I remember the day my mother, my sister, and I watched my dad change a tire in our driveway. He had difficulty getting the nuts off and got angrier and angrier with each tug (imagine Gollum in “Lord of the Rings” trying to pry the magic ring off a cement finger). Scary stuff.
Usually, my dad’s scary temper would make me want to run off and hide under a rock. But on that particular day, there was something about the frantic tugging combined with the made-up (and real) curse words spewing out of his mouth that made it all seem so…..well, funny. In fact, it was so funny that I had to cover my mouth to contain myself. When that wasn’t enough (chuckles escaped through my fingers), I ran to the backyard, where I burst out laughing.
After that day, I never saw my dad’s periodic fits of anger the same way. Sure, it was still unpleasant, but what used to be SCARY became RIDICULOUS, a view that is a lot easier for a kid to deal with. This brings me to the lesson of “Jody and the Monsters”: learn to laugh at the occasional monster who shows up at your door, and you will likely be a better, saner person.