Episode 36: Stress Management: “Don’t Get Mad, Get Funny”: Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant
Aristotle said, "The gods, too, are fond of a joke." Who can doubt the benefit of laughter? The famous writer, Norman Cousins, is said to have cured his cancer with laughter. What does every woman say she is looking for in a man? A good sense of humor. Today’s guest, Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant, author of Don’t Get Mad, Get Funny: A Light-Hearted Approach to Stress Management, believes it is her mission to help the world become saner and healthier through humor.
Jasheway-Bryant has written fifteen books. In 2003, she won the Erma Bombeck Award for Humor Writing, which probably explains why she has laugh lines on her face, her stomach, and oddly, her pancreas. She is a stress management and humor expert, health educator, comedy writer, and stand-up comic. Her mission, if she decides to accept it, is to help the world become healthier and more sane through laughter. Leigh Anne claims to be the kind of girl who, as Mae West said, “Climbed the ladder of success wrong by wrong.”
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David Debin: Well hello there and welcome to the Third Age, the show where people age 50 and over come to talk about -- guess what? Aging! I’m David Debin, the man from Hollywood and I’m here with my partner, the doctor, Peter Brill, M.D.
Peter Brill: I’m the doctor, Dr. Peter Brill. The doctor’s in. Five cents. Remember Lucy?
Debin: Do I remember? This is for people, not 70 and over Peter, 50 and older.
Brill: Remember. We guarantee if you listen to us you’ll never grow old.
Debin: Wow. Anyone who’s not listening is crazy.
Brill: Anyone who’s not listening is not listening.
Debin: Somebody told me that Aristotle said “the gods too are fond of a joke.” I don’t know if he actually said that…
Brill: I was there.
Debin: Dr. Brill told me that he was there, okay. Well, who can doubt the benefit of laughter? There’s a famous writer you probably know about, Norman Cousins who is said to have cured his cancer with laughter and today’s guest, Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant, is the author of Don’t Get Mad Get Funny: A Lighthearted Approach to Stress Management. And Leigh Anne believes it is her mission to help the world become saner and healthier through humor. It should be a very amusing show. It better be because if it’s not, either she’s not funny or we’re not funny.
Brill: She‘s probably not going to sell her book if she’s not funny.
Debin: That’s right. That’s right. And I hope she’s not listening to that part.
Brill: We have something that’s not funny that you wanted to talk about today.
Debin: Well, you know. Yeah. It’s not funny but I sure would like to make something funny out of it if I could. You know as we all…well, it could happen to you at any age but it just seems that as you older, like a car, you get some dings and dents in your body. That doesn’t mean that your spirit has dings and dents in it. Your emotional center may and your thought center may but not your spirit, where you live in joy and peace and all those wonderful things. And Peter has talked about, many times, the key to aging with joy and passion and purpose is to be able to differentiate your experience of life from your experience only of your body. You look in the mirror, “Oh! I’m old.” I look in the mirror and “I’m getting older.” But your spirit’s not getting older. It’s the same as it ever was. Same as it ever was. So I had last year a little bout with cancer and got through it. Did the treatments required and got through it and was sailing along until I had another examination last week and found out that it’s come back in some way. And, you know, you could get very upset about something like that and you could let it take over your life and the way you relate to people and your relationships. You could become quiet. You could become….you can just step back from dealing with people.
Brill: But to clarify something first. This is not a metastasis. This is not where the cancer goes from one part of the body to another. It’s right back in the same site where it was they just didn’t get all of it.
Debin: Well, no they got all of what was there but there’s a new…
Brill: But it’s essentially in the same little area.
Debin: So anyway it’s something that….
Brill: So how are you dealing with it? What’s the message for people that you want to bring forward? How are you dealing with it and how do you think people ought to deal with these kinds of things in life?
