Reflecting on the past and laughing in the present!

Let My Laughter Resound!


This experience was anything but humorous or ‘laughable’ while I was ‘suffering’ through it. But with the passage of time, and with the clarity of judgment, I have been able to more objectively view this experience! When I was a teenager, to fail miserably, in the presence of a house full of adults (some of whom were professionals and probably ‘perfectionists’) was a very formidable and ‘scary’ experience.

The fact that I can recount the details of that evening at the Baptist Church where the recital was held – this demonstrates that the embarrassment of that evening (53 years ago) has been indelibly imprinted on my brain! I remember this frightening experience very well, almost as if it happened last week.

This piano recital happened (I think) the summer of 1961 (over 50 years ago, from the time I am presently writing this account). I think I was then 16 years old, and I am now nearly 69 years old! What does this tell you about the miracle of the human memory? Many events of the past would be hard for us to recall (at least in detail), but those events of the past that were filled with strong emotions – it’s those memories that are relatively easy to recall (even after the passage of several decades)!

It is rather amazing that the human mind can look at an event, from more than ‘one angle’. That is to say, as in the example of my fiasco with my piano recital (which evoked pain in me), a person can eventually look at a ‘pain-giving’ episode from a different angle (than the angle that one at first saw the event).

I certainly (legitimately) could not laugh at my embarrassing ‘flop’ (massive failure) on the night of the recital (and immediately thereafter). I certainly could not (would not) appear with my music teacher, the week after the recital, and then start ‘laughing’ regarding my failure.

Only after the elapse of some time, (perhaps a lot of time), I began to see the ‘funny side’ of my major failure with my piano playing. Now, years later, when I tell of this long-ago incident, I have grandchildren (four of them) who think it is so ‘funny’ that I could not play the patriotic piece. Over and over they like to say ‘Oh, say can you see’ – and then, to emphasize my major failure, they will say the same ‘word’ over and over. ‘See’, ‘see’, ‘see’, ‘see’?

At this point in my life, I want my grandchildren (and friends) to tease me, to have fun with me, to emphasize my long-age piano recital fiasco! I am not sensitive to their ‘teasing’ of me, for, after all, I was the one who has learned to see the ‘light side’ of a one-time very heartbreaking event!

As long as we never make ‘fun’ (or hurt) anyone with our ‘jesting’, it is wise (as we get some ‘distance’ from an event that wasn’t at the time ‘laughable’), I say, it is wise for us to get a different ‘angle’ on the original event. We need, as we look at those distant events (which initially brought some embarrassment or discomfort) with a different ‘angle’ (with a different set of lens).

Most events (not the tragic events, caused by evil persons), I say, most events have a ‘funny side’ to them, if we are good-natured enough (humble enough) to allow ourselves to see the ‘funny side’.

Even though the event that we were initially involved in brought us some distress (embarrassment, etc.), when the event has passed, there may be some humorous aspects from that event that can be retrieved – that is, there may be some laughable or humorous or strange aspects that can be retrieved from the past event that can give you a ‘good laugh’!

It is a sign of maturity (objectivity) when you can recall some humorous aspects from your past ‘event’ – humor that can be used to allow you to share with your friends – to give them the small, but significant, gift of laughter!

The two episodes that I shared, previous to this episode regarding the piano recital – these two episodes are examples of finding humor in an event that, initially, was not laughable! When my math teacher (coach) became so frustrated with my lack of comprehension regarding a math concept, obviously, at the time of the event, I was not laughing.

I was embarrassed and rather shocked! But, often when I think about that beloved math teacher, and his impulsive action toward me, I do not feel anger or resentment. In fact, I am inclined to ‘smile’, and, at times, even to ‘laugh’. I laugh because of his impulsive behavior (unbecoming of a school teacher who is supposed to be ‘eternally patient’ with students).

I also laugh when I think of my own struggle with a math concept, and I laugh as I see myself trying to catch the blocks that the teacher threw at me (because of his frustration). I can still see myself shocked, as I see the blocks flying through the air, aimed at me who was sitting in the back of that small math class.

He was not throwing those blocks at me (in a vindictive manner), because he did not like me, but because he did like me – and he could not understand how I could be so ‘shallow’ in my understanding! I can’t help but laugh and laugh now – more than 50 years removed from that event which happened during my junior high period of life!

When I was ‘put on the spot’ and belittled and embarrassed by a teacher (this time in a high school algebra class) – by a ‘military-type’ teacher who used her piercing voice to tell me that she would rather be called a ‘cow’ than be called ‘MAAM’ – I certainly was not ‘laughing’. If I would have laughed at that tense time, I, of course, would have been sent to the principal’s office (maybe dismissed from her class permanently). No, I had no inclination to laugh (out loud) or to laugh (inwardly).

Far from laughing, I was nearly crying, and I was trembling inside. My emotions were erupting. On this second day of my education at Fountain High School, I was belittled and I was terribly embarrassed in front of my peers! I felt I was unfairly treated (which I, indeed, was). My mind was confused because I did not see that I had done anything wrong!

That experience (for a brand new sophomore) was traumatic, indeed. It took me a while to get over the trauma that came from that experience. My partial reconciliation with the teacher, based on much better information (regarding the teacher’s legitimate classroom rules), this ‘greater understanding of life’ brought considerable healing to my emotions and better understanding to my mind. As the years have come and gone, with further maturity in my life, I have found a ‘new angle’ by which to interpret the over-all ‘landscape’ of this experience from my high school life.

Without any desire to ‘make fun’ of this little soldier-like teacher (strict disciplinarian), I have shared (on a few occasions) the drama of my classroom experience, when this little (old maid) teacher came into the classroom, to find me returning from a pencil sharpener, and then to ‘blast’ me with her shrill voice! When I answered her question (as to what I was doing), and when I addressed her with the courteous title ‘ma’am’, she said that she would rather be called a ‘cow’ than be called ‘ma’am’! Now, from a distance, when I describe the kind of woman she was (without any derision towards her), and what she said to me, I find myself ‘laughing’ and ‘laughing’. And a few others have gotten a good laugh!

“Biblical Foundation For The Sanctity Of Human Life!”

Table of contents: Let my laughter resound!


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