The Practice of Silliness


I am sure you have all experienced this at some point or another. You have certain 'understandings' about life, certain things you know to be true. These are wisdoms or lessons or practices that you have acquired over your years and you try hard to embody them. Until you don't.

It's not that you mean to, or that their concept has somehow escaped you…you have just forgotten. A momentary lapse of otherwise perfectly useful life-experience.

This happened to me with silliness. Not silliness as a concept, silliness as a verb. I learned a long time ago that the best way to keep yourself balanced and your worry, doubt, ego and a vast variety of other life-sucking things in check is to inject a little silliness. When we were kids, my mom would go to some lengths to get a rise out of us. One year on April Fools Day she filled our cereal bowls with dog food and set the table just like normal. Then there was the time she put a 7″ gummy cherry-flavored rat in my school lunch. For Valentine's Day. It's in my blood.

Sometimes though, force is necessary. In college, my roommate Traci and I would find ourselves grumpy or stressed, and would start to fake-laugh. Like, over-the-top, goofy and different than our own laughs and right out loud. In no time flat we would be laughing our own laughs so hard we didn't need the fake ones. Try it… it's well, hilarious.

It turns out this has been a value of mine for some time. I try not to make a habit of quoting myself, but I made this piece 9 years ago (it's still in the line today) for my good friend Molly, who so perfectly embodies this concept,

and I firmly subscribed to it. Life through Groucho Marx-colored glasses. But recently, as my life has gotten bigger and more complicated (and by turns better and more stressful), I have stopped remembering to employ it. I worried for a second that I had forgotten how. That I had hung up my fake nose and mustache.

But then, last night, some good friends reminded me. I showed up to a dinner pretty stressed and kinda grumpy, which I kindly disclosed. Without missing a beat my friend offered (with a straight face) to put her sports bra on backward for me. “I will even run around a little if you think it will help.” I was laughing to tears at the thought. Admit it, you are too. We spent the evening telling funny stories from college and making fun of ourselves and I forgot about every last nugget of stress.

Turns out I have surrounded myself with silliness. I am so certain of its value, that I have taken extra measures to ensure that it is in my life without even realizing it. I married Coach because he makes me laugh (among many other fine qualities); I have surrounded myself with intelligent and silly people that will go to great lengths for a little laughter. I have incorporated it into the structure of my life through them. Cutting-up is a very useful life skill and I have made sure I have built-in reminders of that in the event that my own silly parachute does not deploy.

So a big thank you to all that know the value of a laugh and a wiggle of the eyebrows to those who know what I am talking about.

I would love to hear about your “finest” silliness moment…how far have you gone for a laugh? Do tell!


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