Debin: Well one thing I know I don’t what is for people to say, “Oh, I’m so sorry for you.” That’s the one thing I don’t want. I can understand that people who love me would feel that way but I don’t want anybody to really go out of their people to go expressing that or acting like that.
Brill: Or being nice to you.
Debin: Or being overly nice to me. They could give me money, that’s okay. I don’t want to feel like there’s something special going on here that people have to walk on eggshells about. So, how do I handle it? You know, very often I even make jokes about it, believe it or not.
Brill: But you have moments of terror, I’m sure, that go through you?
Debin: Moments of feeling fatigued and depressed. Not terror because I don’t feel that actually my life is threatened yet.
Brill: So you’re able to contain your fantasies so they don’t do what mine do sometimes which is “I stubbed my toe. Oh. My toe now is broken and it’ll get infected and my leg -- I’ll lose my leg.”
Debin: I’ve always been like that but through the last session I learned that that was completely wrong. So when I first got it I did start to feel like that but now I see that there’s a process to this, there’s a way of dealing with it, so I put that in its place and I don’t make that the dominant part of my life. And I think I can do it because I believe in…I don’t know, a higher power, I guess you’d call it, and that sustains me and sustains whatever is destiny for all of us. I believe in destiny and I believe in free will at the same time. And so if you believe in free will that means you can do whatever you think you need to do in any given situation no matter what the end is going to be. Because you can’t really change the end anyway.
Brill: You know what the best scientific research is showing now about human beings is that we exist in a kind of ballet, emotional ballet with each other, all the time. And that’s the part of that spiritual feeling is the energy that that ballet brings. And you can prove its effect, for example, men who join a group after their first heart attack have three times the survival rate as people who don’t. So some of that spiritual feeling is that energy that other people send you.
Debin: Well, that’s true. Other people send me tremendous amounts. As long as it’s not sympathy. I mean I don’t mind that I just don’t want to….
Brill: Emily. Should we give him some sympathy?
Debin: No. Please. No. I hate that. That’s morbid. Sympathy is morbid. I feel good. I feel great. I feel like I’m going on and that we’re going to deal with it. But guess what? Enough of that. Let’s talk about what really counts, which is the news story for the day. We all know that dating can be really difficult for Third Agers but here’s the type of dating to avoid. In Denver a convicted killer who may receive the death sentence in – death penalty—in Colorado has a MySpace page where he describes himself as “pretty harmless.” Here’s a name for you: Sir Mario Owens is serving a life sentence for murder. And he writes in his profile on MySpace “I was recently caught up in some BS. So your boy on lockdown in Canon City, Colorado”. Meaning, “so your boy”, me, is on lock down in Canon City, Colorado. I don’t get to the computer much so I’ll have my cousin update me on this MySpace joint when I’m not able to get to it. I’m really just here to find some new friends. I have a lot of time on my hands as you can tell so I just want someone to write back and forth. You know what I mean? It really doesn’t matter what it’s about. I just need something to take time off from here sometimes. You can think of it as being pen pals and whatnot. I’m pretty harmless.” So girls. The page does not specify his crimes or mention that he may face the death penalty.
Brill: Well there you have it. I’m surprised that you can actually have a MySpace thing from prison or you get access to the internet.
Debin: His cousin gave it to him. We have a special guest her today. Her name is Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant. She is a stress management and humor. She’s a health educator, a comedy writer and a stand-up comic. Boy. How can you do all those things? She has which is either a Masters of Public Health or Mistress of Public Humor. Did you write that Peter?
Jasheway-Bryant: No. It took a comedy writer to write that I guess.
Debin: It took a comedy reader to read it correctly, which I didn’t do. Her mission, if she decides to accept it, is to help the world become healthier and saner through laughter. Hi Leigh Anne.
Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant: Hi. How are you?
Debin: I’m good. And also I see here that you have 15 books that you’ve written and your new book is Don’t Get Mad Get Funny: A Lighthearted Approach to Stress Management.
