Laugh at the Awkward Things

“LIFE can be a comedy or tragedy. Laugh at the awkward moments or cry…pick the life you want to live.”  – Aleks

Most of my life has been awkward and weird. And over the years, I’ve learned that while I can’t always control the awkward moments, I can control whether I laugh at those moments and get some enjoyment out of them.

After finishing my work at the studio, I stopped for groceries and headed out the door. My hands were full of grocery bags and I was excited to get home and eat. As I was leaving, this guy walked past me and reached the exit before me. He was covered in tattoos. It was impressive. He opened the door, held it for me and smiled. 

It was a kind gesture and made me feel great. I noticed that he had cellophane wrapped around his right knee. The cellophane wrap meant he recently got a new tattoo. Honestly, I don’t know where he found the room, but he did. This new tattoo was my opportunity to make him feel great. So as I went out the door, I nodded my thanks and walked one way while he walked in the opposite direction. I paused and said “Hey man! Congrats on the new tattoo!”

He turned around and looked puzzled. This was not the response I expected, but to be fair, he had headphones on. He continued walking and said “What?”

I repeated my congratulations, and he repeated,”What?” Now I was growing frustrated and a bit angry. The situation had become incredibly awkward, and I wanted to walk away. But I persisted. Setting down my grocery bags, I pointed to my raised knee and congratulated him once more on his new tattoo. I looked like a crazy person. 

He looked back at me and with a furrowed brow said “No thank you!” Then he turned his head and walked away. 

My jaw dropped in sheer confusion. What did he think I was saying? Did he believe I was asking for money? The whole encounter was incredibly awkward. My attempt to make him feel good had utterly failed.

And in a matter of seconds, I burst into laughter. I laughed because, in all honesty, it was funny. Five years ago, I wouldn’t have found it amusing. I would have been embarrassed. Embarrassed that I wasn’t heard, that my compliment went unnoticed. But now I laugh. I laugh because I’ve come to understand that life is both a tragedy and a comedy. It presents us with two sides of the same coin, and it’s up to us to choose how we react. So, this week, let’s simply laugh. Let’s laugh at the awkwardness because if we’re not laughing, we’re crying.

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