Funny Guy

On one of my international trips, I was in the car with three or four young men when one of them asked me a question: "Dr. Screen Shot 2022-06-15 at 7.45.16 AMStanko," he said, "I probably won't ever get another chance to be with you like this. I like to be in front of people and make them laugh. You do that so well. Can you share any secrets with me?" I am often asked questions about how I do what I do, so I had an answer ready. I thought I would share with you what I told him.


1.  Accept who you are. I've always made people laugh and I love itmost of the time. There were occasions, however, when I abused and misused humor to make people look silly. I can remember one night when I asked the Lord to take away my humor because I had used it incorrectly. However, I sensed that God had no intention of taking it away; He wanted to teach me how to use it properly.

Many times since then I have been able to use my humor to de-fuse sensitive situations. My humor has enhanced my ability to speak and write. In other words, being funny is who I am. The first step to using it properly was to accept it as a gift. 

2.  Develop who you are. Once I accepted the fact that being humorous is part of who I am, I then set out to make my humor effective. I studied other humorous people. I watched their routines, studying what worked and what didn't.  I noticed that people did not laugh at everything they said, yet they were still considered comics. 

I've still made lots of mistakes and I've said and written many things that weren't funny. Yet I keep working at it, studying how I can be better at what I do and who I am. More often than not, I will hear feedback that says, "You should be a stand-up comic." I laugh and respond, "I already am!"

3.  Work at who you are. The final thing I said to the young man in the car surprised him. I told him that after I accepted who I who and began to develop my skill, I then had to work at being funny. I think a lot about what to say in certain situations.  I may even go back and reconsider, "What could or should I have said in that situation that may have been funny?" When I am an emcee or a speaker, I try to plan scenarios that could be funny before I go on, even if I'm working with another person. 

However, much of what I do is spontaneous; I'm not a good joke teller. Yet I have found the more work I do to make people laugh, the more opportunities present themselves for me to be humorous. 


So there you have my three secrets of humor, and they really aren't so secret. They apply to almost any gift or talent you may have.  Humor may not be your gift.  I know, however, that you do have one, and that you may be looking past it or doing nothing with it. So, your assignment is to take these three tips and apply them to your own life and work.   

For instance, are you a good cook? If so, then are you applying these three principles to your life in the kitchen?  Are you taking cooking lessons?  Giving lessons? Writing cookbooks? Teaching others to cook?

Creativity, productivity and purpose aren't magical concepts. They require a lot of work on your part, not only to find them, but to fulfill and express them.  I urge you to do your part so that the world can enjoy you to the fullest.  As you work on your gifts, I promise to continue to work on my ability to make people laugh.

Very Interesting Stuff?

My brother-in-law sent me an email with the following facts in it. I thought I would pass it on. It's got a lot of American interest facts, but my readers around the world may learn something as they read. I'm not sure it's all true, but it is all interesting, sort of -- at least to me. You can't ever say you don't learn anything when you read this blog!

In the 1400's a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have 'the rule of thumb'
Many years ago in Scotland , a new game was invented. It was ruled 'Gentlemen Only...Ladies Forbidden'...and thus the word GOLF entered into the English language.
The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and Wilma Flintstone.
Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the U.S. Treasury.
Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.
Coca-Cola was originally green.
It is impossible to lick your elbow.
The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work:
The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28% (now get this...)
The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%
The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $ 16,400
The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour: 61,000
Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
The first novel ever written on a typewriter:
Tom Sawyer.
The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.
Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades - King David
Hearts - Charlemagne
Clubs -Alexander, the Great
Diamonds - Julius Caesar
111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
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If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature wasn't added until 5 years later.
Q. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what?
A. Their birthplace
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Q. Most boat owners name their boats. What is the most popular boat name requested?
A. Obsession
Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you would find the letter 'A'?
A. One thousand
Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser printers all have in common?
A. All were invented by women.
Q. What is the only food that doesn't spoil?
A. Honey
Q. Which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year?
A. Father's Day
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In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on. Hence the phrase......... 'goodnight, sleep tight.'
It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based, this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.
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In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts... So in old England , when customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them 'Mind your pints and quarts, and settle down.' It's where we get the phrase 'mind your P's and Q's'
Many years ago in England , pub frequenters had a whistle baked into the rim, or handle, of their ceramic cups. When they needed a refill, they used the whistle to get some service. 'Wet your whistle' is the phrase inspired by this practice.
At least 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow!
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Don't delete this just because it looks weird. Believe it or not, you can read it.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh?