Jasheway-Bryant: Actually, that’s my first book. My new book, which will be out in September, is Not Guilty by Reason of Menopause. So we have the whole pendulum swing of moods in there, from lighthearted to menopausal.
Debin: Not Guilty by Reason of Menopause. Okay. Do you also explain why it’s called menopause when it’s for women?
Jasheway-Bryant: Because they want to put men on pause. If we had that clicking device that Jim Carrey had in the movie Click that’s what we would be doing during menopause. And the children.
Debin: And you know something, I would be grateful as…
Jasheway-Bryant: To be put on pause?
Debin: Yes. As a husband of a menopausal, wonderful woman…
Jasheway-Bryant: Everybody would be happy. That would be win-win!
Debin: All I need to do actually, if I could use that clicker, I would turn into a big fan because it’s always about hot flashes, you know. Just turn into a giant fan.
Jasheway-Bryant: I know. My doctor put me on the patch but he didn’t give me the right instructions so I had to wear it over my left eye for a week. Pirate. Made people walk the plank. Which did help with the mood swings.
Debin: You know that we’re talking about and to the age 50 and up generation.
Jasheway-Bryant: That would be my generation.
Debin: Is that yours?
Jasheway-Bryant: That is mine. Although I only say that because I have documentation that proves that. I try to get by as 37 but I will be 52 this year.
Brill: Well then you count. You finally count. Tell us about your life. This is quite a journey from a Masters of Public Health to writing all these books. What has carried you along? Tell us a little bit about your life story.
Jasheway-Bryant: My life story is a series of very lovely accidents and I have just gone with the flow. .. I was working as a health educator for the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. That’s right. I am a native Texan, for 12 years and one of the things I was doing was teaching stress management or our faculty, staff and students and I discovered that if you took a group of people and you put them in a conference room right next to their office and asked them to visualize something peaceful, it didn’t work. Their phones are ringing and their in baskets were right there. And so I started looking for an alternative way to help them manage stress and at the same time I was getting a divorce from my first ex-husband, the evil one, and I was looking for a way to manage my own stress. And I went to a therapist twice —because that’s all my HMO would cover of course – and the therapist said “You know. You really haven’t had much fun in your life.” That was the truth because I kind of had to grow up really fast. When I was seven I became mom, basically. And so I randomly picked a class out of a community college catalog. And I just landed on comedy writing. I could have landed on Naked Cloth Dancing and that would have been a different career path, but I had never really been…that hadn’t been my thing. I wasn’t funny as a child. I wasn’t voted class clown in high school. I was voted Most Likely to Depress People. My role models were Sylvia Plath, Edgar Allen Poe. And so I took this class, it was like a light bulb went on and then about a year later I was on vacation from Houston to the Portland area in Oregon and I just kind of…my then husband and I were…don’t you like all the husbands?
Debin: This is not the evil one? This is the….
Jasheway-Bryant: No. This is the second one. The young one. We’ll refer to him as the young one.
Brill: He’s not underage, is he? Put him on the phone.
Brill: He’s speaking back. Put him on the phone.
Debin: Can we get the truth from him.
Jasheway-Bryant: And so we were driving down to get back to the airport and accidentally signed the papers on a house and had to move to Eugene. So basically it’s been nothing but a series of accidents but it’s worked out really well.
Debin: What made you think that laughter was going to help people who are in depressed conditions? You said stress management. Where did laughter come into this?
