Listening... and laughing... and learning

One of my favorite vacation adventures involves sitting at an outdoor cafe or coffee house and listening for the totally "odd" (read: bizarre/wacky) things people say to one another - they always make me laugh and I believe that laughing is often as good as prayer. Once, for example, while standing in line to use the restroom during the intermission at the movie, "Gandhi," I heard someone say (and this is a for God's sake honest quote): "I'm not White, but I eat that way." I looked everywhere for that voice, but alas, it was not to be found.

NOTE: I make it a point NOT to listen to sad or angry stuff because life is too short and, well, it is none of my business, right? At Dunkin' Donuts not long ago I heard one of our locals go on and on about Obama and his Arab backers - totally seriously - which reminded me that I can sometimes live a pretty elite existence with my head in the clouds (which is another good reason to sit and listen carefully.)

My current favorite, however, comes from a NY Times movie review which I had to say out loud to my wife - and which I wished I had originally come up with - because it caused us both to laugh out loud in chagrin at its brilliant irony (and it would have been too funny to have someone else overhear us cackling at our all too obvious humanity and failings!) In discussing a film about a young, troubled man we're told, "a simple truth about parents and children too rarely broached in American movies, particularly in an indie scene enslaved by juvenilla: There's more to your parents than you."

Sometimes you just have to stop, listen a bit... and laugh out loud. How did Bob Dylan put it: "It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry?"

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