I Laughed My Ass Off at Safeway: What Do Bob Denver and Erik Estrada Have in Common?

I was just thinking yesterday that I haven’t laughed enough recently. Maybe that thought is what set in motion the events of today.

The average adult laughs 15 times a day; the average child, more than 400 times. –Martha Beck https://marthabeck.com/

I don’t like going to the dentist, but my teeth and gums were long overdue for a cleaning. So, I mustered up my courage, and my debit card, to head to the dental clinic. This new hygienist was great, and she had gorgeous eyes, kind of like Emily Blunt’s, but her light irises – surrounded by perfect, dark circles – were more hazel than blue. I complimented her on her eyes. And mid-way through the cleaning, I complimented her on her work as well. And then again at the end.

See, I’m really picky about how people work on my teeth. I can barely tolerate having them scraped so opt for the water jet method instead. And I always need a bite block.  If you start scraping and don’t give me the block, I’ll walk out the door and skip my cleaning for another year, think of doing dangerous things to your pointy nose with that scraper, and start asking my friends for dentist referrals.

But this hygienist was fantastic. She got the job done well, quickly, with the block, gave me the sucking tube at appropriate times, and I only dribbled on my chin once.

What does this have to do with speaking or singing, you may ask? Keep reading; I’ll explain.

Once my teeth were clean, I realized how dirty my car was. So, I drove it to Kaady Car Wash and spent a whole eight dollars letting it proceed through the soapy water and automatic brushing, no scraping required, with access to the vacuum hoses for the interior included. What a deal!

Next up, dinner groceries – homemade pizza with Trader Joe’s pizza dough. Some items on my grocery list couldn’t be found at Trader Joe’s, so I went to the Safeway in-between the car wash and Trader Joe’s first. I was on a time frame, as I had two business calls, one at 3:00, and another at 4:00.

The check-out line at Safeway was thankfully short. Enough so I could hear the conversation between the checker and the customer ahead of me. The checker said she wanted to go to the island where Gilligan’s Island was filmed. (Younger readers who may be scratching your head, baffled, just Google Gilligan’s Island – it probably still shows on Nick at Nite.) The checker said it was an actual island somewhere in the Hawaiian Islands, and that you could charter a tour to see it. She thought that sounded like so much fun.

I said it sounded like a lot of fun to me, too, and started singing the theme song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8jhb5NnADM. The checker laughed. I told her I figured I’d be singing the theme song the whole way there if I went to the island.  As she was checking out my groceries, we kept talking about Gilligan’s Island, and how many of the cast members might still be alive. Or not. The checker had a huge crush on Bob Denver – she thought he was just the hottest and the cutest. I shrugged and said Erik Estrada of CHiPs was my big crush, and not so casually mentioned that I met him in person when I was 34. The checker said, “Yeah, he was handsome, but I always thought he had really big teeth.” I giggled, and said, “He does have big teeth…but his big teeth never bothered me…not one… single…tiny…little…bit.”

I can’t explain why this struck us both as so funny, but it did. Our raucous laughter was probably heard in the produce department. I know the guy behind me in line – likely 50-something, about the same age as me and the checker – heard it. I turned to him and said, “And this poor gentleman…”

Man: How did this all start, exactly?

Me: She was talking about how you can go on a tour to see the island where Gilligan’s Island was filmed.

Checker: And she started singing the theme song.

Man: How do you best go from, say, Oahu to Kawaii? Wouldn’t you want to fly?

Checker: I’m sure you can fly, but I want to take a slow boat.

Man: A three-hour cruise.

Me: Don’t forget all your evening gowns and your money!

Man: By the way, I was a Mary Ann guy, not a Ginger guy.

Me: My favorite episode was the one when “The Mosquitos” visited the island, and the gals formed a singing group. Remember that one? I could sing those songs, too, but I won’t bore you.

Man: I’ve always wondered why people could get to the island, but the castaways could never get off.

I left Safeway uplifted.  I saw a woman with two young children, one a baby in her arms, as I pulled out of the parking lot. She held a cardboard sign: “Please help us get a hotel room and food.” I rolled down the window, while pulling out my billfold, and handed her three one-dollar bills. “Thank you,” she said. “God bless you.”

Having read, from someone who’s been there, done that, I knew there was a very good chance I had just fed this woman’s meth addiction and her children, if they were her children, would go hungry that night. But I felt so full of joy, gratitude, and love for humanity that I happily handed over the bills. I had laughed so hard just a few minutes previously.

Then I went to Trader Joe’s, and purchased pizza dough, power greens for my daily smoothie, and two fresh red bell peppers. On my way in, I saw a woman who could have been a sister (physical similarities) to the one I’d given the three bucks to, but this woman had one young child in a stroller, as she was holding a cardboard sign.

Suddenly, I wasn’t filled with so much joy and love for humanity anymore. I pictured the woman surreptitiously calling her cohort with her brand-new Samsung Galaxy 59 Plus asking, “How much have you raked in so far?”

The Clackamas County Sherriff’s car was in the parking lot as I departed…two men in uniform approached the woman with the child in the stroller.

Do I regret giving the three dollars? No. As Wayne Dyer used to say, what I give to people is between me and God. What they do with it is between them and God.

It started to rain after I got back home and unloaded my groceries. My newly cleaned car wasn’t so clean anymore. I decided to laugh about it.

I was in a humorous and joyful state during both business calls.

Then, I sat down and started writing this. I keep laughing while I’m writing.

When we first start bringing our inner authentic voices out into the world, it can seem oh-so-serious. Our inner critic sits on our shoulder and whispers in the ear how badly we suck.

My voice teacher has a name for her critic. I’ll name mine… Carla. Carla is my critic. I can listen to her for a while, then bring her on board for laughter and playfulness. We can play and laugh together, now, can’t we, Carla?

Bring laughter into your vocal practice at every turn.

And check out Dorothy Rosby’s humorous blog here: https://dorothyrosby.com/.

If you found this post helpful, please spread the love and pass it along to a friend!

The voice lesson affected me in ways I never imagined. I feel so much more inspired now. Thank you! -Lennon R.

In only a few lessons with Laura, my voice quality improved tremendously, both for singing and speaking. I’m noticing more resonance, clarity, and range. Laura has a great ear, and her teaching and coaching style feels safe, friendly and professional. She is supportive and stretches me. Her acting, singing, and speaking backgrounds blend beautifully to support presence and confidence in her students, as well. I’m excited to continue studying with her, and highly recommend her if you want to improve your voice. -Cricket W.

Lake Oswego’s Transformational Voice® Teacher (Transformational Voice® is a registered trademark of Transformational Voice® Training Institute, LLC, and Linda Brice.)