Jasheway-Bryant: Well, when I first started studying the impact…when the research was brand new, Norman Cousins new. And most people are familiar with Norman Cousins’ work and how he had a disease and he was told he was going to die in about six months and he just filled his life with the Marx Brothers and the Three Stooges and he ended up living for a long, long time and we really didn’t know the physiological mechanisms by which that happened but we knew that it did make people better. Well now, this is 15 or 20 years later, and we understand from the field of psycho-neuro-immunology just what happens when you laugh in terms of your cardio-pulmonary system gets better and your immune system is strengthened and your saliva creates an enzyme that helps protect you from upper respiratory infections, like colds and the flu. I tell people, if I spit on you accidentally just rub a little in, you won’t need a flu shot. So really, we know from the field of psycho-neuro-immunology that anything you say and do you actually has a positive effect on your health and well-being and that includes helping to manage your stress and emotional difficulties. The problem is, and you mentioned depression, basically I think of life and stress as a bag. We carry around a bag of stress and there’s three layers. It’s like a tiramisu bag. And at the bottom you have bowling bags and that’s where depression and anxiety come in. Those are the things where you’ve just been told you have a chronic disease or you’re in the middle of a divorce or you’re moving across the country, you have these really massive stressors that are really difficult to cope with while they’re fresh and new and sometimes, like if they’re childhood stressors, they’re still as emotionally raw your entire life. But fortunately, we don’t get many bowling balls in our lives. The next level is tennis balls and they often seem like bowling balls when they’re happening. If you’ve just hit a school bus, for example, it seems like a life altering, health endangering thing but it may turn out it there’s no one on the bus but the driver and you did nothing but dent your fender and you don’t even end up getting a ticket so it’s really not the same level of stress. But the thing…
Debin: Wait a second. You’re going to stay on tennis balls, right?
Debin: Oh. You were going to the next one? I was afraid to hear what the next one is going to be.
Jasheway-Bryant: They’re ping pong balls. They weigh almost nothing and they don’t belong in our bag but because they weigh nothing, we stuff them in willy-nilly. Our pants don’t fit and somebody says something that we misinterpret and we have a deadline and we forgot to TiVo our favorite show and we had an argument with our teenager about getting another piercing in their nose and we put those in the bag like they belong there and they don’t. And so laughter helps you prevent putting things in the bag that don’t go in there and helps them bounce out of the bag so you have more room for the things that really are worthwhile of your energy to carry them around. So that’s what laughter does. It’s not necessarily that most people can laugh off cancer and things like that, and many people can and it’s a very valuable tool, but for most people they would get a lot of benefit just learning to laugh when somebody cuts them off on the freeway or they can’t find a parking spot for their…
Brill: I’m going to test that right now because I’m going to cut you off for just a minute or two here, while we go to commercial. So we’re listening to the Third Age. Stay tuned. We’re going to have more humor. We’ll be right back.
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Debin: We’re back with the Third Age. I’m David Debin here with Dr. Peter Brill and we are talking to Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant who is the author Don’t Get Mad Get Funny: A Lighthearted Approach to Stress Management and most recently, about to come out, her new book, Not Guilty by Reason of Menopause. Welcome back Leigh Anne.
Jasheway-Bryant: Thank you so much.
Debin: We have two ladies here, our engineer and our associate producer, and we’re going to give you the opportunity to demonstrate to them how their particular tennis balls and ping pong balls -- they have each a specific situation, how they can get to laugh about it. So I’m going to introduce you first to Emily who you may have met on the phone when she was arranging your appearance on the show.
Emily: Hi Leigh Anne.
Jasheway-Bryant: Don’t you love these blind dates? What are you wearing?
Debin: Okay. Emily. Tell Leigh Anne what stresses you lately.
Emily: I had one problem which was finding a summer job. But actually I think this is more pertinent. I got a speeding ticket on my way from the bay area to Santa Barbara and then a week later I was just leaving my house and I was driving and I got pulled over and I didn’t know why and it was because I wasn’t wearing my seatbelt. So then I got a seatbelt ticket. And I did not think that that was funny. It’s $106 and I was just outside my house and I had just gotten a speeding ticket and so I was very angry at the time. I’m still, I’m over it, but I still don’t see…
Jasheway-Bryant: But you’re not. You’re not over it. I can tell you’re not over it. And see, so one of the most important things to be able to do is when those kinds of things happen, the problem is the reason they feel like bowling balls and they feel like things you can’t get over, is that that fight or flight mode kicks in. And when it has to deal with authority and somebody telling us we’re violating the law or violating the rules and they’re in our face and we don’t feel like we have any power whatsoever, it feels like a bowling ball, we kick into fight or flight, which means we’re thinking with our gut and not our brain. And you cannot change the fact that you are out that money. And that’s the problem, right? Is that it cost you a lot of money. Two of them in a row? Right? Is that the major issue at this point?
