Naples, Fla. — Tim Gard left them laughing, as he kicked off the Plastics News Executive Forum, with a series of jokes about travel — from a man who has traveled almost 2 million miles with the legs of a rubber chicken sticking out of his carry-on bag.
No other passengers mess with re-arranging that piece of luggage.
“Every time I get on a plane I say, I'm going to have fun and nobody's gonna stop me,” he said.
His message: Loosen up and enjoy life, even the hellish travel and rote-repeating hotel staff.
Relax. Have some fun.
“When you travel you know you give up all control of everything. You can't argue your way onto a plane,” he said.
Gard is author of four books and is in the 150-member Hall of Fame for speakers for the Council of Peers Award of Excellence.
As the Executive Forum's keynote speaker Feb. 16, Gard told how he made airport check-in employees laugh and got free upgrades. He passed out a bunch of gags — like “mental floss” that looks like you're flossing your brain, nose flutes, and a credit-card lookalike that said on one side: “This is a MAJOR CREDIT CARD” — especially funny at hotel check in — and on the other side: “Here is SOME OTHER FORM OF IDENTIFICATION.”
He passed out little tiles with the letter “B” on them. At the hotel, ask: Do you have any freebies today? And when they say no, hand them a bunch of the B tiles and say: Here you go! Free!
Corny, but fun.
“We have to talk to each other,” Gard said. “When I travel, I talk to people. I interact.”
He said if he doesn't have fun, he can burn out.
“It's easy to burn out over almost anything. We can get mad over the stupidest stuff,” he said.
Babies laugh naturally. “But adults need to be reminded from time to time,” he said.
“Humor is simply the combining of ideas that weren't normally associated with each other. It's a learnable skill,” he said.
And laughing and feeling good helps your brain to release oxytocin.
“This helps me to continue to be more creative by sparking my brain by finding the things out there that are funny,” Gard said.
More travel stories flowed out. Like the businessman talking loudly on his cell phone. “In the airport when they have the Bluetooth [headset] on, I can't tell who's in a meeting or who's mentally ill,” he deadpanned.
Gard, president of Tim Gard International, said travel can be an adventure, even when your room key doesn't work and you're knee-deep in luggage at midnight, standing in the hallway.
When you fly a lot, you know some kid's going to kick the back or your seat, you're not getting upgraded, you will miss connections.
“You don't have to tell jokes. You don't have to be funny all the time. But what I want you to do is, be able to use humor to diffuse every possible situation,” Gard said.