Our lives are full of falls. And you could even take the view that our life is nothing but one big fall. We are in free fall from the time we are shoved from the womb, to our last hurrah in the funeral parlor viewing room. Either way, the important issue is how we invest our time in midair and deal with that sudden stop at the end.
In any self-respecting self-help book, the author would already be selling you on “Power of the Plunge,” the “Import of the Impact” and the “Renewal of the Rebound.” This ain’t one of those kind of books. And I for one, am sick of those kind of books. Don’t get me wrong, I love those stories of people who have overcome unbelievable adversity. I marvel and appreciate their courage. I like to think that if confronted by similar obstacles, I too, would summon up the strength of character to persevere with a positive attitude.
The problem is that most folks are not faced with those dramatic dives that make the network news. Most of our pratfalls are more of the “America’s Funniest Home Video” variety. While these are amusing from a spectator standpoint, they are a little tougher to enjoy as an active participant. (By the way, if you ever get video of a guy slipping off his roof while simultaneously getting smacked in the crotch by a cat swung by his precocious five year old – that is a sure fire ten grand on “America’s Funniest.”)
This book focuses on the small falls that we take on a daily basis. Whether they are car breakdowns, bad movies or just the pain of reminiscing about how badly we screwed up our college years. Now some critics might point out that this kind of minutia does not deserve to be included the category of “falls”. They are more precisely “annoyances.” That may be true, but after you experience the frustration of trying to work “Annoyances” into a book title, I think you will cut me some slack.
So what is this book’s groundbreaking approach to surviving our daily deluge? I present “The Malarkey Method”, an amazing variation on an old truth. Simply stated: “What doesn’t kill us makes for a good story. And what does kill us, probably makes for a good story too. We’re just not the one who gets to tell it.”
The Malarkey Method is the application of the idea that all tragedies can be turned around if we will just take the time to do two things: Find the “funny” in the event and blame other people. This is a powerful combination that intertwines two valuable coping skills to form the bungee cord that pulls us up, just short of annihilation. We achieve that exhilarating joy of laughter and the satisfaction of finger pointing.
It should be noted that this method is not perfect. On rare occasions, bungee cords do snap or untie or fail. And that’s okay, too. Everyone will be amazed as you descend supported only by a big grin and seriously misplaced confidence. By the time you realize the gravity of your situation, the worst part will be over.
I once saw a video of bungee jump. The guy was dropping off a platform above a lake. The bungee cord came undone from the top. Everybody watching knew this guy was in trouble. The guy, of course, had no clue. I am sure he was thinking right to the end, “Boy, these guys really get you close to the water before they pull you up! Man, I should start feeling that gentle tug skyward any second now! Whew, that water is coming really fast, I bet that… SPLASH.”
That is the way I want to live my life. Happy. Hopeful. And Hopelessly Deluded.