Debin: So she’s feeling like she’s marked for bad luck.
Emily: I feel like I have horrible luck.
Jasheway-Bryant: Maybe you should get that bull’s eye taken off of your car and you would feel better. So the first thing to do is start using your brain and the great thing about thinking comedically is that it replaces gut instinct thinking with brain related thinking. And so… Okay the last time…I’ve only gotten a speeding ticket twice and the last time I’m coming down a big hill and I don’t have my brakes on and it’s very steep so your car just naturally goes fast and I’m listening to Linda Ronstadt, so of course you want to go fast because I’m dancing, kind of, in the car. And I see the flashing red lights and I pull over and the cop says “Do you know how fast you were going? “ And I said, “Yes. I realize I was going way too fast and I’m very, very happy that you stopped me because somebody had to and better you than a big truck.” So the idea that you can be playful in the acknowledgement that you have actually done what you’re being accused of it releases some of the tension right away. But one of the things to do is if in your brain, you can say is this a bowling ball? Is my life or health or the life or health of my friends or loved ones in jeopardy? And when you’re getting the ticket, you’re actually probably taking your life or health out of jeopardy. If you were going too fast, if you were not wearing a seatbelt, you actually were in jeopardy. But by the cop giving you the tickets, he’s actually released you from some of the jeopardy. So actually you’ve converted from a bowling ball to a tennis ball right now and he’s doing you a favor. I’m saying “he” I’m assuming it could have been a “she.”
Brill: So start by saying thank you?
Jasheway-Bryant: Exactly. And let me tell you. Here’s the thing. If in every relationship you have with a person you can make them giggle and it’s not very hard. You notice when we first met on the phone and I said “Don’t you love these blind dates?” and you laughed? It relieves a lot of the interpersonal pressure and makes both of your jobs s easier. And when I say using your sense of humor to get the tennis balls and the bowling balls out, it’s not necessarily that you have to find those things funny before they are. There’s a saying in comedy that comedy equals tragedy plus time. Now getting a ticket is not really a tragedy. There are so many things that are much more tragic. But in your mind or in your gut you may think it is. And the thing that substitutes for time is exaggeration because it gives you distance between what really happened and what you’re exaggerating happened. So if you can come up with something funny that’s very exaggerated…
Debin: Oh I see. For instance, if you break your arm in a stupid thing at the time it’s not funny, there’s nothing funny about it. But if when you, with time and exaggeration, you look back and you see how silly it was, what you remember is how stupid you were and it was funny that you were so stupid.
Jasheway-Bryant: Well what you can do as you go into the office and you’re complaining and whining, which is one way of making that bowling ball continue to be heavy, instead of whining about it like it actually happened, say “Cop stopped me for what? For wearing a backless paper gown in rush hour traffic? Or for having an inflatable doll in the carpool lane.” If you make up something that isn’t the truth, as long as you’re not in front of the grand jury and have to be committed to something that’s more truthful, it allows you….and then you can tell the real story but because you made people laugh by exaggerating it lets you release a little of the tension and it reminds you that it’s not that tragic.
Brill: Now we have a much more tragic one for you. You ready, Lisa?
Debin: This is Lisa.
