Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Good Idea

A Good Idea
Rob Watson

Life has a way of trapping us into awkward situations. Looking ahead and good planning can go a long way in reducing these situations. Nothing ever eliminates them. Over time one can build up a tool kit for dealing with them... a joke, a smile, a jesture.

A college professor with a PhD had the nick name "Happy". He preferred to be called that. He was uncomfortable when addressed as "Doctor". People who were not familiar with the good doctor, beyond his title, would call him that on first addressing him. He would stick his finger up his nose as if digging for a booger, then, with finger still in his nose, look at the person and reply "Yeeesssss". Perhaps not the most graceful tool, but it had the desired effect.

At large gatherings, where long lists of presentations and honors are announced, the first guy being awarded "Dog Catcher of the Year". gets a great hand. The 20th person, being awarded "Humanitarian of the Year" gets a smattering of recognition. Applause always seems to dwindle after five or six awards. One MC limited the applause to three claps per person.

Every awards dinner has a built-in awkward moment. Dinner is over. Everyone is chatting with their neighbor, and the host needs to get everyone's attention to move on, Some ding on a glass with a spoon.  Some clear their throat into the microphone. Some just start talking. And, of course, the person near you just has to finish his story.

Today, attending an area wide church event, I encountered a pleasant, graceful attention getting device. The new Bishop was about to speak. He began to sing, softly at first, a familiar church hymn. As the people began to catch on, he sang louder. The assembly joined in until everyone was singing. The persistent talkers had to join as well. I could do that myself... should I get to be bishop.

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