During Bob Nelson's April 1st comedy show at the Little River High School gym, Bob said, "Comedy = tragedy + distance."
Tragedy because something bad happened. Distance because it didn't happen to you.
"So if you tell a Polish joke," Nelson said, "You're laughing, but the Polish guy is upset--because you're talking about him--and because he doesn't understand the joke."
The day after the show, Sunday afternoon, was clean up. We put the chairs and stage away, cleaned up trash, and swept the gym floor.
My job was gathering up all the programs, chicken buckets, comment cards, pencils, and ticket stubs. I put it all on a four-wheel dolly and wheeled it outside.
When I got out the door, I could tell it was locked. "Darn, don't want to lock myself out and have to walk all the way around the building to get back in," I said to myself. So I reached into my pocket and pulled out my wallet to jam the door.
But in reaching for my wallet, I let go of the dolly. It was slowly moving toward the parking lot curb.
Ever have one of those moments where you have to decide, "Which tragedy will you choose?" In a few seconds, I had to decide: Do I lock myself out and rescue the run away dolly, or do I rescue the dolly and lock myself out?"
I decided, "That dolly will run off the curb and just stop. No harm." So I turned my back to the dolly and jammed the door.
Meanwhile, the dolly did fall over the curb--and then fell over. All the pencils, ticket stubs, programs, and comment cards fell out. An unwelcomed occurence, but still no harm.
Then, a 40 mph wind gust blew and blew again--and all the above mentioned material went blowing in the wind--down the parking lot and into the street.
While running and picking up stuff, I thought of what Bob said, "Comedy = tragedy + distance." OK, I confess, that wasn't my very first thought.
The wind kept blowing and for the next 40 minutes I frantically ran and tried to pick up everything. Put I didn't get it all. (The next day, I found one comment card a 1/2 mile away from where I first lost it).
As I was picking up stuff, my friend Milt came out of the school gym and said, "What are you doing?" And I told him, "Do you remember Bob's definition of comedy?"
As we finished cleaning up, I said to Milt, "You know, we lost a lot of ticket stubs to the wind. We'll never really know how many people came to the show." We eye-balled the crowd to be 700-750.
Milt said, "Yeah, but God knows. And He's really the only one who needs to."
That's a good definition of entrusting to God everything you do.