+
10 things that made us smile this week

It can be hard to find hope in hard times, but we have examples of humanity all around us.

I almost didn't create this post this week.

As the U.S. reels from yet another horrendous school massacre, barely on the heels of the Buffalo grocery store shooting and the Laguna Woods church shooting reminding us that gun violence follows us everywhere in this country, I find myself in a familiar state of anger and grief and frustration. One time would be too much. Every time, it's too much. And yet it keeps happening over and over and over again.

I've written article after article about gun violence. I've engaged in every debate under the sun. I've joined advocacy groups, written to lawmakers, donated to organizations trying to stop the carnage, and here we are again. Round and round we go.

It's hard not to lose hope. It would be easy to let the fuming rage consume every bit of joy and calm and light that we so desperately want and need. But we have to find a balance.


When we have inhumanity violently shoved in our faces, we have to be reminded of our humanity. When we've witnessed the worst of us, we need to see who and what we can be at our best. When senseless, heinous acts turn the world upside down, we need to be reminded of what it looks like right-side up.

These weekly roundups of joy often include gratuitously adorable animal videos and such, and I would argue that there's a place for such lightheartedness under normal circumstances. But this week, I want to focus on us, on the goodness and beauty of everyday humanity. To remind us of what we're supposed to be—and what we still are—despite the horrors perpetrated by a handful of people.

If you're looking for reminders of our humanity right now, whether it's people doing good or good things about people, here are some simple things to get you started.

1. The beauty of forming unexpected connections with perfect strangers.

And after their chat, they made plans to get together again. More friendship meet-cutes like this one, please.

2. Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones.

@yourprouddad

Happy Sunday❤️. Is school out for you??

Humans also help out strangers—even ones they'll never actually meet. Summer Clayton is the "father" of 2.4 million "kids" and he couldn’t be more proud. Read the full story here.

3. Andy Grammer and PS22 remind us of the power of music, especially when we make it together.

And they did it with a sweet song about being there for one another, no less.

"Children singing has such a special power," wrote Grammer in his Facebook post. "I personally choked up multiple times throughout the day. The unbridled excitement and giddiness of an elementary school mixed with the sincerity and reverence they brought to this song was too much for me to handle."

4. Humans help out struggling penguin babies with adorable stuffed surrogates.

Zookeepers have stepped in to help care for the newest inhabitants of the zoo's Penguin Beach after it was discovered their parents were struggling with caring for them. The keepers have become the penguins' stand-in parents, hand-rearing the little penguins in the zoo's nursery and using stuffed surrogates for the babies to snuggle with.

Read the full story here.

5. The messages from this grandma, reminding us of the beauty of loving family bonds.

"I love you from Einstein bagels!" "I love you from my front room!" So sweet. Click the arrow to scroll through. You won't be sorry.

6. The way humans get silly together when we're bored.

The way we find fun with friends is one of the best things about us.

7. And the way we find creative ways to make ourselves laugh.

Why is anthropomorphizing vegetables so hilarious?

8. The human instinct—and ability—to express ourselves through dance is just amazing.

May 25 was National Tap Dancing Day, so seems like a perfect time to dust off the "Tap" Challenge Scene with some of the most iconic tap dancers in the history of Hollywood. Look what humans can do. It's a marvel.

9. The utterly pure, gushing expression of love from this wee one to their baby sister.

We are wired to love. See babies for proof.

10. And this reminder of life as it should be—and can be—for our kids.

I hate to yank us back to the present reality, but this is such a beautiful and fitting response to it. In the midst of our grief, we can create a space for joy and revel in it. Turn up the music. Let those babies dance till they're delirious.

It's what humans do.

As we navigate the awful, let's keep looking for and lifting up and sharing the good.

Take care, everyone.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

Keep ReadingShow less

Memories of childhood get lodged in the brain, emerging when you least expect.

There are certain pleasurable sights, smells, sounds and tastes that fade into the rear-view mirror as we grow from being children to adults. But on a rare occasion, we’ll come across them again and it's like a portion of our brain that’s been hidden for years expresses itself, creating a huge jolt of joy.

It’s wonderful to experience this type of nostalgia but it often leaves a bittersweet feeling because we know there are countless more sensations that may never come into our consciousness again.

Nostalgia is fleeting and that's a good thing because it’s best not to live in the past. But it does remind us that the wonderful feeling of freedom, creativity and fun from our childhood can still be experienced as we age.

A Reddit user by the name of agentMICHAELscarnTLM posed a question to the online forum that dredged up countless memories and experiences that many had long forgotten. He asked a simple question, “What’s something you can bring up right now to unlock some childhood nostalgia for the rest of us?”

Keep ReadingShow less