Let My Laughter Resound!
“DON’T LOOK….DON’T LOOK!”
Many years ago, when my wife and I were in our middle 30’s, after some contemplation and consideration, we decided to make an investment in real estate. Through the last three (and more) decades we have had many pleasant relationships with a lot of tenants. Of course, our experiences with tenants have not always ‘worked out’, but, for the most part, our experiences have been pleasant with tenants.
As is true of all landlords, there have been times when it was not very easy to find good tenants. Vacancy is, obviously, not what a landlord desires, but, worse yet, a landlord finds it difficult to deal with an irresponsible tenant (one who does not pay his rent on time, or one who is reckless in the use of the property).
On one of many other similar occasions, I was having a difficult time finding a good tenant for a certain property (duplex property). Venita and I believed that the property we were attempting to rent, was a ‘good’ property. Not a new property, but, nevertheless, a ‘clean’ and comfortable unit – a unit that we believed would ‘suit’ the need of some good tenant.
But, try as I did, I was not yet successful in ‘landing’ a good tenant! I think I had ‘shown’ the property to a few potential tenants, but no one yet was interested.
Then I got a call on the phone from a woman – a middle-age, single woman – and I arranged to meet her at the particular property. I showed her the inside of the property, and she seemed to be impressed with what she saw. She asked a certain question, the answer to which I gave with a spirit of confidence. She asked me if the neighborhood was a ‘safe’ neighborhood. Of course, I answered in the affirmative!
We walked outside, and she and I had a pleasant conversation. I was confident that, finally, I would have a person who would ‘sign up’ to rent the duplex apartment. I was so hopeful that I would no longer have to ‘search’ for a good tenant. I thought that this woman was going to be, not only our new tenant, but, possibly, a new friend (for we enjoyed it when some of the tenants became our casual friends).
We stood together on the sidewalk, in front of the duplex. We were standing, at a slight angle. My head was facing the duplex. Her head was facing the street. As I recall, this woman needed reassurance that this neighborhood was, indeed, a ‘safe’ neighborhood! Of course, I reassured her that this neighborhood was a ‘safe’ neighborhood!
The longer I live, the more I have noticed that our personal life experiences, from time to time, have some ‘sharp curves’, even some unexpected ‘pit falls’! As this woman and I were carrying on a pleasant visit (a specific visit about the virtues of this duplex, in which she showed some interest in renting), I say, while this woman and I were carrying on a pleasant visit, a ‘shock of shocks’ happened!
Suddenly, and ‘out of the blue’, this woman shouted to me, ‘Don’t Look! Don’t Look!’ I had no idea why this woman, with great emotional exclamation, was telling me ‘not to look’!
Obviously, from where she was standing, she was seeing something that I was not seeing! I couldn’t understand why she was so excited and so troubled! Of course, the very thing that she told me not to do, I did. I looked in her direction! I wanted to see whatever it was that she was seeing! What in the world was giving her such discomfort, such distress, such alarm?
When she cried out with such alarm and with such distress, I quickly turned in her direction! I then realized why she was deeply distressed, why her pleasant conversation with me had suddenly turned to words of total distress.
Along with her, I viewed a sight that, indeed, was distressing and very troubling! Across the street (and two houses down) there this ‘proper lady’ and I had our eyes fixed on the figure of a man who was exposing his totally nude body, in front of a large picture window!
This person, from a distance, of perhaps 30 yards from our position, appeared to be a large man, very muscular in build, very ‘hairy’ (like an ape, in my opinion). He was defiantly looking at this woman, and he was swaying back and forth with his entire body, with no shame at all in his demeanor. He, obviously, wanted to shock this woman, and, of course, he succeeded in his devious plot. He smiled at us, as he continued his shameful behavior!
Everything I confidently enunciated to my potential tenant, regarding a ‘safe’ neighborhood, ‘went out the window’. The sight of this evil man – this licentious man – destroyed every ‘case’ that I made, regarding this being a ‘good’ neighborhood!