Lisa: I’m ready. Okay. So this morning I woke up and we were having our coffee, my husband and I and our dogs were outside and they were unusually quiet because I’ve got a beagle who howls. So I went outside to check on them and both our dogs were ripping apart this bag of plant fertilizer. Had white powder all over their mouths so we rushed them in and of course I am just as angry as you can imagine because my husband left it out and he’s pulling the dog in and we’re trying to get them to drink water or eat and we called, actually the company to see exactly what we should do and they didn’t answer. So I’m sitting here at the station, worried about my dogs and whether or not we’re going to have to rush them in with some neurological problem.
Brill: You’re worried about whether they’re going to turn into a plant?
Lisa: I’m worried about how big they’re going to grow.
Debin: Okay. Let’s get some humor into this.
Jasheway-Bryant: Okay. You did call poison control, right?
Lisa: No actually, my husband didn’t. He said, “No. I’m going to call the company.” So I’m here at work and wondering how my dogs are.
Jasheway-Bryant: So the first thing you do is call poison control and that’s not funny but that’s a way to feel better because they will actually tell you what you should have done.
Lisa: What I should have done? Yeah, yeah. Let’s not talk in past tenses here.
Brill: She just fainted.
Jasheway-Bryant: And what you should have done first this morning but you probably didn’t do it. And you got me because I’m a big dog person. In fact, I have my door closed because I have three Weiner dogs who eat everything.
Lisa: You didn’t want them to listen.
Jasheway-Bryant: You see, this is actually, while it’s happening, a bowling ball, because it is the life or health of your loved ones because you love those dogs and you now hate your husband. For a while. So the idea is that it is very difficult, almost impossible, for most people who have not been training for a long time to see humor while something happens to find anything funny. The goal is that if you have been releasing the smaller balls out of your bag -- see, if we keep putting balls and balls and balls into our bag it gets very heavy and if we have to stuff the bowling ball of two dogs getting into a bag of fertilizer into an already full bag, we emotionally or physically fall apart. The fact that you’re holding it together somewhat tells me that you probably have been doing a pretty good job of letting some of the balls out of the bag…
Debin: Let me interrupt here because we’re going to have to take a break. But I just want to me remind our listeners who have tuned in before the explanation of what all these balls were… we want you to know we will come back and we’ll explain exactly what the balls are that we’re talking about.
Jasheway-Bryant: And you’ll call poison control Lisa, while we’re off the air.
Lisa: I’m going to call my husband and have him do it during the break.
Brill: All right. We’re going to be right back.
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Debin: We are back with the Third Age. We’re laughing it up here in the studio. I’m David Debin. I’m here with Dr. Brill, Dr. Peter Brill and our Associate Producer Emily [xxxx] and Lisa Henley.
Brill: We’ve had a lot of funny things happen here today. We’ve had poisoned dogs and speeding tickets. It’s been really funny.
Debin: The funniest thing is we’re talking to Leigh Anne Jasheway-Bryant whose book is called Not Guilty by Reason of Menopause.
Brill: But it’s not out yet so you have to go buy her first book in the interim while you’re waiting for it, which is Don’t Get Mad Get Funny.
Jasheway-Bryant: Or any of the 13 books in between. Those are the bookends.
Debin: We don’t have enough time to list all those books.
Brill: Where can they find them?
Jasheway-Bryant: Anywhere. Amazon.com. My website, accidentalcomic.com. No hyphen because my name is hyphenated so I don’t need another hyphen.
Debin: You have a lot of names. Do you ever get tired of listening to all those names? Leigh Anne Jasheway Bryant.
Jasheway-Bryant: Some people collect Elvis memorabilia, I collect hyphens.
Brill: If you keep marrying this way, you’re going to end up with a lot of names.
Debin: You’re not married to Kobe Bryant, are you?
Jasheway-Bryant: No. Now that would not be funny.
Brill: Anyway, I was going to ask you a question. In this class it was life transforming for you. We work with a lot of people who want to have their life transformed in one way or another. So what was the secret that you learned there, or secrets?
