Also: “Just say ‘Yes.’”
My 12yo son and I went to Trader Joe’s yesterday to stock up on English muffins and frozen strawberries. A weekly event.
As we scurried through the hot parking lot toward the icy interior of the store, a woman I had noticed as I pulled into my spot – who seemed as if she was looking for someone – stopped me and asked if I wanted to hear a joke.
Let me just say right here that I am suspicious of overtly friendly people. When I flew to the Midwest for the first time for my first job out of college, it took me a while to realize that the folks behind the ticket counter at the airport in Minneapolis didn’t actually know my fellow passengers. I thought by the way they asked, “How are you doing?” that they’d recently spent time together. No, they were actually just being friendly. They were being nice to strangers.
It was confusing to someone who’d lived her whole life in New Jersey.
And recently, on a trip to the middle of Pennsylvania, the kids and I stopped to eat lunch at a place called Moe’s – a Chipotle-kind of place – where each time a person walks through the door all the workers behind the counter stop to shout enthusiastically, “Welcome to Moe’s!”
I would never eat there again.
The woman was a good 20 years my senior – with her grey hair pulled back and blue eyes bright behind her eyeglasses – and didn’t come off as nuts. She didn’t look like she was going to spit at me or push me down, right there in the Trader Joe’s parking lot (but sidebar: why do weird things always happen to me at Trader Joe’s?). So, against my better judgment, I said, “Of course.”
She looked over at my son, who had continued walking towards the store and stopped to eye her warily, and motioned him over telling him, “You’ll like this, too.”
And then she dove right in.
A mushroom goes to see his psychiatrist and lies down on the couch and tells him he’s been feeling down in the dumps.
‘I don’t know,’ the mushroom says, ‘I just haven’t been feeling very happy lately.’
The doctor looks the mushroom up and down and asks, ‘What’s the problem? You seem like a fun guy.’
The woman stopped and waited until I started to laugh and a smile spread across her face as she realized I got it. Fungi. My son shook his head smiling, too.
“Isn’t that great?” she asked, and then she turned and began walking through the parking lot and – presumably – towards her car.
Or maybe she needed to get ready for her next show.
At any rate, the moral of this story is that if anyone ever stops you in a parking lot and asks if you want to hear a joke, your only response – in the immortal words of Amy Poehler – should be: Yes, please.
It will make your day.
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