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The Funny Bone

Esther Sender

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I came across a famous line in a story the other week — pride goes before a fall.

I applied that line quite a few times since then.

It didn’t say, when there’s great pride, just pride.

And I thought of times when you kind of breathe in and fill yourself with yourself, and then all of a sudden, boom! Or bang!

The other day I watched it in action.

I watched a young married girl lightly bantering with her new husband, like she might have done over a lunch table with friends in high school.

It didn’t go over too well with the new husband.

She kind of got the hint in a hard way when she slipped on an olive that had fallen on the floor, and the drink she was carrying kind of flipped onto the table next to her new in-laws.

She was humbled in about three seconds.

I’m not sure she connected the dots — that her previous comment could have caused this.

It takes a good few years to learn the pathways between dots.

Seems coming toIsraeland not having family — leaving your home, your birthplace, and your language — helps speed up the humbling process.

After 20 years inIsrael, I always say to myself when someone beeps their horn, “Don’t beep, we’ve already been humbled.”

Humble wasn’t even a word in our vocabulary growing up.

Humble was equal to schlep.

But it’s so not true.

Humble is a great place to be. It means when you fall, or trip up, you don’t get hurt so badly, because you didn’t fall from such a high place.

It doesn’t mean you don’t accomplish. It says Moshe Rabbeinu was the most humble of all men. Yet he accomplished the greatest feats. How? Because he knew he was nothing, that only G-d gave him the power.

I see these ladies in the supermarket, humbly moving through the aisles, patiently waiting to add their noodles to the cart, even if they’re waiting for those exact ones you’re standing in front of.

Then there’s the lady who kind of pushes her cart into you all in a huff and a rush, just to let you know noodles are not a college subject to be studied.

And then, nine times out of ten, you see that lady somewhere again, in another aisle, studying apple juice labels, or at the cash register, and you know she’s going to have some major problem, like forgetting her credit card, or the gefilte fish jar was somehow not screwed on tight enough. If she’s loved, that is.

If not, she’ll rush out the doors, rush into her car, and be off into the world to cause some more damage, because it’s a guarantee — pride goes before the fall.

Even in the littlest things.

Did you ever get all proud of yourself, and start singing your own praises just a little too loud even if it’s about a little thing like setting the table so nicely, and then on the way back to the kitchen, you hit your elbow on the corner of the wall?

They call it the funny bone but it’s not so funny. It hurts.

But it’s that kind of hurt that you have to laugh and cry about at the same time because you know you kind of deserved it if you connect the dots. Because you weren’t being careful in your steps because you were moving too fast, not looking where you’re going because you were full of you.

That’s when you get it in life — right in the funny bone.

 

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