Tag Archives: humor

Adding value

I saw the following status on Facebook from a friend of mine:

Saw a homeless guy in SLC with a sign: “I bet you $1 you read this.” I lost the bet.

It’s interesting to me because only the most hardened anti-giving-away-money-to-homeless-people would still refuse to even consider giving this man a dollar. Even though his situation and needs were most likely similar to everyone else, if there was someone holding that sign next to a guy who just simply asked for help, I would venture to bet that most people will donate to the betting man.

What is it about humor that seems to add so much value? A homeless man on the street with a humorous sign will at last garner a smile. We might say something like, “I didn’t give him anything but I wasn’t really annoyed by his presence, either.” Someone on the street could hold a heart-breaking sign about how he lost his job, his wife has cancer, he feels hopeless and has no other options. He could describe his plight in great detail, and yet not only will people ignore him, but they may actually feel resentful.  What, exactly, do people resent when they see a man with such a sign? A difficult question that most would rather avoid than answer.

There’s something about humor that not only diffuses what could be a tense situation, but also adds value. We may not donate to the cause just yet, but we will tolerate its presence, maybe even laud it, and the chances of us donating to the cause grows. Why? Because we rofled. Maybe non-profit organizations could learn from this? A Doctors Without Borders comedy sketch? A Red Cross improv night? Perhaps the Salvation Army could replace all of those bell ringers during the Christmas season with people dressed up as Santa holding ironic/sarcastic signs? The mascot of the Peace Corp could be a lolcat? And what does it say about our society when a man with a witty sign wins out, but someone telling us how they lost their job doesn’t?

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The hand pointing at the moon is not the moon

In the tradition of Christ’s Socratic dialogue, I present to you a story while asking, “What think ye?” This gem of a story comes from Zen in 10 Simple Lessons by Anthony Man-Tu Lee and David Weiss:

Dan Xia taking shelter in a Buddhist temple on a cold evening found himself with little fuel for his meager fire and took down one of the Buddha images from the altar and added it to the embers. The temple custodian was appalled by his sacrilege and chastized Dan Xia for his irreverence. Dan Xia calmly took up a stick and began scratching about the embers, and replied: “I am looking for holy relics among the ashes.”

The puzzled and still furious custodian asked: “How can you get holy relics from a wooden Buddha?”

“If there are no relics to be found,” replied Dan Xia, “how can this be considered a Buddha, and if not a Buddha, how am I committing any sacrilegious act. Would you mind if I added the two remaining Buddhas to my fire?”

When I found this story I literally laughed out loud. When my wife heard me, she asked me what was so funny so I read this story to her and it upset her greatly. She took the side of the temple custodian, whereas I like way of Dan Xia’s thinking. So, my dear readers, what think ye?

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The Second Epistle of Elder Lee to President Bracha

In a recent post, I mentioned my plans on recording some of the documents from my past in order to preserve it for my children and any other bored futuristic people who would want to read it. This is one such example. On my mission, when occasion permitted or I was in a whimsical mood, I would write my letters to the mission president in “scripture form.” The following is a picture of an example of one, as well as its contents transcribed.

The Second Epistle of Elder Lee to President Bracha

New investigator found – The debacle concerning Drew’s baptism – Horrible plagues afflict Elder Lee to the depths of humility – Setbacks in ideas for missionary work

1. Elder Lee, servant of our Lord Jesus Christ assigned to labor among the people of Norman, do send greetings and report the happenings of the fourth week of the fifth transfer of the reign of President Bracha.

2. Behold, on the second day of the fourth week, we did meet with a student named Mike, and we did teach him that glorious message of the Restoration.

3. Yea, and we  did see that the work of the adversary is constant among the children of men to thwart the servants of God, for two of Mike’s friends did sit with us in the lesson to try and confound us.

4. They did ask questions, and did say, behold, the Bible doth teach us that revelation hath ceased, that the work of God is finished, and we have no more need for prophets. And in this manner did they speak.

5. But we did confound them in their words, for we did say unto them, if thou believest the things thou hast said, and claim it to be the word of God, ye do greatly err and fail to understand the scriptures which has been given unto you.

6. Behold, the scriptures testify the need of revelation, and of prophets, and they do show that the work of God is not finished, but that it does continue among the children of man and that God hath not ceased to be a God of miracles.

7. And it came to pass that Mike did retire unto his dorm, and he did read and ponder and did seek us out to teach him more of the doctrines of truth. And when we did hear of this, we did rejoice and did set up another appointment in haste.

