Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Who's Humor Is It?

First off, I did my last post Sunday morning prior to going to church and didn't have a chance to play on the computer -other than reading blogs and waiting for others to finish doing their "thing" on my lovely little toy here. So, as a result, I'm a bit late in writing this morning as I should have done this sometime yesterday but just didn't get around to doing much of anything except sleep - or so it seemed anyway.

After church Sunday, Mandy and I made our normal run then to the grocery store for the Sunday paper and of course, some donuts to enjoy with a cup of coffee, the paper - me, with my crossword puzzle. After leaving the store, we drove down to Winburne so Mandy could drop of the monthly payment for our water bill. As we were leaving the water company office, we heard sirens, saw some vehicles with blue lights on the roof zipping down the road, heading to the fire station house, which is just around the corner from the water company office. As we pulled out onto the road (Main Street, it is there), we could see the firemen racing around, hopping on their big engine and getting ready to leave. Mandy saw in the rear view mirror that they were heading up the street and would be on our tail in a matter of moments, so she found a drive to pull over to let them go by and then, called her father-in-law to see if he'd heard anything on the scanner as to where and why Winburne Fire Company had been called out.

Her father-in-law relayed to her that they were enroute to a house fire here in Grassflat -on Cooper Avenue (which is the street where we live) but the address he gave her was, by my judgement, up the road maybe a half mile from our place. PHew, breathe a little sigh of relief ya know. But anyway, as it was, we followed the firetruck into town and as we got to the bottom of the hill and the main intersection in town, we saw which house was burning. As it turned out, the couple who lived there (I don't know if they owned the place or were possibly renting) well, the woman is a cousin to Mandy's best friend and our sometime babysitter for the kids too. Smoke was pouring out from the place and from our position at the stop sign though, we didn't see any flames -just lots and lots of black smoke.

We learned later on the news Sunday night the cause of the fire was a crack between the fireplace and the wall somewhere and the fire had started up into the walls of the house then. Damage estimates -preliminary ones anyway -were at least $45,000 to the home and the couple and their cats are staying with friends for the time being.

Mandy said anytime she sees the fire trucks, hears those sirens, it always takes her back, mentally, to remembering the night our house caught fire too and how frightening an event that was. We were very fortunate that only the upstairs of this house was badly damaged -and that the firemen didn't have to break through the roof to get to it either! And also, that no one was hurt and we got the pets out safely as well. We lived in a motel for over three months after that though while the repairs were being made here though and that -trust me - is not a nice experience for an adult and two teenagers to be cramped in one room for living quarters for that long a period of time! We were able to still use the downstairs of the house though so we still were usually here during the day and were able to cook and eat here. Because I was working second shift then (from 4 p.m. till 1 a.m.) Clate and Mandy would stay here till about 9 p.m. or so and then, our neighbor across the street would drive them up to the motel for the night and they caught the school bus then from up by the motel in the mornings.

My older daughter, her fiance and the older grandson -Prince Alex - came up Sunday afternoon for dinner and my son, Clate and his girlfriend, Teresa, also showed up too for dinner so we had a nice meal and were having a good time - everyone picking on each other -which is the norm when all three of my kids and the grandkids are together.

We were discussing about maybe playing a game - Monopoly or maybe Trivia Pursuit - but after hunting around, I couldn't locate the darned Trivia Pursuit game so we decided on Monopoly. Mandy's girlfriend came by and picked her up as they were going to go play Bingo at the church hall up in Morrisdale and Bill left to go to work on some cars with his buddy so that was going to leave Carrie, Robert, Alex, my son, Teresa and me to play monopoly.

However, as sometimes happens when people are joking around, poking fun at one another, occasionally someone steps over a fine boundary line and makes a comment -thinking it to be funny - but the person it is directed at gets their feelings stepped on in the process. And, I was in the kitchen so didn't hear what was said but the next thing I knew, my son was beside me, giving me a hug and a kiss good bye and telling me he'd talk to me later and explain his sudden departure as he and Teresa took off then.

I'm not going into details here as to who said or did what to who - not exactly anyway - but suffice it to say something was said that Clate felt crossed the line for him -it was something that was thought by the other person to be funny but it hit on a part of Clate's being that he is ultra sensitive about and really hurt him deeply.

I think things have been smoothed over somewhat now -at least I hope so anyway. It's a difficult thing to see members of your family with one having their feelings hurt and the other then, feeling ultra guilty after having misstepped the boundary there between the fine line of humor and hurtful.

Each of us - in my family, I'm sure probably in your family too - has little things that are our really sensitive areas and while wisecracks and insulting type of humor can fly fine and dandy until someone broaches that sensitive area and goes a step beyond. I've always tried to remind the kids (and myself too) when we get rolling and harassing each other, to be careful of the words as well as the tone of voice used too because one those words escape, there is no easy way to turn back. Retractions aren't possible once verbalized and words can cut through and wound just as easily as can a knife.

So the bottom line here is to think quickly before tossing out that barb -is this funny for everyone or just funny to me and what outcome will there be once it's said, once it's all done?

Just keep in mind where those known sensitive spots are on others before unloading that loaded verbal gun.

'Nuff said, I guess.


Mahala said...

I am notorious for sticking my foot in my mouth in the name of humor.

Beth from the Funny Farm said...

This is why I crack jokes about MYSELF! :-)

One of my sisters is ULTRA-SENSITIVE... I can do nothing right around her... This is a difficult thing for me to deal with sometimes. It isn't just me either she is sensitive about... she is like this with everyone in her life. **sigh**

SnoopMurph said...

I have been on both sides-either overstepping with a comment or being ultra-sensitive. I need to remind myself how it feels and I try to be mindful as much as I can.

SandyCarlson said...

Those lines can't be uncrossed, sadly. I've made that mistake, and I sure do know! I have learned that silence really, really is golden.

Thanks for stopping by. God bless.

Suldog said...

Yeah, it's tough. I always try to include jokes at my own expense, whether writing or just talking, so that anyone who might be offended knows that I'm willing to take it as much as give it.

By the way, I've never had a house catch on fire. That is so tremendously scary a proposition.

Minnesotablue said...

Jeni: you are right on. My father and I didn't get along and I have never forgotten some of the hurtful things he said to me. Words can stay with you forever

Travis said...

This is good advice. That can hurt in person, and it can also hurt online.

A written sarcastic comment can be very easily misinterpreted. The person may not be trying intentionally to hurt someone, thinking a comment to be hilarious. But the written word can be so easily misunderstood.

And so many times, the insult can be compounded by the writer accusing the person who feels insulted of having a "thin skin". The admonishment "hey, lighten up cause I was only joking" can only add fuel to the fire.