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Adjusting Your Humor Antenna 12

Adjusting Your Humor Antenna

The word antenna is becoming one of those words that is only familiar to people over a certain age. I must be one of those people because when I was young, there was an antenna on everything—our car, our house, and our radio. Today, antennae are few and far between. But the purpose of those old antennae was to pick up a signal so that we could enjoy a television show or a radio broadcast.

When it comes to your humor antenna, I would venture to say that it’s not always tuned in properly. Just like the rabbit ears on our old TV, you have to fiddle with it occasionally to make sure it’s picking up all of the humor in your surroundings. The best way to make sure your antenna is adjusted properly is to remind yourself to look. That’s it. By opening your eyes and paying attention your antenna works better.

For this article, I’d like to share several funny things that my antenna picked up over the past few weeks. Some were obvious and a couple weren’t. And this first example shows just how broken many of our antennae are.

Funny Security Guard

I recently spoke at a corporate function being held in the banquet room of a Maggiano’s restaurant. This particular Maggiano’s was located in a large mall and my GPS kept directing me to a Dillard’s department store. Finally, after circling the store three times, I flagged down a security guard and said, “Excuse me. How do I get to the Maggiano’s?”

The guard said, “I would recommend a car.”

Appreciating a good joke, I laughed. The relieved security guard said, “Thank you.”

He then said, “You wouldn’t believe how many people don’t laugh when I say that. And some actually get upset. I think the world needs a little bit of humor.”

When I told him that I thoroughly appreciated his humor and that I was a speaker who teaches people the value of humor, I thought he was going to climb in my car and hug me. Apparently, I reinforced his life philosophy and as a result, I made his day. He also made my day.

Sign of The Times

Whenever we’re walking or driving, we often don’t notice funny things around us because our minds distract us with thoughts of work related to-do lists, personal challenges, or wondering when we get to eat again. However, it’s in the present moment that we see not only the humor, but also life’s rich experiences. So, we have to adjust our antennae to tune out these distractions.

Last month, I had a presentation in Austin, TX. My wife accompanied me and on our walk to breakfast, we saw a mural of Bob Barker from a scene in the movie Happy Gilmour. While it wasn’t an Academy Award winning movie, it was a classic Adam Sandler comedy. The mural depicted a scene where Adam Sandler and Bob Barker got into a fight on the golf course. Sandler says, “You want a piece of me?”

Bob Barker responds, “I don’t want a piece of you. I want the whole thing.”

It’s my favorite scene in the movie and the mural reminded me of the humor. You can see my photo of the mural above.

A few blocks later on our walk back from breakfast, we passed a store that sold “Fine Embroidered Crap”. Hilarious. That’s a great example of a serious business that doesn’t take itself too seriously. And to top it off, the store was closed but rather than having a boring “Closed” sign on the door, there was sign that said, “Sorry We’re High.”

That really makes no sense whatsoever but it’s funny. I’m glad we were paying attention.

Another Sign of the Times

Driving on a highway in Northern Virginia three weeks ago, I passed a hospital with a digital marquee sign out front that said, “Text this number: 1234567 to find out our ER wait time.”

I was driving—and a hospital was suggesting that I text—while I was driving.

I think that hospital is trying to generate more business for their ER!

The humor of this sign might not be obvious to many people. You have to give it a bit of thought to make the jump from just a sign to the absurdity of the message to the humor.

The Last Sign of the Times

I was speaking recently in Charlotte, NC and parked in the hotel garage. The levels of the garage were labeled P3, P2, P1 and BM. Yes, really. They named a parking level BM. And of course when I got there, the cars were all backed up. Haha.

Let me just reiterate: If you are going through your day and you don’t notice that you’re parked on the BM level of a garage, your humor antenna is also backed up.


Years ago, my wife and I were having dinner at a Chinese restaurant. I opened my fortune cookie and it said, “You will get lucky tonight.”

We both laughed out loud. My wife laughed a lot harder than I did (which made more sense later that evening, but I digress). Ever since that night, we’ve always looked for the humor in our fortune cookies. A few weeks ago, I was in Ankeny, Iowa. I opened my fortune cookie and it said, “Staying close to home is going to be best for your morale today.” I live in Virginia.

I laughed out loud.

There is humor all around us and you need to keep your humor antenna tuned to the right frequency. Otherwise, the distractions of our mind will cause too much interference. So, every morning, adjust your antenna and keep your eyes open.


  • Rick says:

    Ron, I was fortunate enough to attend your recent presentation in Ankeny, IA and personally, I’m glad your fortune cookie was incorrect in that it indicated your morale would have been better served close to home. We all were very glad you were close to us in Iowa!!

    I truly appreciated your humor and being a CFO in a hospital, finding humor in the workplace is getting more and more difficult. I try to laugh with my staff and it sincerely improves the morale…at least that’s the indication I get….

    Take care and thanks again for sharing your Blog of humorous experiences. They are very uplifting and enjoyable.

  • Greg Nelsen says:

    Don’t forget the aluminum foil and someone holding on to one (or better yet, both) of the antennae with other body parts held at specific angles so others can watch a three hour sporting event……….:-) – don’t move!!!

    Old Timer who remembers when the remote had two buttons – channel changer and volume (and, sadly, no mute)

  • Terry Galbreath says:

    Ron – You are so right. So many people go through life taking everything too seriously and miss all the nuances and ironies life has to offer. I miss the days when Jay Leno or Johnny Carson showed the funny signs or newspaper adds. Life is so much more complicated and you are correct that we need to slow down a little and look for the humor in things and also be able to laugh at ourselves. Thanks for your emails. I always enjoy and share them.

  • Beth says:

    My initials are “BM.” When a work environment requests initials on documentation, I always use my middle initial as well. “BAM” is much for fun and less hilarious for other people to use at my expense. Once, a director asked my last name for a file and when I told her, she almost snorted and said: “Well, that’s unfortunate.”
    I have worked in and out of the medical field for years but have currently been working with more of a correctional mindset of coworkers while completing a degree. So, “BM” automatically means something to me and has with past work places and people than my current coworkers. When I have to explain what “BM” commonly brings to mind for others, I now have them enjoying a moment coming and going.
    Humor that does not use negativity against something or someone else to create a chuckle can be sorely lacking in daily life. Thanks for reminding me to keep my eyes peeled!!

  • Angela Beaty, RN says:

    I too was in Charlotte in the BM parking deck. My friend and I both laughed immediately when we saw it. We said we were truly in the bowels of the building!! Glad to know our antennae were in touch!! Thanks for making us laugh and your newsletter!!!
    Angie Beaty, RN

  • Angela M Acevedo says:

    Yesterday at work at the Cancer center, i was in the elevator when i saw a couple coming , i stopped the elevator waiting for them. as they got in, the husband said: “table for two by the window please” then i replied ” ofcourse, you can not miss the sunset ”
    Then we laughed …
    we left the elevator at the same floor and i shared with them your letter “Adjusting Your Humor Antenna”.
    They appreciated.
    Thank you Ron.

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