Life lessons from grandad’s first joke
Look at this cutie. Please, don’t be fooled by his small frame and charming smile. Dude will talk your freakin ear off if you get within a meter radius of him.
All my life, grandad has always seemed to have about a billion things that he’s wanted to share. If given the chance, he would sit you down for 1, 2, maybe 3 hours to tell you about war, love, God, ISIS. You name it, the guy’s got it covered. I get where he’s coming from though. The guy has definitely lived life. From surviving the Khmer Rouge(Cambodia’s version of the Holocaust) and escaping to Australia with the fam, to starting businesses and battling depression. You name it. He’s been through it all. All that life knowledge has to go somewhere right?
So last week when I was sitting on the train with him on the way into the city, as usual, he was trying to tell me something deep about life. “Again?” I thought. It then occurred to me, in the 24 years that I’ve known him, he’s never cracked a joke! Surely at 73 years of age, he’d have some good jokes in his repertoire. So when I asked him to tell me a joke, he seemed pretty apprehensive at first, saying that it wasn't his style and that it wasn’t the way he wants to teach people about life. However, after a bit of gentle nudging, he obliged and this is what he said:
“Two Aussies walk into a bar in England to have some drinks. After a couple, they get drunk and decide to walk out. Having no idea where they were, the two drunkards decided to ask someone for directions on how to get back to their hotel.
“Where are we?” they ask.
Now, it just so happened that the person they had walked up to was a high ranking officer in the navy. Dressed in uniform, medals of rank on chest, he was clearly someone used to being treated with respect. So you can imagine his outrage when the two Aussies regarded him so casually.
“Do you know who I am!?” he asked them.
Aussies look at each other: “Well we’re f*cked.. we don’t know where we are, and he doesn’t know who he is..”
What do you guys think the take away from this joke is? I think, at the heart of it, the simplest lesson is this.
Something was clearly wrong with the interaction between the Aussies and the Navy officer. They were too caught up in their own world, too self-absorbed in their own needs that they didn’t pay attention to the needs of the other.
Try this. The next time you’re having a chat to your mum, a close friend, a colleague or a complete stranger, ask yourself this: Am I listening? What is he/she trying to say to me? What’s important to them? How can I help? Or, do I only care about myself because the world revolves around me ;-)