Friday, September 14, 2012

How to Feel More Comfortable?? LAUGH!!

Today's blog is by special guest blogger, Mike Berkson, one of the two stars in the stage performance of Handicap This! which is coming to Owensboro, KY on Thursday, September 20 at the Riverpark Center. After his birth, the doctor told Mike's parents that Mike would never speak, walk or think like a normal child. By age three, Mike spoke more words than his "able-bodied" twin brother. Mike shares that he and his mom returned to that doctor, "and at her instruction, I said to him: 'Quit your day job.'" Enjoy!

I have trained myself to be able to laugh off mistakes, both by myself and other people. I have a theory that people are afraid to make a mistake around me because they don’t know how I am going to react to them. So, it is more about me and less about them. I want people to feel comfortable in these types of situations for two reasons:

1) It’s okay to make a mistake.
2) More importantly, it is more than okay to react with humor.

Being able to look at situations with a sense of humor decreases the awkwardness and can lead to a greater understanding of the parties involved. Unfortunately, this phenomenon of mutual laughter almost never happens. I am happy to say, however, that it did happen to me recently and it was nice to see someone laugh at their mistake.

I went to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist because I have been experiencing congestion, coughing, as well as clogged ears. The doctor had to numb the inside of my nose in order to stick a microscope up to see what was going on. After he sprayed my nose, there was definitely some leakage (for lack of a better term). He saw this and immediately offered me a Kleenex. He held it out in such a way for me to take it. Problem. I can’t reach or grab anything let alone a Kleenex. Anyone looking at me can tell that my arms don’t move and my hands don’t grab. There was about a 3 second gap before he realized I would not be able to grab the Kleenex. Most people would say, “I’m really sorry,” or they wouldn’t say anything at all. They would shrug it off and look embarrassed and it would be awkward for the rest of the interaction. This particular fellow looked at me and said, “Man, am I a jackass!” We all looked at each other and laughter ensued. I wasn’t mad at him for offering me the Kleenex, nor was I offended. People make mistakes and that is ok. I know this might seem small, but to me it was a pretty big deal considering that this rarely happens. It left me with a good feeling in 2 ways:

1) I found someone willing to use humor.
2) There is hope out there for more people to act like this.

So remember, regardless of a person’s handicap, never underestimate the power of laughter to ease tension and bring people closer together. That’s what we try to do each and every time we perform.

Handicap This!


Visit for more information about Mike and Tim's show.

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