8. And now, behold, I do speak of that terrible confusion concerning Drew’s baptism, of which thou didst know of. Yea, I tell you of the happenings which occured[sic] after the confusion.

9. Behold, Drew is strengthened daily by the good word of God and does greatly desire to be baptized, and so we did go forth before the bishop with broken hearts and contrite spirits and did humble ourselves before him, submitting ourselves to his counsel, and we do work as one, and we do plan this baptism as one.

10. And behold, we have been humbled considerably and do seek to bring harmony in our doings and the ward’s doings concerning missionary work and do continue to do so, even until the ends of our transfers here in the land.

11. And now, I also speak of that terrible illness that took hold of my body. Yea, my bowels were wracked with pain and I did spew forth the contents of last night’s dinner through my mouth. Yea, my joints did ache and I did cry out in pain.

12. But behold, I did seek out a priesthood blessing, which did cause a quick and speedy recovery, and I do glory in the greatness of God’s mercy.

13. And I did seek the comfort of the Lord through mighty prayer, and did seek strength and endurance of the pain, and it was granted unto me according to his will.

14. And it was the Sabbath when I did endure this awful agony, and so great was my confidence in the Lord that I did not seek out worldly cures for it was unlawful to purchase things then, and behold I was blessed with a speedy recovery.

15. And thus was my testimony strengthened.

16. Behold, I do bring sad tidings concerning our great plans for progressing the work in the land.

17. We did seek to rent the theater in the Student Union to show movies concerning the Restoration and the gospel of Jesus Christ.

18. And we did seek to give three Books of Mormon to each member in the ward – one for their homes, one for their cars, and one for their bags – to give unto their friends, to seek out the Lord’s elect.

19. But it came to pass that all of these activities did require of us much money that we did not possess. And so we did abandon our designs for the time being.

20. And so we did suffer setbacks in the work, but continue to work unto bringing salvation to the children of the Lord, and do labor greatly to bring about the work of our Father.

21. And this we did in the fourth week of the fifth transfer of the reign of President Bracha.

22. And my companion did dwell in a tent.

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Customers that need to be serviced

I work a lot with a site called complaintsboard.com. It’s basically a bunch of people griping about whatever they want to gripe about – products, companies, government, even their parents if they are so inclined. I came across this gem that has nothing to do with my company’s product, but Wal-mart – the giant international conglamerate that we all love to hate. Unfortunately, this person hates Wal-mart a little too much and loves herself way too much:

Last night my daughter and I went to your store to pick up some items. Being environmently friendly I did not want to waste bags so I told the cashier that I did not want any bags. Upon leaving the store we ran into one your greeter. She asked to see my receipt. I told her no way, I did not steal anything. I told her that I am a registered nurse and would not steal. Come on, I had just came home from work and was wearing my nurse uniform. I told her that I do not like being treated like a criminal. I also informed her that I am a registered nurse and make three times as much money as her manager makes. She apologized saying it was policy to ask for a receipt when the items are not in bags. I told her an apology is not enough as my daughter and I were already embarassed. I am not black Indian or Hispanic, and the majority of criminals in our neigbborhood are black. I am not racist. I am just saying this to face true facts. (as a matter of fact that fact is probably true in any neighborhood).

I asked to speak to a manager, and she paged one. He did not come right away it took him ten minutes to get there. After about five minutes I asked her to call him directly on the phone. I told her to let him know that I am a regisered nurse and spend thousands in your store. I wanted her to know that I make much more money than your average customer.

When the manager finally did come, all he did was back up this cashier and apologize. I told him that an apology was not good enough and said that I should get a gift card. After arguing he finally gave me a $25 gift card. This is not enough as it caused great embarassment towards me and my daughter. I do not care much for myself but this experience will scar my nine year old daughter for life. She will go on thinking her mother did wrong. Her father whom I happily divorced is a deadbeat but that’s another story.

I think that if the manager was really and truely sorry he would have given me more than a cheap $25 gift card. I know that seems like a lot but for a big company it is nothing. This was just a cheap attempt to get me out of the store. Again I have stated I don’t need the cheap $25 gift card. I am a registered nurse that makes three times the amount of money the manager makes. It is just a matter of good custumer service.

I will not be shopping at any of your stores again unless you fire that greeter and the uneducated manager. I will be spending my $25 gift card any any more that you give me but I won’t be spending my money until they are gone. I am a registered nurse and can bring lots of money to your store as I make 80k a year

Some things in life, you just can’t make up.

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