Mind Matters – How to Lighten Up

Dear Everybody,

I feel I have been a little too serious lately, so I thought I would lighten up with this post. I’m going to share with you some of the things I do to lighten up my life and make the day a little easier to get through. First of all, I try to finish everything I started before I leave the house. For instance, this morning I finished the Kahlua, red and white wine, Prozac, Valium, and chocolate, and I felt so good going out the door.

Next I have a list of over thirty things I do that are not normal behavior. When I make a phone call and they respond, “May I ask who is calling?” I answer, “Yes, you may.”     When asked to print your name, or print clearly, I print; YOUR NAME or CLEARLY. When asked to sign here, I sign, HERE. When asked to sign in, I sign, IN.

I got the airlines to change their lavatory instructions—they used to say do not throw foreign objects in the toilet. I would come out of the lavatory and announce I may have damaged the plane. And that isn’t funny when you’re up in the air. “What did you do?” “I dropped something from Italy in the toilet and then saw the sign.” Now it says do not throw solid objects in the toilet. I also ask when the sign goes on, Return to Seat, “Do I have to go back to the lavatory?”

I love to see wet paint and wet floor signs because when I do, I wet them. Does the sign No Sanitary Facilities mean they only have unsanitary facilities? The baby changing station doesn’t work either. Kids are still a problem after they come off. When asked; “Can you spell your name?” I answer “Sure, Y-O-U-R-N-A-M-E.” When the pet store has bags of Wild Bird Seed I ask them if they have any for tame birds.

I send nothing on special occasions since nothing makes everyone happy and solves all of your problems. It pleases me to announce, “I am nobody,” when I walk into places with signs saying Nobody Allowed Here. One guard made me somebody and told me I had to leave. When a clerk says, “Yes dear, how can I help you?” and I am tenth in line, I walk up to the front of the line and announce to everyone that I am her boyfriend so when she said “dear” I thought she meant me.

I am going to start a new support group for hypochondriacs called HA, or Hypochondriacs Anonymous. Our motto is, “Ask not what your disease can do for you.” Anyone interested let me know via my website www.berniesiegelmd.com.

I like to order food at the bank’s drive up window. The new clerks panic when I ask if my order is ready. I also have a mailbox 20 feet in the air for air mail. There’s more, but I guess by now you get the idea.

So let the child in you out tomorrow and you’ll meet other kids, too, and have a fun day. You also may save a lot of money if you have a big family because they stop eating out with you when the waitress asks, “Is everything alright?” and you start criticizing her for upsetting you during the meal when the news is so bad about the war, oil spill, and more, ending by telling her, “Next time just ask us about the meal.”

The serious side of all this is that you need to be comfortable with yourself and not worry about what everyone else is thinking about you. I did a “Tootsie routine” years ago at a hospital staff dinner. I went out to the Men’s Room and, with my wife’s help, put on a wig and dress, and then came back and gave a lecture on how badly my sister was treated at the hospital. When I was done, I removed my wig and popped my balloon bosoms. I had to show up at the hospital the next day and was a bit concerned, but the reception was a positive one, and it helped me to feel safe and comfortable with being myself. I can also say that my parents and wife helped this happen by accepting and loving me no matter how nuts I sometimes get.

A benefit our kids eventually realized was that when they misbehaved at school or screwed up at work, they weren’t criticized. They just heard people say, “Well, you know who his father is.” So give them the freedom to be different, too, and embarrass your children regularly.

I will close with a comment from a reader who met my quadriplegic father-in-law while volunteering to read to nursing home residents. She learned that what people want to hear and talk about is what is the key and not what we think they should hear. She said, “I learned an important lesson about communication. Don’t try so hard, it will happen, and remember to take joy in the little things in life.” Yes! And here are a few pearls of wisdom from keen observers of the “human condition” in all of its wonder:

“Experience is the name everyone gives to their mistakes.”
~ Oscar Wilde

“Love at first sight is easy to understand. It’s when two people have been looking at each other for years when it becomes a miracle.”
~ Sam Levenson

“The childhood shows the man, as morning shows the day.”
~ John Milton

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Bernie Siegel, MD

4 Responses

  1. Jane Knox


  2. Eva Newborn

    Bernie..you are the BEST!!!! I totally laughed while reading this post….I really needed that..Thank you!!!!

  3. Ginny Perre-Dowd

    Bernie Siegel, you must live Forever and ever. You are The World to so many people, myself included – your knowledge, your wisdom, your humor, your love are all palpable and life enhancing and extending to people too numerous to count. YOU count, Bernie, and I thank you for years and years of being You.

  4. Bonnie

    Thanks for the day brightener!