GET MORE LAUGHTER IN YOUR LIFE!
David Granirer - North America's Psychotherapist/Stand-Up Comic
Volume 1, Issue 11
Editor: David Granirer, mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Publisher: David Granirer
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IN THIS ISSUE
1.Welcome From The Publisher
2.The Thin Red Line: When Humor Turns Into Harassment
3.What's Good Stories
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1. WELCOME FROM THE PUBLISHER
*****Come Have A Laugh!*****
My stand-up comedy shows continue at Cafe Madeleine, 3763 West 10th Ave, Vancouver. Clean, intelligent comedy in a smoke-free environment, Fridays at 8:00 p.m. Reservations recommended (604) 224-5558. Bring in this newsletter and buy one entree, get second for 50% off. Opening the show are students from my Langara College Stand-Up Comedy Clinic Course.
2. THE THIN RED LINE: WHEN HUMOR TURNS INTO HARASSMENT
by David Granirer © 2000
A female employee receives a surprise gift from some male coworkers. So far so good, but unfortunately, the gift contains lingerie and sexual devices. This act, which perhaps to give the benefit of the doubt may have begun as a seemingly harmless practical joke, results in a lawsuit and several people losing their jobs.
This prank broke some of the unwritten rules of what is and isn't acceptable humor in most workplaces. I say most, because there are some small groups of people who work together, usually in high-stress environments, who because of their strong bond have evolved an "anything goes" attitude towards humor, which seems to work for them. However, if you're not part of one of these groups, you need to be aware of some of the constraints.
First of all, the gift in question was sexual in nature, which is a major no-no. With all the lawsuits and sensitivity about sexual harassment, most people have lost their sense of humor about anything sexual at work, and whether or not you personally think it's funny, it's best not to go there.
Second, one of the unwritten rules today is to never target people from groups other than your own. In other words, don't make jokes about a gender, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation, disability, etc., unless you're part of that group. Let's face it, a group of men playing a joke that targets a woman's sexuality goes against all of this. And even if it's done in the spirit of fun, chances are really good that the target won't feel that way.
It may be hypocritical, but members of a certain group are allowed to criticize or make fun of their own, whereas if someone from outside the group does it it's considered racism or harassment. It may not be fair, but it's a reality everyone needs to be aware of.
And this reality also includes jokes targeting people's appearance. Most of us are pretty sensitive about how we look, especially in areas such as weight, height, and other prominent physical characteristics.
Another thing to consider is that your coworkers aren't necessarily your friends. Friends tend to be people who have similar opinions and beliefs to yourself, whereas coworkers often come from a much more diverse background. What your friends consider funny, your coworkers may consider harassment or in bad taste.
So what's left? Here are three safe areas:
#1:Yourself, your flaws, neuroses and inadequacies.When you make these jokes, people are brought closer to you because they can relate.And so far, no one's ever been sued for joking about him or herself.
#2:The situation you all face, i.e., the upcoming merger, the new reorganization, the difficult customers you deal with, etc.
#3:Personal characteristics in areas of low ego-involvement.Though most people are extremely sensitive about appearance, they're much less invested in other aspects of themselves.For example, I don't mind if someone makes jokes about my bad hand writing or the fact that I look tired because I had to get up at four in the morning to change a diaper.Poking fun at Peter because he'd rather ski than do paperwork, or Mary because she has a distinctive laugh is relatively safe to do, and communicates affection rather than disdain.
The whole idea of this article is not to set myself up as the humor police. However, as I said before, there are certain realities that we need to be aware of, and understanding what they are can help us make sure that our humor is well received and that we stay out of trouble in today's politically correct work environment.
For other free articles about laughter go to http://www.granirer.com/Articles.htm
For free back issues of this ezine go to http://www.granirer.com/Newsletter.htm
*****GET MORE LAUGHTER IN YOUR LIFE!*****
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3. WHAT'S GOOD STORIES
It's so easy to see all the bad things around us, that sometimes we forget about all the great things that go on. And we need to hear about good things because that gives us hope and inspires us to go out and do more good things.
In this section, I want to hear from you. What's happened in your life that's good? What things have people done that inspire you to be kind to others? What funny things have happened?
Email your short stories to me at email@example.com, and if I publish yours, you get a free copy of my tape "I'm OK But YOU Need Professional Help!"
This month we have two stories. The first is from Terry Oakes of Fredricton, N.B.:
My son who was aged four at the time was anxiously awaiting Christmas. He is a very bright kid who plans like crazy for everything right down to the very last detail. For several months prior to Christmas he was worrying that he wasn't going to get the exact presents he wanted so I would tell him not to worry and that he was going to get so much stuff it would make his head spin around. On Christmas morning our three kids were opening presents and I noticed Dylan turning his head from side to side and when I asked him what he was doing he replied "Daddy my head isn't spinning around."
Rae Stonehouse, RN, of Kelowna, B.C., submitted the second story:
I work as a Registered Nurse in a community specialized residential psychiatric facility.
A week or so ago I made the mistake of leaving my baseball cap at work. Upon my return the next morning I was greeted by an effigy of myself sitting in our staff room.
The chest was created from a Coleman cooler, the rest of the body from spare clothing stuffed with newspaper. A large balloon formed my head with my beard and glasses drawn in. On top of the balloon head sat my baseball cap.
As a nurse, providing counseling to my clients in 1 to 1 sessions plays a major part of my job. I suppose that I am gaining a bit of a reputation in the quality/quantity of my sessions among my fellow staff. Sitting upon the chest of my doppelganger was a sign saying "Rae's 1 to 1 machine. Please make your comments and select a response." Sitting cradled in the arm of the "therapist" was a Tupperware container with generic responses that could apply to almost any situation, including: "Oh, please tell me more," "I can feel your pain," "What did you learn from this. My favourite response referred to Dean my fellow nurse and the creator of this scenario. "Yes Dean is a wonderful nurse. Please tell me more about Dean!"
My likeness sat in the staff room over the weekend. It was as if another person was actually sitting there and startled us many times. The final laugh was when I retrieved my hat only to find that the baldness of the balloon head looked even more like my own receding hairline.
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5. CONTACT INFORMATION
David Granirer gives laughter in the workplace presentations helping hundreds of organizations throughout North America reduce stress, increase wellness, and cope with change. For more information on his presentations, stand-up comedy, products, and articles call (604) 205-9242 or go to http://www.granirer.com.
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