I’ve found it! What, you ask? The secret to building up your savings account? The cure for cancer? The gumption to train and complete a marathon? Oh no my dear friends that’s all cupcakes and fluff. I’m talking about THE most difficult self-imposed discipline outside of diet and exercise…No Sarcasm Saturday. I know, I know this raises many more questions like “what on earth would motivate you to do such a thing?” or “Why?” or even “How long did you make it?” All in good time my dear friends. First let me give you a little background. It all started way backlast week sometime. I was trying to watch one of my favorite HGTV shows called “ Love it or List it”. However, during the show one of my children (who shall remain nameless for her, his, ahem it’s protection) was just deriding these poor people on the show. I found myself getting more irritated by the moment. This child sounded so mean, so hateful, so judgmental and uh…so much like me! Sarcasm is one of our main sources of humor in this family. 2nd man and I love watching Food Network, HGTV or even ESPN shows and totally deriding the logic behind which most of the decisions are made. Truly, this is just a coping strategy for our own lusty jealousy. Hmmm do I want the brand new house with five bathrooms and all new appliances that is $100,000 over budget or do I want to stay in my mid-century “bungalow” with it’s outdated electrical system, bowing floors and cracked foundation without a dishwasher? Ah the decisions people must face. It’s sad really. We watch and shoot out scathing remarks about how materialistic our society is and how there are people starving in other countries living on floating shacks along rivers (funny though, they still have smartphones and reception –true story I saw it on TV too). Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the degradation of our American society. Like I said, I’m basically just jealous and get a kick out of the whole process. However, listening to my own kid doing the same thing sounded so harsh and critical. I went from being irritated to being strongly convicted. She/he sounded like a bully on a playground. If I had caught him/her doing this to someone face-to-face I would be mortified and then I’d lay into him or her about apologizing and how we don’t treat others this way. I’d probably go into how that person is one of God’s creations and therefore we have no right to be so critical. All of this is true. However, somehow people don’t seem as real to us if they’re on TV so a freedom of expression gets exercised regularly. We’re sarcastic with each other as well. I’d say 95% of it is truly meant in good fun and humor. However, there are those days when someone gets their feelings hurt. But, mostly it’s how we relate to each other in a humor filled way. 2nd man and I often find ourselves even having the same sarcastic thoughts about different situations. But, as a friend of mine explained to me, it can all be taken and given in different spirits depending on the people involved, so sarcasm must be handled delicately. For instance she is a choleric personality and tends to go from humorous to critical in a quickly falling landslide; whereas her husband, who is very sanguine, keeps it on the light and humorous quite easily. This made a lot of sense to me. I know there’s a lot of debate about the validity of the whole personality thing, but I’m a believer in how it plays out in people’s lives. My choleric child sounded scathing and harsh, but my own sanguine/melancholy personality keeps it on the humorous or sometimes overly-sensitive side. So, with all of that said, I approached 2nd Man and told him I thought we should have a “no sarcasm day.” He thought it was a good idea, but didn’t do anything about it immediately. Then, Friday evening at the dinner table I made some kind of sarcastic remark and he pounced. “Your mother and I have been talking about something lately, kids.” He said. To which thy replied, “are we in trouble?” “No,” he said, “but we’re going to try to have a No Sarcasm Saturday tomorrow.” Our oldest was instantly worried. “But it’s outreach day at church and, well, we teens speak in sarcasm.” “I understand that.” Replied 2nd Man, “but we’ll have to make do the best we can.” We determined that everyone would start out with 100 points and the person with the most points left will get a dessert treat of their choice at a special place on our vacation in a month. I have to be honest here. It was hard. I woke up with much trepidation, scared to enter public with my family, wondering how ashamed I might be. But, overall it was a good experience. I caught myself having sarcastic thoughts all day long. The hardest part of the day was going to Wal-Mart (did I mention we did this on a Saturday?) I was never so thankful to go to the grocery store ALONE. Even in the parking lot where Honey Boo boo’s mother’s look-alike about rammed my car to get a space she thought I was going to get to first. (You must understand how hard it was to even write that last sentence. I had to wait a day so as not to get docked points.) We had one daughter who tried hard, but was honest when caught. Daughter number two kept docking herself and was about out of points when we confirmed that you had to be caught by someone else, and then our youngest son didn’t quite ever get the concept of what sarcasm even is. However, it was a good exercise in discipline and learning to be kind. We really didn’t have a winner at the end of the day. We’ve actually decided to do it again perhaps next week. I’ll confess I’m not willing to give up this form of humor for a lifetime – I don’t think that’s possible. However, temperance is never a bad thing, so I’ll take it one challenging Saturday at a time for now.