Jasheway-Bryant: Well you know what’s interesting is the class wasn’t a really good class it was just that I never in my life understood that I had the power to choose how I saw what happened to me. That was the experience. That everything that happens is your choice how you look at it. Somebody can die who’s close to you and you can choose to look back at the funny moments and believe me, this has happened so many times in my life, it’s really the only way you have power over what happens to you in life is to choose to control your perspective. And that’s what I learned in that class. And subsequently, because I’m a believer in giving back, for the past 14 years I’ve been teaching a comedy writing class to help people look at all the negative things that have happened in their lives, whether it’s their dogs getting in the fertilizer…sorry…my phone occasionally does weird and random things…
Brill: It’s the government listening in on your conversation.
Jasheway-Bryant: It is. And it will happen again because they always...Twice. There, that was the second one. So I teach a class that allows them to write their lives as comedy because I really think that that idea that we can control your perspective... And if you go one further and say “what’s funny about this?” Because everything has an element of humor but we’ve been told “Grow up. Get serious. Act your age. That’s not funny. Behave like a professional.” And really that’s about the worst advice you can give everybody because that just makes us angry and annoyed with one another.
Brill: That’s for sure. Now do you teach this class online or do you teach it at a local college?
Jasheway-Bryant: I teach it at a local community college. I also do summer intensive workshops. And I teach at a variety of writing workshops across the country, like at the Erma Bombeck Writers Conference, every other year.
Brill: So how do people get a list of this? Where do they go?
Jasheway-Bryant: Really, the best thing to do is go to my website, accidentalcomic.com, and you will see there is a calendar of events page and you can look there and see what’s going on and see if it’s something that you might want to do. But I also do interactive consulting both on phone and via email. So if you’re trying to find more humor in your life, if you’re trying to write a memoir that releases some of the tension about what’s happened in your life by using some humor, I can help with that.
Brill: What a great idea. That is a fabulous service. What a great idea.
Jasheway-Bryant: Well thank you. It’s been so helpful for me to look back and say, “You know. It’s not all that bad, if you look at everything.” I’m very mathematically oriented. I was on the slide rule team in high school and I know I’m dating myself….
Brill: Listen. I had a circular slide rule.
Jasheway-Bryant: Ooooo. You were nerdier than I am.
Brill: In high school I was.
Jasheway-Bryant: So if you think of life as being a straight line and you’re going along and you expect things to happen along a straight line and they don’t. It goes off in another direction and right there where the straight line meets the other line is where you have to make a decision about how you look at things. And that happens so many times during the day. You think you’re going to park here, you think this is going to happen at work, your think this hair is going to turn out this color. And life takes a skewed turn and you get to choose at that point. And if you can choose to say “What’s funny about this?” Can I tell a real short story?
Brill: Yeah. Looks like we’re not going to get an environmental call this week.
Jasheway-Bryant: So I’m driving across the mountains in Oregon to do a presentation for the Librarians Association of Oregon and there are not enough public bathrooms. But there are plenty of logging roads. So when I had to heed the call of nature I did so out in nature, up against the tree, got back in my car and there was some kind of weird itching sensation and I didn’t have time to check it out so I drove all the way in. I’m standing in a buffet line and as the line moves forward, while I’m talking to these librarians, a giant piece of bark falls out of the back of my pants and lands on the floor and we’re all standing there staring at it and they have no idea what it is. And you know, this is a point where you get to make a decision.
Brill: You’ve got to make a joke about that.
Jasheway-Bryant: Right. Most people would have just been humiliated. I simply looked up and said, “Thank Heavens. Now if I could just get the squirrel out of my underwear.” Not only did it relieve my tension but they were tense because they didn’t know what to say either.
Debin: I think I would have kicked it under the table. I don’t think I’d had something on hand to say.
