Have you ever been on a boat with an assortment of pirates and mermaids, waiting for a llama to get authorization to board before you set sail? After last Saturday, I can honestly say I have. I know this might sound like a scene from a Disney animated film, but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and we find ourselves in situations so preposterous the only thing to do is laugh.

Last week I was in Southern California having a wonderful time with friends. On Saturday, we decided to have lunch at a restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean where we could eat outside and enjoy the warm sun and cool sea breeze. When one member of our group suggested we take a boat ride after lunch, our host remembered a public water taxi called the Aqualink that carries passengers from Alamitos Bay to the Long Beach Aquarium. That sounded like a wonderful idea to all of us!

The Aqualink dock was conveniently just steps from the restaurant. At the dock, we were greeted by a woman dressed as a pirate and her friend Cusco, a bandana-wearing pirate llama with a fishing net laced with seashells draped over his back. That’s when we discovered a “Pirate Invasion” was happening in Long Beach that weekend. It’s California’s largest Pirate and Mermaid Festival held in Shoreline Village right next to the aquarium. As we pet Cusco’s furry neck and waited for the next boat, more people dressed as pirates and mermaids arrived at the dock. It was quite a colorful scene.

When the boat arrived, we were amused by the look the two crew members gave each other upon seeing the pirate llama. Cusco’s keeper assured them that she had called the Aqualink office in advance and was told Cusco was allowed to board as long as he was contained. She believed his leash was sufficient containment, but the crew did not share her belief. They called and left a message for their supervisor while the rest of us boarded.

We found a sweet spot on the upper deck and told bad pirate jokes to our costumed fellow passengers while waiting to set sail. Five minutes turned to ten minutes. Ten turned to fifteen. Eventually it became clear that Cusco was the reason we were still there. The absurdity of the situation was not lost on any of us. There we sat while the crew waited for a return phone call from their supervisor letting them know whether or not the llama could board. The general consensus among the passengers was to let him on. No one seemed to mind sharing the boat with a furry, four-legged pirate. I thought it was important to let the crew know how we felt so I began chanting, “CUSCO! CUSCO! CUSCO!” I was thrilled when the pirates, mermaids, and other passengers joined the chant immediately showing their solidarity.

Alas, it was to no avail. After at least thirty minutes of waiting, the supervisor finally called with a decision: no llamas allowed. We later found out Cusco’s keeper had failed to mention when she called earlier that her pet was a full grown llama. Details. As we left the dock and headed out to sea I felt inspired to yell, “We love you Cusco!” As you can see in the picture, I think he heard me. I wanted him to know we were all a little sad about the way things turned out. However, I’m pretty sure the pirates and mermaids were more upset that the llama drama prevented the bar from opening while we were waiting. When the bartender called “last call” as soon as we left the dock I thought for sure they were going to make him walk the plank.

Yes, this situation and the reason for our delay were both quite comical, but what if we were able to laugh no matter what the reason or circumstance when things don’t go as planned? Wouldn’t life feel lighter? I’m not suggesting that you bring a llama to work or wear a mermaid costume to a funeral. There are times it’s best to be practical and appropriate. I am suggesting, whenever possible, find humor in any difficult situation in which you find yourself. Laughter will immediately help you pull the plug on anger and frustration before they get the best of you. Peace will return, and problem-solving inspirations will have space to enter.

Could you use some assistance pulling the plug on anger and frustration on a difficult situation in your life? Try one of my four, six, or eight-week Life Coaching packages to help you do just that. During our weekly one hour sessions in person, by phone or computer, I will share tools and techniques to help you return to peace. Look around my website or send me an email for more information or to book your first session.

Until next time, may you always remember that laughter really is the best medicine.

Into eternity, where all is one, there crept a tiny, mad idea, at which the Son of God remembered not to laugh. ~ A Course in Miracles – T-27.VIII.6

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