Don and the Mysterious Locked Suitcase
One time at church camp I had a roommate named Don who was very private and security-conscious. He always locked his suitcase and kept the key on a chain around his neck. Of course, this caused my fellow roommates and I to be even more determined to get in his suitcase.
Late one afternoon before dinner, he went to take a shower. We tried jimmying the lock to no avail. We eventually came up with the idea of taking the key chain from the hook in the little drying-off area outside the individual showers.
We raced back to the room with the key and unlocked the suitcase. We didn’t mess up anything or take anything, except to take out his camera. Stripped down to our underwear, we took pictures of each other with his camera, put the camera back in the suitcase, locked it up, the returned the key chain back to the hook. In Don’s thinking, nothing ever happened.
That fall we had a reunion, and Don thanked us for the extra pictures.
My brother Dan went to the University of Michigan, just about an hour from my parent’s home. I was five hours away at Miami University in Ohio. I arranged to pick up Dan and surprise our parents. I also brought along some props to make it an even bigger surprise.
We got home and came into the house. I put on a multicolored punk-rock wig and some gold wraparound glasses. We came into the house, and Dan called out, “Hi, Mom, I’m home.”
My mom called out that she was back in her bedroom. Dan went back there, and I was a bit behind in the hallway. Dan said, “Hi, Mom, I just wanted to surprise you for the weekend.”
My mom said, “Oh, Dan, it’s so great to see you.”
“I brought a friend with me from my fraternity,” he said as I came in the room. “Mom, this is John.”
“Hi, John, it’s nice to meet you.”It was then that I pulled off the sunglasses and wig to her total surprise. We all got a good laugh
Your'e not gonna make it! Brake, brake, BRAKE!!!
...I told you, you wouldn't make it!
This one is a style accident! The ultimate pikey boat. We aint payin no god darn taxes!
It came out of nowhere officer!
Salmon swim upstream - not humans!
I think we took a wrong turn?
The boat actually saved this near death accident from happening!
So why and how could these have happened?.........
Interestingly, it's the victims' perspective on the bizarre situation – not the situation itself – that dictates how they approach it. Some see their predicament as weirdly amusing. These folks remain calm, attempt to get a grasp on exactly what's happening and concentrate on finding a solution. Other people, while dealing with the same situation, view it very differently. They choose to focus on their frustration, rant and rave and generally cope appallingly.
Do you think a victim is more likely to realize they're being pranked if they stay relaxed or freak out? When you face a problem, are you more likely to find a creative solution if you stay calm or get annoyed? Bottom line: The way you choose to look at a frustrating situation can either make it more manageable or impossible to handle.
1. Proactively seek alternative viewpoints: Remember the importance of seeing the bigger picture. Acknowledge the possibility that accessing another angle on the situation might reveal a previously invisible solution. Seeking out alternative points of view will also damp-down feelings of frustration associated with your original perspective.
2. Don't act until you've identified three points of view: For example, next time you find yourself in conflict with a colleague, client or supplier, try this: Firstly, write a paragraph explaining the situation from your point of view. Secondly, write a paragraph from the viewpoint of the other person. Finally, write a paragraph from the perspective of an objective bystander. Actually writing down each viewpoint forces you to think and provides much greater clarity than merely pondering each perspective inside your own head.
3. Dispute each view: Argue with each of the three perspectives pretending, in each case, that you're actually disagreeing with another person. Most of us are much more practiced at arguing with other people than with ourselves. Why not leverage this natural ability?
Taking these three steps will dilute your feelings of frustration and provide additional information you can use to manage your predicament. Take time to see the bigger picture and let the joke be at someone else's expense!