In college, I worked part-time at a western store. For various reasons, I really hated working there. So, to lighten up the atmosphere, one day I started over-enthusiastically agreeing to anything my manager asked me to do. When she asked me to clean the break room, I smiled so big my eyebrows shot up and said, “Yes! I would absolutely love to!” She laughed at me and I smiled genuinely as I walked up the staircase to the break room.
When my manager (whom I really liked and respected, along with my co-workers) asked me to take out the trash, I responded with a hearty “I was hoping you’d ask!” My obviously contrived joy opened the door for authentic joy (or at least tolerance/amusement) in the workplace.
You can adapt this strategy to everyday chores. I don’t go to the grocery store; I embark on a Food Procurement Mission. I don’t sack out a colt; I teach a young equine the refined art and maneuvers of the straight-up bridle horse, only on a more elementary and basic level. I don’t halter my horse; I capture the beast. After a training session, I thank him for his participation in the day’s activities and tell him I look forward to resuming our innovative work in the upcoming morn. That last part is especially fun if you say it with a British accent.
Why do we saddle and unsaddle our horses, yet we catch and turn them loose? Shouldn’t we catch and uncatch them? It’d be a much simpler semantics system, plus eliminate several wasted words. One of my favorite ways to waste words is by saying I have to “unsaddle my horse’s face,” meaning I have to take off his bridle.
You know, I don’t think I’ve ever actually said that one out loud. I’ve just thought it and derived considerable personal amusement from the phrase.
I also amuse myself by yelling at the car radio. You know that Reba McIntire hit, “Why Haven’t I Heard From You?”? Next time she belts out that line, holler at the speakers, “Because you’re a terrible cook!” and change the station. It’s a great release for pent-up anger you didn’t even know you had.
It’s easy to lift the mood of a routine day of drudgery. You just can’t be afraid to smile like a rodeo queen or yell at a famous redhead 🙂