Jasheway-Bryant: But if you can do that, every time something humiliating… Do you know that 60% plus of our stresses as human beings are related to our ego? We’re simply worried about what other people think about us and mostly they’re thinking about themselves. So if we can let go of…those are what I call the ping pong balls. They’re ego-related stresses…
Debin: It’s exactly right. That’s when you walk into a restaurant and you have to walk to the back table and you’re so self-conscious about there’s people looking at you as you walk by and you’re self-conscious and nobody really is really looking at you and you’re so…
Brill: I think they’re all admiring me. That’s wrong?
Debin: I’m sorry to break it to you.
Brill: Oh my God!
Jasheway-Bryant: But if you can let all the ego stresses go then your bag is lighter so you have more energy to carry it around and you have more room in it to fit in the real things that are worthy of stressing out about.
Brill: Well, Leigh Anne I want to thank you so much. You’ve got great advice. And to confirm what you’re saying, people live about seven to eight years longer by following your advice and by being positive about life. And you’ve certainly brought a wonderful spirit to this today. So thank you for being on the show.
Jasheway-Bryant: Well thank you for having me. It’s been delightful.
Brill: We’ll be right back.
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Debin: We’re back with the Third Age. This is David Debin with Peter Brill. For those of you dog lovers who were listening to the problem that Lisa expressed in terms of having stress about the dogs who swallowed the fertilizer we are now going to have Lisa ask her husband, what was the result.
Brill: And they haven’t talked. This is live, going on right now. This is the fun part of the show.
Lisa: Hey honey. How’s it going?
Husband: Pretty good.
Lisa: You thought this would be a visual assessment question, didn’t you?
Husband: Had no idea.
Lisa: Well, we’ve got two, actually two – actually three people in here, and everyone else who’s listening, wondering “are the dogs alive?”
Husband: They are alive. They’re behaving very much like dogs.
Lisa: So they’re not foaming at the mouth?
Husband: Not foaming. Not twitching.
Debin: What did you do?
Husband: Did nothing other than to observe them and at Lisa’s suggestion making sure they have plenty of water to drink.
Lisa: So it’s gone through their system?
Husband: Well, we can hope so.
Brill: Anyway, we had a guest today who suggested that just to check it out, that’s the place to call.
Husband: Do we a number for them?
Lisa: Just google it.
Husband: Oh. Okay. Because I did try to contact the manufacturer….
Brill: Poison control is better because they’ll just take the chemicals in it and tell you what it’ll do.
Debin: This is the concern of an actual doctor who is not having fun, who’s actually telling you what to do.
Brill: But we used this as something that was funny on the air, if you can believe that.
Husband: I missed it.
Brill: Well, you need to listen to the show.
Lisa: We’ll talk to you later. Bye babe.
Debin: That was great. Thanks. Thank you. How much time do we have?
Lisa: We got four minutes.
Brill: No. No.
Debin: Don’t look at that clock. That clock’s not right.
Lisa: Four and a half minutes.
Debin: I want to tell Emily so she doesn’t feel so bad about getting a ticket from a policeman. A good friend of my wife’s was going to work and she’s in her car alone and she was on her way to work and there was a lot of traffic so it was slow moving and so as she going on she was fixing her makeup and stuff and then she kept going and all of a sudden, the lights, cop lights, red and blue or whatever, flashing red lights says. They pull up, the cop comes up to the car and he says, “I am giving you a ticket for farting in your car.” And she couldn’t believe…first of all how could he hear her? Second of all, is that against the law to fart in your car? I don’t know. Well it turns out that he was talking about – and this is a true story, f-a-h-r-d-i-n-g. Fahrding. When you farhd it’s to apply cosmetics. So she was literally farhding in her car and that is against the law. Particularly for men, don’t farhd in your car because you don’t want to apply cosmetics to your face.
Emily: You don’t want that on your record.
Brill: Can you imagine on your resume if you had to list [xxxxx]
Debin: Take it from me. It’s a word. You can look it up. I did in the dictionary, immediately. f-a-h-r-d.
Brill: I believe you.
Debin: So we have two minutes.