A while back I wrote a little story about a particular brand of fifth grade humor and my penchant for it. Call it a character flaw if you must, but I wear it proudly. I even sent my dad a fart-themed birthday card last April. (Really, can the world have too many fart jokes? I think not. And P.S., bring on the whoopie cushions.)
You may possibly recall that when I introduced this slightly pornographic Land O’ Lakes butter box trick (see above) to Handsome Chef Boyfriend, he rolled his eyes.
And then LOL Squaw (now common parlance around here) started popping up all over the place. At first there was only one of her. She showed herself–so to speak–variously at my place and HCB’s in new and unexpected venues. Example: I flip down the car visor when the late day sun blasts through my car windshield and, Boom! LOL Squaw dangles in front of my nose from a piece of tape. And on. And. On.
She eventually became dog-eared and went into semi-retirement.
Then on my birthday I opened a card from HCB to discover many LOL Squaws tumbling out confetti-style. That’s a lot of butter, friends. (Oh, wait–pastry chef.)
A little while back I flipped through my Rolodex for HCB’s address (I really do possess a Rolodex and sometimes send actual letters through the mail). Yep, LOL Squaw.
This morning when I opened my wallet to fish for coffee money in line at the Dunkin’ Donuts she made another appearance:
And this evening when I was doing laundry and snipped the tag off an article of clothing I purchased while on a shopping outing with HCB over the weekend:
LOL Squaw. I figure this could potentially go on forever.
I like it. Not only does this little prank appeal to my inner fifth-grader, it makes the reality that HCB and I live in separate corners of Vermont a little easier to bear. It’s better than texting, when we can’t chat on the phone. It says, I am here for you, to serve your middle school humor needs.
Lately I have been trying to parent a young man from a thousand miles away. It is difficult, maybe impossible. He continues to struggle with some big problems in his life. No laughing matter, really. Last weekend as I was sharing a few details about this situation with HCB’s sister–whose professional life qualifies her to weigh in on this–she introduced me to the concept of motivational interviewing, where you guide the person you’re trying to help using questions, rather than unloading suggestions that fall on deaf ears.
The way I understand this technique, you might listen to this young person complain that he just can’t reach a particular goal. Instead of suggesting a solution, you ask him, “So you believe you are incapable of achieving this goal?” Sort of like leading the witness.
I am no expert, and have done exactly no reading or research on this technique thus far, but you get the general idea.
HCB has put his own twist on motivational interviewing, though:
Me: I am worried about getting the last load of wood moved to the porch before the first snowfall.
HCB: We have plenty of time.
Me: I thought that last year, too, but we waited too long.
HCB: And then we managed to bring up wood using the sled.
Me: It was a pain in the behind and I want to avoid that this year.
HCB: So, are you saying you are too stupid to know when to move the wood?
Oh, and when I questioned the use of the word stupid, suggesting a qualified practitioner of this technique (emphasis on QUALIFIED) would never do this, HCB unapologetically submitted he was simply making the question less wordy, skipping a step, as it were–he actually said he was being helpful in this regard.
Finding humor in the midst of the most challenging situations is an elusive but important life skill. Having someone there to hand it to you fifth grade-style is even better.