I went to the dermatologist this morning because of a little bump on my back. Very sexy, I know. It wasn’t a mole and it wasn’t a blemish (why do we call them “blemishes” when we get older? Like, mature pimples?). So the dermatologist looked at it and after 2 seconds said, “It’s a cyst. Probably a genetic thing. You’ll likely get more of them. It’s not a big deal but you will have to have it removed in case it gets infected someday. That could cause you problems.”
My one-hour visit turned into a relocation to the surgery center next door. Same-day service…they were faster than my dry-cleaner. I sat in the waiting room a little nervous and a little perturbed, completely surrounded by two and three hundred-year-old people. They were all discussing their growths and medicare and the state of customer service “these days”…when an older gentleman turned to me and said, “Well, we’ve been waiting for you.”
I was reading a book at the time so I did one of those turn-and-look-at-the-wall-behind-me things and asked, “Who, me?”
I then took a second look to ensure I hadn’t walked past the surgery waiting room and, in fact, into Heaven’s Waiting Room. I hadn’t.
“Oh! Well, here I am!” I chirped.
“Thanks!” I picked up my book. The room was quiet for a few moments and I could feel it coming…
“Did you hear about the patrol officer out on 95 the other day?”
I put my book back down. “No. No I didn’t.” I am clearly going to have to listen to this story.
“Well, the patrol officer was driving up and down 95 and he saw a woman with her car full of monkeys.”
“What? Monkeys?? REALLY??”
“Yes. And I mean full. Top, bottom, front seat, back seat, all the way up to the windshield.” It was about this time that I figured out he was going to try and tell me a joke. “So the patrol officer pulled her over and told her, ‘Ma’am, these monkeys are dangerous. You could be distracted while you’re driving. You’d better take them to the zoo.'”
“So a few days later he saw her again with all those same darn monkeys in the car. He pulled her over and asked, ‘Don’t you remember what I said about your monkeys? You need to take them to the zoo.’ Well, she replied, ‘Yes, officer. I took them to the zoo. We had such a good time that now I’m taking them to Disneyland!’ You see, she didn’t take them to the zoo and leave them there. She took them there and a had a good time and then decided to go to Disneyland with them!”
“Oh, yes. I see. Very funny.”
“You want to hear another story about that same patrol officer?”
This was the moment I had to make a joy choice. I call it a joice. I could sacrifice some of my own joy, the joy I would have gotten from reading my book without a 20-month-old clinging to my ankles, or I could be selfish and tell him I’m busy reading my book or mayhaps pretend like I couldn’t hear him. I really didn’t want to hear his second joke. The first one was not funny. It did not bring me joy. But what did I do? I obliged. I told him I did want to hear his second joke. I made a joice. His eyes, delighted and wide, smiled independent of the rest of his face.
“Well, that same patrol officer tried to pull a gentleman over. He turned on his lights but the guy started driving faster away from him. So he announced, ‘Pull over!’ into his loud speaker but the man drove faster! Finally, that patrol officer nearly ran the guy off the road trying to get him to stop!”
“And when he did, he pulled him out of the car and he just reamed him out up one side and down the other (which reminds me, I need to use the phrase “up one side and down the other” more often…). He shouted, ‘WHY DIDN’T YOU STOP?’ And the guy looks at him and says, ‘Someone took my wife last week and I was afraid you were trying to bring her back.’ You see, he didn’t want the so-and-so who took his wife to bring her back. He didn’t want her either!”
Yes. I sat through two of these jokes with a huge smile on my face. I don’t know if it made his whole day or maybe just that moment, but I do know I didn’t get to read my book like I wanted. I also know that they took an almost ping-pong-ball-sized chunk out of my back today. But I did make good joices and I’m hoping and praying that karma is real and someday those joices come back to me in the form of
B. Free shoes
C. Longer legs
I’m not sure if this is how karma works, but I’ll let you know.