Haunted by Chicken Souls?
Ron, Why Ron? Bawk, Bawk
I Always Get My Jokes
Sometimes my dry sense of humor lands me in trouble. I have a tendency to think that everyone understands exactly what I’m saying, my exact intent and that they know when I am not being serious. Here is an example of how that flawed thinking backfired on me.
Many years ago, I was a Registered Nurse working in Intensive Care at a hospital in Indiana, I worked with the most wonderful nurses. We were like family. We all worked very hard and very often in very stressful situations. Our lunch times were reprieves from the intensity of Intensive Care. We didn't always get time to take a lunch break, but when we did get the chance to actually eat lunch, we tended to make the best of those lunches.
I am a vegetarian. I became a vegetarian back in the 1970s after reading a book about how resource intensive it was to raise animals for food, and the negative impact that was having on the earth.
As a vegetarian, I always selected vegetarian-friendly lunches at the hospital cafeteria. The cafeteria had a good potato soup that I often selected. One day while I was getting ready to put some potato soup on my tray, I suddenly wondered what exactly was in that soup. I asked the cafeteria worker how the potato soup was made. She said that it was made with chicken stock. I didn’t select the potato soup that day or any time after that.
That day at lunch, when I got to the table where my coworkers were sitting, I sat down and said, "Oh no. I've been eating the potato soup, and the cook just told me that it has chicken stock in it. Now those chicken souls will come back and haunt me."
Now let me be clear, I am a foodie, and when I eat I am very focused on my food. I really like food. So after I made that offhanded remark about being haunted by chicken souls, I didn't look up to see how that remark might have affected my coworkers. I had food to eat, and that was all that mattered. Looking back, I think that had I looked up, I might have seen some shocked and concerned expressions on the faces of my fellow Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurses, but at the time, I didn’t think anything about it. After all, I had food.
Maybe I am Mildly Crazy
A few days later while I was working, Kathy, one of my coworker friends, came up to me in Intensive Care and said in a serious tone with a concerned look on her face, "Ron, do you really think that if you eat chicken their souls will come back and haunt you?" I don't even think Kathy was eating lunch with us the day I said that. I laughed and said, "Oh God, Kathy, do you think I'm crazy?"
Immediately after I said that it occurred to me that of course, she thought that I was crazy! Why else would she ask me that? I was also sure that everyone in the ICU thought the same thing. And as if that was not bad enough, any news or gossip in a hospital travels faster than a speeding bullet, so I instantly knew that this story must have been heard on all 10 floors of the hospital and that everyone who worked there probably thought I was quite insane.
Ron, Ron, Bawk...
What a Goofball I Am
Instant panic shot through me. It felt like every nerve in my body was on alert. My first thought was, “Oh my gosh, how am I going to make people understand that I was just kidding? What can I possibly say to get them to know that I was only a joking?” It was like time stood still, but after a fraction of a second, I realized that no matter what I did or said, there was absolutely no way I could get people to believe that I was only kidding. So in my mind, I said to myself, there is nothing I can do. Just let it go. Let them think that I am crazy. So what if I am the crazy ICU nurse? I took a deep breath and went back to work.
It took that incident to make me realize that people don't always get my humor. After that experience, I think I was more careful about letting people know when I was joking. More often I would add, "Just kidding", or "Just joking" whenever I was not being serious. After all, better to play it safe and over-explain, than to go through that bizarre experience again.