When I finished up working as a chaplain at another school, one of my work colleagues gave me a book to help me through my study down at Avondale College. This book quickly became one of my favourites and in particular one chapter titled ‘The Chuckle File’. Towards the end of the chapter we find a story that still makes me chuckle to myself. The author tells of his first day in the sixth grade. It went like this…
Since we just moved to Wenatchee (USA), everything seemed strange, I felt lost in the new surroundings. Everyone seemed so hostile, especially the teacher. Before class began, I raised my hand and said, “Mrs Campbell, I didn’t sign up for advance math. I’m supposed to be in the other class.
Her rude response floored me. “Go to hell and wait,” she snapped.
I burst out the door in tears, racing to the pay phone in the reception area and called home. “Dad,” I sobbed, “I hate this school! Everyone’s mean. Even the teacher cussed at me… yeah she did… did too… they put me in the wrong class and when I told her she barked that I should go to hell and wait… I ain’t staying at this stupid school…”
Just then a kindly old woman interrupted my phone conversation. “Young man,” she said, “I couldn’t help overhearing you. I think you misunderstood. She (the teacher) sent you to me. I’m the receptionist – Helen Waite….
Gets me every time. Even writing this now I’m sitting here with a smirk on my face. Every single time that I read this story I think of all the times I’ve misheard or misinterpreted something and gone on my own little tangent. Sometimes laughing at ourselves can definitely be the best medicine. The Bible actually says that too. Actually I think I stole that line from the Bible. Proverbs 17:22 says that “a cheerful heart is good medicine.”
I know that sometimes we get too busy to take a break and have a laugh but maybe we need to take the time and have a look through our own chuckle file.
-Simon Hutton, Chaplain