lllHumor in Action!
R. Wilburn Clouse, PhD
Using Humor in
Learning in Action!
A Cross-disciplinary Problem-Based Learning Environment for Entrepreneurship
Maid of Honor Case
Test Version 1.0
(A Work in Progress)
Maid of Honor Case
Storyline by Kim Caraway
On January 6, 2xxx, I was the maid of honor in my cousin Rebecca’s wedding. Everything leading up to the wedding had been incredibly stressful. Aunt Debbie had been obsessing about every possible wedding detail for almost a year. Everyone in my family was on eggshells trying not to ask the wrong question and send Rebecca and/or Debbie into hysterics. On the day of the wedding, everything was going along perfectly until my cousin almost passed out in her dress an hour before the wedding. The ensuing commotion led to the funniest moment of the wedding- me forgetting to bring the groom’s wedding ring to the ceremony!
Rebecca and Michael’s wedding was slated to begin at 7:00 pm, but my cousin was in her huge, long sleeve wedding gown 3 hours early for pictures. Having an hour and a half to waste before the wedding was going to begin, Rebecca retreated to the bride’s room with the all bridesmaids and various family friends and relatives. During this time, Rebecca gave me Michael’s ring. I placed it on a table because I was afraid it would fall off my fingers if I wore it. I told everyone where I put the ring and asked them to help me remember it. About that time, Rebecca started looking a bit pale. She said her arms were tingling, and she was really hot. The other bridesmaids and I pulled her out of her dress, iced her back, and placed a small fan that we found under her dress. In a few minutes, Rebecca felt better, and it was Showtime. We all filed out and lined up for the processional at the back of the church.
As my cousin was walking down the aisle, I had the horrible dawning that Michael’s ring was still in the bride’s room! Although I have not yet seen the video, my family tells me that my moment of realization is evident as I begin to turn green on screen. I started feeling nauseous as the nightmare set in. My worst fear was facing the wraths of Debbie and Rebecca for ruining an otherwise perfect wedding ceremony. I do not remember much about the actual ceremony except my fear and queasiness. When the preacher asked me for the ring, I meekly mouthed that I forgot it, and he took off his own wedding ring to use. My horror was made complete as I realized that now the entire church knew that I, the incompetent maid of honor, had forgotten the ring. As we filed out of the church, I gushed to the best man that I could not believe I had forgotten the ring. When we reached the church foyer, I practically fell at the newlyweds’ feet begging for forgiveness. Much to my surprise, they did not seem to care.
As the other family members streamed out of the church, I grabbed my aunt and apologized profusely. I stood there stunned as my aunt laughed and said she had not even noticed. I discovered later that no one noticed! Everyone just thought that I had given the preacher the ring before hand since my arm was in a cast and I was supposed to be holding 2 bouquets. As the word spread about the forgotten ring, so did the laughter. I spent 45 minutes thinking that my aunt and cousin were never going to forgive me for ruining the wedding, and my mistake turned into the funny little wedding story. This humorous situation is a reflection of benign humor. Obviously, it was unplanned, and laughing at the story turned out to be a way to relax and have fun after all the seriousness of planning the wedding ceremony. It is also an example of the incongruity theory. In Humor Works, John Morreall describes the incongruity theory as the idea that something is funny because it does not fit into our mental patterns. In a sense, humor is funny because it is out of the ordinary and therefore unexpected. Forgetting the wedding ring at a wedding is certainly out of the ordinary and out of our expectations of what should happen. Initially, the situation was not funny to me, but I reframed my perspective after other people thought it was funny. By choosing to see it as humorous, the event encouraged my mental flexibility, and I was able to laugh at myself for making such a silly mistake. and to not be so overcome by a mistake that I can’t laugh about it in the end.
Humor is an important part of life. In this situation, getting upset would not have solved any problems or made the situation better. After the ceremony, it was only natural to laugh about me forgetting the ring. Laughing about it relieved many of the pent-up worries about the wedding coming together for my aunt and cousin, and it helped me remember not to take myself too seriously and to not be so overcome by a mistake that I can’t laugh about it in the end.
Discussion the situation.
What action would you have taken in this situation?