"If you can't look in the mirror and see your best friend looking back, you're not going to make it," said humorist and educator Sandy Queen at Cornell's Humor Day Program, March 19. "The whole point is to die as young as possible as late in life as possible."
Speaking in the Statler Auditorium, Queen used humor, anecdotes and reminiscences of her childhood and parenting experiences to bring her message home: "You are good stuff."
Queen is known throughout the United States, Canada and Australia as a dynamic lecturer who has developed many innovative programs in the areas of stress reduction, humor, children's wellness and self-esteem. This was her second appearance at Cornell's Humor Day; she first spoke here 15 years ago.
"Attitude is how we feel about who we are," Queen said. "You have a choice to have a sense of humor." She engaged the near-capacity crowd of 650 for an hour with quips, stories and cajoling: "Lighten up! If you are having a good time, tell your face."
But her underlying message was a serious one, reminding participants that they need to take charge of their own lives. "What's your dream?" she asked, "and where are you headed? If your actions are taking you in one way and your dreams are in another, then you either have to change directions in your actions or reassess your dream."
To end her presentation, she played the song "What Would I Do Today if I Were Brave?" that challenged participants to actively choose how they look at and respond to the opportunities around them.
Now in its 18th year, Humor Day is sponsored by the Cornell Wellness Program and is held every other year. In keeping with the Lighten Up theme and the university's focus on sustainability in all aspects of work and life, program participants were given a compact fluorescent light bulb on their way out.