My weekend with the “Inverse Paranoids”

An "inverse paranoid" is someone who thinks the world is out to do them good.

I spent the weekend in a place called Silver Bay, NY the YMCA of the Adirondacks.  I was attending the annual conference on the Positive Power of Humor and Creativity put on by the Humor Project.

I've been attending this conference since 1990 as a volunteer and it's something I look forward to every year.  This year about 300 people from around the world gathered to attend sessions on using humor and creativity in their daily lives.

As one of the presenters pointed out, it's the only conference you will attend that does not include the admonition to "please turn off your cell phones" because they don't work up here.

Well, if you have Verizon and you stand near the flagpole you might be able to get a signal, otherwise your phone is a paperweight.

The rooms had no phones or TVs.  It was like a weekend in the 1930s.

Here is an example of a license plate you might see in the parking lot...

So what did I learn?

One of my main takeaways was that it's OK to use humor in business.  This was the first conference where it was even discussed. (that I can recall)

Many of the attendees are in health related fields (doctors, nurses etc.) and as you can imagine humor is a much need stress reliever for the amazing women and men in that field.

Inspiration came in the form of Brett Leake.  He's a stand-up comedian who stands up with the aid of a wheel chair...a $35,000 wheel chair.  He has muscular dystrophy.  He went up to Lake Placid on Friday and roamed around the woods in his wheel chair.

I've seen him here several times and while I knew some of the jokes, they were still funny.  One of my favorites from Brett...

"I don't think senior citizens should get a discount.  They've had twice as long to raise the cash."


"When I'm asking a girl about her health insurance coverage, I'm hitting on her."

If you need an inspirational speaker for your event give Brett a look. He's been on the Tonight Show 4 times more than me.  Five times if you don't count the screen time I got in 1992 when Jay was talking to the guy behind me.

As always, I come back from any conference raring to go full of new ideas and energy.  Please go get on the Humor Project mailing list.  They do great programs all around the country and I know you'd have a great time at the conference next year.

At the very least, try to inject more humor into your life.  If you have a business, humor WILL get the attention of your customers and prospects.  On the drive up to the conference I saw the car of a paving company called Black Dog and on the car was the slogan, FREE ESTIMUTTS.

Corny?  For sure but it caught my attention and now I'm talking about it to you!

One of the speakers showed us an ad from a health club...

"Are You Ugly and Fat?
Would You Like To Be Just Ugly?"

I will be adapting that one!

"Are You Ugly and in Debt?
Would You Like To Be Just Ugly?"
Click Here For Help!

Make me laugh with a comment on this article.



  • Nancy says:

    LOL!!! That sounds like a blast of a conference! I love to laugh but don’t do it enough so thank you for the nudge!
    Nancy : P

  • Diane says:

    There are three kinds of people…

    Those that can count and those who can’t…

    Thanks for the laugh!

  • Phyllis says:

    Hi Leo. I work in the mental health field and we certainly recognize the benefit of humour in the healing process. At the Canadian Mental Health Association (Saskatchewan Division) we have started a program called “Healing with Humour”. This is an opportunity for mental health consumers to learn the art of stand-up comedy. This is great for building self-esteem and combating the stigma around mental illness. Once trained, the group plans to go on the road with their show. Laughter really is the best medicine!

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