IT’S TIME TO “HAVE FUN THAT IS FUNNY!” (PAST TIME ACTUALLY…)
You remember Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat: “I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”
Well, it’s been pretty wet off and on – and the sun has done its level best to be there - but boy, it sure hasn’t been all that much fun lately. And definitely not all that funny…
But here’s the thing: Having fun is good for us. And all things considered, we need to have a whole lot more of it. Being silly is good, too. So is acting like a kid. Kids know how to have fun. Until they grow up and forget. It’s time for us to remember. And maybe forget the constant obsession to “succeed”” (whatever that means), to be perfect (for what?), to know everything (why, to intimidate others?) When you think about it, that’s just not that much fun.
That’s why Dr. Seuss also said, “It is fun to have fun…but you have to know how.”
“Knowing how” can’t be all that hard, can it? Well, of course, it is if we’re afraid of looking foolish. (Kids just love to look foolish.) Or afraid of having people laugh at us. (Kids love to be laughed at…for any reason.) Or afraid of being made uh, fun of. (What would be so bad about that? At least somebody would be laughing.) Maybe we should forget about doing the “serious stuff” all the time – and concentrate on doing the “fun stuff” some of the time. It could be really, really good for us. Here are a few “fun” things to try…
1. Make up silly new words. Remember “Jabberwoky” by Lewis Carroll? I loved “all mimsy were the borogroves…” A lot of things look “mimsy” when you think about it.. Someone recently made up the word, “flawsome” – which means someone who’s wonderful but has flaws which he readily admits to and goes from being merely admired to being beloved. Another new word is “Bromance” – a close but non-sexual relationship between two guys. Or “chillax” which means to calm down and relax. Or here’s a good one: “Girrrl” – a young woman who’s independent and strong…especially in her attitude towards men… (I made up the word, “angrify.” It’s not that funny.)
2. Do funny imitations - maybe of somebody you’ve seen on TV, or you work with – or live with. Our daughter, Abigail, used to do her “Groucho Walk” when she was about three. She’d walk all bent over, carrying something – like paper – in her mouth and swinging her head back and forth. We laughed our heads off. Just thinking about it makes me laugh. I think I’ll do an imitation of her “Groucho” the next time I see her. It’ll crack her up.
3. Make fun of your own “imperfections” – like how you can’t carry a tune – but you just sing anyway. Kids don’t care if they have the notes right; they just sing it. Make up a silly song. I made up a song for Willa, our late, much beloved Golden Retriever. It’s called, “The Doggie Girl Song.” Here are the lyrics: “You’re the doggie girl, doggie, doggie, doggie, doggie, doggie girl. You’re the doggie girl, you are the doggie girrrrrrrrrrl! Yeah!!” Willa loved it. It made her “smile” which tickled her nose, which made her sneeze. But she didn’t care. She’d just jump up and lick my face – very thoroughly. Which made me laugh. Boy, I miss her…
So when’s the last time you laughed til you sneezed? I thought so. Look, we’ve all got to get down and lighten up! And being willing to look foolish isn’t only good for your psyche, it’s good for your professional life, too. Do you remember the last four words Steve Jobs said at the end of his commencement address to the 2005 Stanford grads? “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish.”
And I’d add, Stay Child-Like. You can’t create, you can’t invent, you can’t re-imagine the future if you’re up tight, ticked off and worried sick about how it’s all going to turn out – or how you look, ie., not foolish.
You’re always going to look a little foolish if you’re out to create something that’s crazy-fabulous – in your life, in your job, with your colleagues. It comes with the territory. But I bet you’ll have “fun that is funny” in the process – and so will the people around you.
And then neither rain, nor sleet, nor dark of night, nor headlines that make you want to go straight back to bed and stay there – will turn the corners of your mouth down.