And Now for Something Completely Different
Fellow Monty Python fans may recognize the title and appreciate their antics. Remember the Department of Silly Walks? It was ludicrous, hilarious and had me in stitches, as did many of their skits and movies. I had friends who could re-enact the whole Black Knight scene verbatim. What fun!
I like to think I get silly, but recently discovered that the dictionary definition is much different from my own. My Webster says: “1. lacking good sense; stupid or foolish 2. absurd, ridiculous 3. stunned; dazed”. My own definition would read something like: “1. unrestricted playfulness 2. lighthearted fun 3. seriously funny”. My type of ‘silly’ often involves hysterical laughter, best shared with a dear friend or friends. So now I’m in a dilemma: Shall I use my own definition, or make up a new word to mean what I want it to mean? I’m thinking my readers could help me think of a new word – right? Send your ideas in a comment or send them to me at: email@example.com ! The winner can publish something silly on the site if s/he wants!
So, why is it good to get silly? First because it’s such a delight! Life is too short to be serious all the time and I believe that the more fun we can make it, the better off we will be. Second, of course, it doesn’t hurt that laughter has been shown in scientific studies to be good for our physical and mental health. (I’m not citing any studies because that would be work.) Third, it can help us put things in perspective. One of my favorite Gary Larson cartoons showed two men in a kiddie raft with animals decorating it. One was saying “seven days at sea, but at least nobody’s seen us!” They were going to die out there, but they were more worried about being seen in a kiddie raft than being saved! Think of all the time and energy we spend (or one could say waste) trying to look good – or at least not look foolish. Often, we take ourselves way too seriously.
I used to lead a hike called the Presidential Range Hike during which we spent a week hiking hut to hut in the White Mountains. We used to spend two nights at Zealand Hut where we would hang out, re-energize, swim at nearby falls and have a skit night. One year, my friend Janet and I discovered lots of empty toilet paper dowels in the bathroom and got really silly trying to invent a skit using them for props. We finally decided there might be children at the hut, so we adjusted our theme slightly from an “X” to a “G” rating and became the “TP Family”, along the lines of Saturday Night Lives’ family skits (The Loud Family, the Wideasses, the Coneheads…). We invited people to join us but only found one willing volunteer. We tied TP bows on our ear dowels and sat on the bench (as pictured) to watch a ‘little tube’ (toothpaste tube that we’d placed on the ground in front of the bench). We used the dowels as megaphones, hearing devices and monoculars, feigning various sensory deficits (“I can’t see you!” “What?”). Fond memories of the laughs we shared return whenever I see empty dowels at a hut! Another time, I pulled my fleece down over my knees, put gloves on my feet, and scooted around as a very short fat thing or perhaps a little gnome. It was a challenge to get down the steps, especially because it was so hard to stop laughing.
Gourmet Hikes have also been a source of good times and some silliness (by my definition). There was one photo of a gourmet hike to Mt. Hale on the “My Friend Helen” post, and here’s another that we had at Mizpah Hut. Unfortunately, the weather was not very good and so Jonathan and I had only one additional participant, but we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves as you may be able to discern from the picture.
Many opportunities for laughter present themselves along the way and in our path of life. If I didn’t laugh at myself, I would miss many good jokes. Besides which, there is often no one else around to appreciate the humor when it happens. My college was located on a small lake and one time I jogged around it. When I was finishing, there was a small chain across the trail about a foot off the ground. Not realizing how tired (out of shape?) I was, I jumped the chain but apparently didn’t go high enough, caught my foot on the chain and sprawled face down on the beach. No damage done, but sadly no one was around to appreciate the slapstick humor but me. During a trip to Zion, my boyfriend took a picture of me looking our from a cavernous area behind the rock wall. It appears that I am climbing out of the earth and he remarked “so that’s where women come from!” Who knew?
Naturally, it’s more fun to have friends along so you can share the laughter. When our Wednesday Group went to the Tetons, we took pictures of all the men and all the women. We women had become bored with the usual group shots, so we turned it around (see top photo).
My watch is running four minutes slow. I’d like to adjust it, but I don’t have any grandchildren. At least it’s easy to add four to whatever time it says and then I’m pretty close. Recently, I somehow got on 24- hour time. Now I have to subtract 12 all afternoon and evening. It’s almost as bad as going on Daylight Savings Time. I think it’s time to go now, but I’m not sure.
Silver Nugget #1: Don’t take yourself too seriously. It’s not good for your physical or mental health and it’s not much fun.
Silver Nugget #2: If you can find friends to laugh with, that’s even better!
Next week I’ll be returning to vacationland, but with more of a water theme. Join me for some good clean wet play!