and stooping to pick up an old scrap of newspaper with an ancient headline, “Ike Re-elected.” “It’s got nothing to do with you. Come on. Let’s get out of here. This place gives me the creeps.”

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