A recent, Thanksgiving-related article in the newspaper reminds us that feeling appreciative and grateful stimulates the parts of our brain associated with positive emotions, the article going on to suggest that we
“Make gratitude a routine, independent of how you feel – because that does not seem to matter, the reaction works anyway – and not just once each November, but all year long.”
Well, fine. If you want be a phony your whole life. Sorry, I just don’t happen to be that guy.
“A guy who wants a better quality of life?”
Right on! If it requires yearlong “pretend” appreciation. Sure, I am grateful about stuff. I have a wonderful life. But I am grateful in a quiet, non-demonstrative manner, which is the classier way to appreciate things, even if the parts of my brain associated with positive emotions are unable to register my reaction.
There is, however, a single exception. Where my appreciation is exuberantly unrestrained. That exception is the following:
I appreciate what a kick I get – and have always gotten – out of observing my unbounded physical ineptitude.
I am crazy about these moments. And I appreciate them out loud. I don’t know why, but I receive an inordinate amount of pleasure out my accidentally dropping things and knocking things over.
As an example, this happened just yesterday. I am already chuckling at the memory.
I am standing in our Master Bathroom, hovering after my morning ablutions over the sink. I reach over to my left, removing a small washcloth from the nearby chrome, “western motif” towel rack and, as previously instructed, I wipe the inadvertent “water spatter” from the surface of the horizontal edges of the sink. My obligatory cleanup duties completed, I then return the dampened washcloth to the towel rack.
At which point it immediately drops to the floor.
Here’s something you may be unaware of:
As you get older, the floor seems to get further and further away.
You cast your eyes on something that has fallen to the floor and for a while, you just look at it. I don’t know why, it’s not going to jump up into your hand. You just know there is going to be effort involved and you are in no rush to jump into immediate action.
Over the years, I have developed a helpful strategy. Rather than bending all the way to the floor – a maneuver I have increasingly tried to avoid – with the assistance of one foot which I employ as “The Pusher”, I slide the fallen in this case it’s a washcloth that I have unsuccessfully returned to the towel rack until it rests comfortably on the top of my other foot. I then bend my knee, and, slowly and carefully, I elevate the fallen item balanced on the top of my foot, up to my hand. Where I grab it.
Standing in our Master Bathroom, I execute this “foot-raising” maneuver to perfection. I take hold of the errant washcloth, and I return it again to the towel rack.
Where after a couple of second’s hesitation, it drops back down to the floor.
My ineptitude triggers an immediate smile. I have unquestionably passed this way before.
I perform the “foot” maneuver a second time. Once again, I am holding the elusive washcloth. This time, however, I am super-careful draping it over the towel rack.
Unfortunately, in the course of this assiduous effort, I inadvertently topple a plastic drinking cup (thankfully empty) to the floor on the other side of a waist-high, tiled counter separating the sink-area from the toilet, on top of which it was previously resting.
My smile upgrades to an appreciative chuckle. I can almost feel my quality of life improving.
I walk around the waist-high, tiled counter, I bend down to the floor to retrieve the upended plastic drinking cup as there is no way due to its roundness to lift it up with my foot. In so doing, however, I accidentally trigger the nearby automatic Toto toilet, so that its lid reflexively rises up…
And it hits me in the head.
I am now in hysterics.
Not just from my mouth-dropping ineptitude, but from my awareness that I have executed a quintessentially structured comedy routine:
“One, two, an intervening feint, and then Boom.”
The washcloth falls, it falls again, I bend down to retrieve the plastic water glass, and the toilet lid smacks me in the head.
There is little chance that my innate klutziness will ever be ameliorated. Nor will my enjoyment of its spontaneous occurrence.
That in terms of genuine appreciation, and its concomitant advantages…
I am happily covered for a lifetime.