Article Date: 12/1/2011

Laughing at Stress
lessons learned

Laughing at Stress

Smile, even when gas prices skyrocket and grandmom goes to pot.

Jack Runninger, O.D.

"Ma'am, it's against the law to drive just 20 mile an hour on an interstate,” said the state trooper after stopping an elderly lady driver.

“But the sign says the speed limit is 20,” she protested.

“No ma'am, that's the route number. You're driving on Route 20. And by the way why do the other three ladies in your car appear to be so stressed out?”

“I don't know. Unless it's because we just came off of Route 119.”

You may recall that last month's episode was about overcoming stress. I ran out of space before I ran out of words. Thus, this continues the same theme.


ILLUSTRATION BY AMY WUMMER

Self imposed?

“Life consists not of what happens to you, but instead to how you react,” wrote some philosopher, whose name escapes me.

“Things turn out best for people who make the best of the way things turn out,” is the way Art Linkletter put it.

An example is a story told about a flight attendant who once asked boxer Muhammad Ali, not the most modest man on earth, to fasten his seat belt.

“Superman don't need no seat belt!” he said, refusing to fasten it.

The attendant could have started an argument, and become angry and stressed. Instead she replied, “That's right. And Superman don't need no airplane either.” Another example occurred when I was at a service station. An old pick up truck stopped at the next pump, and a redneck gentleman got out. Making conversation with him, I said, “The price of gas sure is awful isn't it?”

“Don't bother me none,” he said. “I always get just $10 worth no matter what they're chargin'.”

Make fun of it

“One of the few ways to deal with a high stress situation you can't escape, is to make fun of it,” according to Dr. Samuel Sham, author of “House of God.”

“Nothing erases unpleasant thoughts more effectively than concentration on pleasant ones,” said noted stress researcher Hans Selye. Or as some comic once said, “Humor in stress situations is like a diaper. It doesn't change things permanently, but makes everything better for awhile!”

The wrong way

“Any history of eye disease in your family?” I once asked a patient during case history.

“Yes, my grandmother has glaucoma,” he said.

“Is she undergoing any treatment for it?”

“She read someplace that marijuana could help, so she's smoking pot,” he said.

“Is it helping any?” I asked.

“Yes, and no. She can't see any better, but now she doesn't give a durn.”

Which reminded me of what Voltaire, the French philosopher once said. “The art of medicine consists of amusing the patient, while nature cures the disease.”

One more

I'll leave you with one more stupid story about stress relief. A gentleman decided to reduce stress by quitting work and traveling extensively. He would place a thumb tack on a world map on each country he visited.

He realized his first two destinations had to be the countries on the top right and top left of the map. Otherwise, the map would fall off the wall. OM


JACK RUNNINGER, OUR CONSULTING EDITOR, LIVES IN ROME, GA. HE'S ALSO A PAST EDITOR OF OM. CONTACT HIM AT RUNNINGERJ@COMCAST.NET.

Optometric Management, Issue: December 2011