Dancing on the Conference Room Table: How Comedy Brings Our Inner Monologue to Life

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In my first role, I sat in a lot meetings. (Too many — to even throw together an estimate).

As a research specialist in a large consulting firm, it was my job to provide senior executives the information they required to help clients (and sell projects, of course). The firm functioned much more like a creative agency than your standard consulting group — so there was always a lot of discussion. My bit in the scheme of a meeting was usually rather brief, yet it was best that I sit through every meeting in its entirety. If not present, the group might commit to research questions that simply weren’t deliverable — or a schedule that I knew I could not meet. At times, I would have to reel the group back to solid ground. They seemed comfortable with that dynamic — which on some level always surprised me.

So, there I would sit in conference rooms, minute after minute.

Hour after hour.

Certainly, there were discussions of the projects. However, there was always much more than that. Topics would wander and I would feel myself “glazing over”.

On many occasions, I would itch for an escape and my mind would wander to creative (and not so creative) methods to end my misery. I might boldly take over the meeting and usurp the creative director (suicide)  — or let them know I had another “pressing” engagement (a bit less risky). Yet, my most enduring fantasy was this: jumping up and dancing on the conference room table. That would likely do the trick. The madness would stop. Of course, my job and viewed sanity would likely have been sacrificed, as well.

So wrong.

Yet, Oh. So. Satisfying.

My inner monologue was not doing me any favors.

The first time I caught an episode of the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. I had to look away. Literally. It depicted the key character, Larry, in a doctor’s examination room where he inappropriately decide to use the telephone sitting on the counter top. Told he should definitely not touch the phone — he debates that he absolutely should be granted that privilege.

David routinely shared his inner monologue — and it was outrageously funny. There was always some shred of truth to his stance. However, that truth was usually pushed to brink of absurdity.

I’m convinced that our inner monologue has something to tell us. However, in many cases, how we resolve to end the ensuing frustration should remain fantasy-based. I’ve accepted that in most cases, I should let others live out those fantasies for me.

To Larry David and Jerry Lewis (and all of the comedians out there), thank you for playing out our low “EQ” fantasies.

With no risk involved.

You’ve saved us.

Live.Work.Think.Play shares observations concerning a wide array of topics. It is designed to share lessons learned from a variety of perspectives.

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