“To me there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two – spend some time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think, and cry, that’s a heck of a day.”
Jim “Jimmy V” Valvano
“If you laugh, think, and cry, that’s a heck of a day.” Jim Valvano was on to something when he uttered these words in a speech at ESPN’s Espy Awards back in 1993 while accepting the Arthur Ashe Courage and Humanitarian Award. The fact that he was fighting a losing battle against bone cancer made his entire “Don’t Give Up… Don’t Ever Give Up” speech even more poignant. (I’ve always admired men and women who smile in the face of their enemy.) Of course I’ve heard the speech before but this morning while driving to the cotton patch it was replayed again on ESPN as a part of their yearly, day-long telethon to raise money for the Jimmy V Foundation.
When I heard the snippet above about laughing, thinking, and crying it occurred to me that according to Coach Valvano’s mantra I’m 2 for 3 on a day to day basis. So if life were a series of baseball games and I went 2 for 3 at the plate for my career I would be the greatest hitter ever… but baseball ain’t life.
I have no issues whatsoever laughing. Actually the fact that I like to laugh so much, coupled with my jacked-up sense of humor often makes me question my quasi-stoic personality. (Or I could just be a complete maniac.) Every day I can and I will find something that will make me crack up. I simply love to laugh. I welcome laughter, it helps me succeed daily.
I’m a relatively bright guy most of the time (Mentally Moneypenny, not complexion wise. In this case anyway.) and I have the tendency to over think things from time to time. I think about silly things. Funny things. I also conjure up stories and characters that are quickly jotted down. I also reflect on my life pretty much all of the time and I have to stop myself from becoming obsessive and thinking about things that I can do nothing about. So before its too late, I force myself to relax and get back on task.
It’s the crying part of the Valvano trifecta that always snags me. As I’ve said here before I don’t cry much or very often. Between 1996 and 2007 I cried in sadness approximately four times. (I’ve laughed to the point of shedding tears often but this ain’t that.) I’m still not sure what my hang up with crying is but things have got to be really bad for me to go there. I last cried back in February when I found out about my mom’s breast cancer. After trying not to deal with the issue I broke down around 9:30 on a Friday night in a Bi-Lo parking lot after I just copped ice cream and a birthday cake for Moneypenny.[i]
I haven’t shed a damn tear since and still that’s not even close to normal. So if I follow Jimmy V’s advice a whole third of my daily goals would be missing. Depending on what is being measured an entire third of a sum can substantiate a lot or a little. When that third represents someone’s emotional well-being it is a whole lot. As it stands I’ve misplaced a piece of myself somewhere that needs to be found and utilized because impending doom shouldn’t be the only thing that drives a grown man to tears.
Vaya con Dios.
The Temptations– Ball Of Confusion (That’s What The World Is Today)
[i] There’s nothing odd about a grown-a** man freaking out in a dark parking lot at night. Nope. Luckily a cop didn’t drive by and think I was a methhead or something.