I could say nothing to this woman, to persuade her that, obviously, the antics of this ‘hairy’ man – this man who ‘got his kicks’ from swaying in front of a window ‘in his birthday suit’ – was a ‘strange rarity’! It would do me no good to tell this prospective tenant that nothing like this had ever happened before, during all the previous years since I purchased this ‘fine duplex’!
After she saw this ‘trickster’ – this nude man who swayed in front of a picture window – I had no chance to convince this woman that (in spite of this shocking sight), the neighborhood was, indeed, ‘safe’! No chance for any further conversation. Our talk was over! I might as well ‘save my breath’!
As soon as she and I laid our eyes upon this ‘gross man’ for a few seconds, she quickly got in her car, and off she went! I lost a potentially ‘good tenant’, all because the ‘timing in life was lousy’! Why did that ‘ape-looking’ man have to appear, just when I was ready to ‘make a deal’ – to finally find a good tenant?
Because of a set of ‘unbelievable’ circumstances (the intrusion of a ‘licentious act’), I lost another possible tenant! All my efforts with this woman (showing the duplex, talking with her) were ‘down the drain’. As a believer, I knew that I had to ‘forgive’ this ‘evil dude’ from across the street, and I knew that, in spite of this shocking event, I had to ‘pick myself up’ as a landlord, and I knew that I must continue to seek the right tenant!
ls it possible to ‘laugh’ when our earnest efforts (on a legitimate project) ‘go south’ (when they fail)? We, of course, never condone acts of evil (like the appearance of a nude man), but, nevertheless, I think it is possible to discover a ‘layer of humor’ even when events (like this strange one) are not ‘righteous’, in and of themselves.
Even though, obviously, the potential tenant (the woman) saw nothing but ‘horror’ in the sight of the nude man, I (as a man) saw beyond the obvious ingredients of evil in the event, and I could not help but be amused with the sight of this swaying, nude man.
Amusement sometimes comes when one views sights and sounds that are beyond the ‘pale of decency’ (events that are odd and strange and ‘unexpected’ and ‘out of place’ and ‘out of order’ and ‘unnatural’ and ‘foolish looking’ and ‘childish’ and ‘uncomely’ and ‘unappealing’).
Without, the least approving his behavior, I do think that his tragic behavior, matches most (perhaps all) of the above descriptions. And, in that sense, even though he is a pathetic man (who needs our prayers), he is, in some ways, a ‘laughable person’!
With needed reflection on this strange scene, I found myself ‘humored’ (with even some laughter) because of the horror that the woman suddenly demonstrated when she saw this totally unexpected sight! She, doubtless, had never seen such a stark sight of a brazen and bold and shameless (naked) man!
The way she communicated to me (‘don’t look’!) was her way of shielding me from a sight that was repulsive and unbelievable and most embarrassing! As if I would not look! She probably knew (as a ‘proper lady’) that she would be further embarrassed if I (standing beside her) would look at this nude man!
‘Implicit laughter’ is laughter that comes as a result of discovering the deeper layers of laughter that are hidden in one of the elements (details) in any particular ‘event’. No, we believers should never find humor (laughter) in the ‘evil’ in any event, but, nevertheless, there may be hidden layers of laughter, even within an event which is basically evil in nature. Sometimes, there is to be found some elements of humor (even laughter) in what would be considered an ‘evil event’.
I find myself enjoying a little ‘laughter’ (in some elements) of the event that probably will never be repeated during my lifetime – the distress of a potential tenant, the shocking appearance of an ‘ape-like’ naked man, swaying back and forth in front of a picture window, smiling all the time while he is doing this, shamelessly exposing himself for the pleasure he is receiving from his antics, doing everything he can to embarrass and to shock a strange (respectable) woman who happens to be standing beside me!
Of course, the above description is the description of a man who, obviously, does not have a strong drive in his life to please his Creator! But, when one combines the ‘shock reaction of the woman’ with the antics of the ape-like man, with the ‘blowing away’ of my chance to rent the duplex, with the quick ‘shattering’ of my argument that the neighborhood was ‘safe’, with the immediate departure of the woman in her car – these are ‘unexpected reversals’ that make this ‘strange event’ pregnant with ‘humor’ and ‘laughter’!
“Biblical Foundation For The Sanctity Of Human Life!”