A Good Laugh

I usually don't pass on things that are sent to me, but this one makes me laugh every time I listen. It's an audio recording of a man who witnessed a car accident while he was talking to his friend on the phone. He turned news commentator and comedienne as he described what he saw. You can listen here.

Then my friend, Bill, sent me a link that shows all the weird "Christian" Jesus products that can be found on today's market. You may laugh at this one or you may shake your head and pray, "God, help us!"

Mother Stanko Goes Shopping

I have written about my 89-year-old mother in past posts to this site.  Mother Stanko is in reasonably good health but doesn't drive.  So my sister (most of the time) and I (some of the time) have to take her around to handle her basic errands like doctors visits, shopping and hair appointments.  This week I gave my sister a break and took my mother shopping.

We almost always go to a grocery chain called Giant Eagle.  No, this isn't a pet store or aviary but the actual name of a grocery store.  Giant Eagle has been around this area for as long as I can remember and has done a good job keeping up with the times. Their new mega stores are so big that if you buy green bananas at one end of the store, they are yellow by the time you check out.  Shopping there is my mother's main means of exercise, so we just walk and walk in search of the things we need.

My mother did all the shopping as a child for her family of thirteen.  Her family was poor and my mother did her best to make their limited resources go as far as possible.  This is why my mother still treats any grocery store as a foreign army to be conquered or at least a place where she can secure enough concessions and victories (while taking no prisoners) to consider her shopping expedition a success.

We started out this week in the produce section.  I thought it odd that no workers were present while we were there, but then I spotted them huddled behind the cabbage, hiding from my mother's presence.  And she was indeed looking to engage someone to inform them that their prices (like they have anything to do with the prices) are too high.  When my mother buys green beans, just to give you an idea, she picks them out one at a time, not by the handful.  She refused to buy broccoli this week because it was "too yellow."  (It looked green to me.)  And she squeezed 35 (I counted) heads of lettuce before she identified the anointed one that was privileged to be the centerpiece for her next salad.

From there, we went to the candy aisle because it's time to stock up on Easter candy.  We waded through the huge selection to find the jelly beans that were on sale.  Before we made our final selection, however, my mother squeezed them to see which bag had the softest beans.  She reluctantly made her choice, feeling somewhat compelled to buy the kind we did because we had a coupon for an additional 50 cents off.

From there, it was off to get bread and eggs (but first, it was time to change the tires on our cart, since we had pushed it many miles by then).  My mother opens each carton of eggs, nudging every egg to see if they stick to the carton.  If they don't move, it means they are cracked and promptly returned for some other unsuspecting shopper to secure.  (This one I don't get; isn't it the fate of every egg purchased to be cracked eventually?  So what if it happens a little prematurely in the store?)

The bread, ah yes, the bread.  The bread we eventually choose must be so soft that, when squeezed, it deforms, never to return to its original shape.  When that happens, my mother cooly returns that loaf and chooses another.  We are still looking for the perfect loaf, sort of like a surfer hunts for the perfect wave.  But no bread will grace our toaster or sandwich that doesn't pass multiple inspections and tests. 

Am I making fun of my mother?  Not at all.  It's fascinating to me that her shopping habits and philosophy were shaped more than 80 years ago and she hasn't changed.  That certainly is a testimony to the power of our childhood experiences to shape our behavior even into our senior years--for good or bad.

I don't know how many years my mother has remaining or how many more times I will be able to take her shopping. So what do I care if she squeezes every tomato in the Giant Eagle chain?  I want to try and make her shopping excursions enjoyable, especially since they are the extent of her social outings these days.  So go ahead, Mom, take all the time you need to secure what it is that you want.  Just don't ask me to switch some of the potatoes in one bag for those nicer ones in the other bag.  I think that's going a little bit too far.

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