Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Carrot Joke

Did you all hear "the carrot joke"? Did you? Well, if not, here it goes:

Two carrots were walking down the stairs together. One of them was paying no attention to the steps, and he tripped, fell down the stairs and hurt himself really badly. The other carrot called 911, and took the hurt carrot to the emergency room.

After a few hours of surgery and medical investigation, the ER doctor comes out to talk to the healthy carrot and he says:

"Well, I have good news and bad news."

The healthy carrot was waiting with bated breath to hear the fate of his poor, hurt, friend ...

The doctor continued: "Well, the good news is that Mr. Carrot will be OK: he will live, the fall didn't threaten his life. The bad news is ... he will be a vegetable for the rest of his life".

So, now you're supposed to laugh. Or at least think the joke was cute... Yeah, I know: it IS a silly joke, indeed. Nothing amazing about it, right??

The amazing fact about the silly joke was the man who told it to me. My group of volunteers was wrapping up a dinner preparation and serving for Urban Ministry, a homeless shelter, and the man who told us the joke as we were walking out from the charity event was a security guard at The Shelter. This was a man who sees the worst, darkest side of life, every day. No, not death. But struggle. Need. Hunger. And hopelessness. And even despair.

And yes, in the midst of all that, he found energy and purity in his heart, I thought, to tell us "the carrot joke". His laugh was loud and plenty. He told us his 9 year old daughter woke him up that morning to tell him this joke, and he found it so funny, he wanted to share it! I can only imagine that little girl's curly head swaying as she tells her daddy the joke, her giggles getting the man through his hard day, at The Shelter! Such a blessing!! And how his paying attention made his day easier to take on, maybe?!

And that was one of the life's biggest lessons for me, and made my (lately) incredibly pessimistic and negative self snap out of it, and wonder: am I wasting precious time on trite matters, and is life really not too short to worry about small things like co-workers' moods, and managers' inadequacy, and the state of North Carolina being short on cash and me not getting the tax return till June?!

Made me really wonder: did I miss a day in which I did not smile, if not laugh out loud, healthily and happily, as that security guard, at the simple, little things that are plenty around us, IF we pay attention?! And was that not such a shame and waste if I did?!

This silly joke, and the tall, dark, uniformed man visibly in love with his daughter, or with what she brings to his life, an island of happy, and calm, and love, in the midst of chaos and despair, made me stop for a moment and re-assess.

And I just wanted to share, as I thought we all could use a silly joke. Lately.

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