There are many times in which life will screw you over in small ways, and you are presented with three choices: fuss, ignore, or laugh.
Now, I’m not talking about being screwed over in a life-changing manner—no. I’m talking about minor slip-ups or embarrassments that can either push your day over the edge into “I hate everything” mode, or become the damn funniest thing you ever did witness.
Allow me to explain.
One day, a few weeks ago, I was having one of THOSE days. I woke up grouchy, little things annoyed me, nothing at work was going smoothly—basically, I already hated everything.
A friend of mine offered to make dinner and host a Sherlock marathon. I brought dessert. There was wine. Everything was going swimmingly.
I decided to have a glass of soda, but the soda was warm, so I needed ice. I went to the freezer to retrieve a bag of ice—her icemaker wasn’t working, so I had brought over a bag of ice many moons ago, and it was still there. But I could not get a cube. All the ice had frozen together.
I set my glass down and pulled the bag of ice from the freezer. My friend was in the kitchen getting her own drink. I briefly considered the bag of ice, contemplating smacking it on the counter.
No, I thought, if I hit it at that angle, the bag will break on the corner. So I decided to side-swipe the thing against the refrigerator. No harsh corners there, right? Yeah. Right.
I smacked the bag against the fridge and it immediately EXPLODED.
It was like a frag grenade went off. Ice went beneath the appliances, skittered into the laundry room, slid across the counter, bounced off my feet. It was a disaster—not one cube was salvaged.
For a split second, I stared. In that fragment of a moment my brain presented me with three options: cry and apologize to my friend, clean up right away and pretend it never happened, or collapse in a fit of uncontrollable laughter.
I picked the third one. I sat down on the floor—in a rapidly developing puddle of icy water—and laughed. I laughed so hard no noise was coming out. My face turned red. I wheezed. My face turned blue. And while I was suffocating myself with giggles, I was trying to collect some of the ice cubes and place them on the broken plastic in a feeble attempt to mitigate the damage.
My friend stood at the counter, laughing as well, making fun of my ineptitude.
Once I got a hold of myself enough to breathe, I giggled through the mop-up. In total, I must have laughed without stopping for a good ten minutes. The rest of the night became disproportionately hilarious for both my friend and me.
Everything was funny. And no, neither of us was drunk; each consumed only one glass of wine. Things were funny because we chose to make them funny. We chose laughter over the other options presented to us.
I realized today that laughter is a good life philosophy. Being an author—really, just being anything—is quite often disappointing, and hard. Rejection letters. Bad reviews. Small advances. Living paycheck to paycheck as a freelancer until you make it big. But, the minor difficulties and disappointments don’t have to rule your life.
Rejection letter full of grammar mistakes? Laugh at it. Bad reviews suddenly generating sales? Laugh at the reviewer. (To yourself. Not publicly.) Own the starving artist stigma and laugh at the crazy amounts of Ramen you have squirreled away.