February 3, 2012

Cultivating The Art Of Silliness

Silly is the Anti-serious
The world could use a little more silliness. Not of the "weak in intellect" variety, but more along the lines of the original word. In Old High German where the word 'silly' began, 'sālig' meant 'happy'.

But the art of silliness is so much more than just happiness. Some put silly firmly between absurdity and giddiness, and well, that sounds like fun to me.

There is another difference between the two. Happy you can do alone. Silly is more of a shared experience. Silliness requires one or more co-participants to help create, and enjoy, the moment.

I had one such moment of pure silliness today in the check out line at the grocery store. Ahead of me was a serious-looking young mother. Sitting in her cart was a quiet boy of about 3 or 4.

Glancing at serious mom, I thought about all the serious seriousness in the world these days. Often it seems that it is lurking in every dark  corner waiting to extinguish every glimmer of giggles with doom, gloom, hesitation and caution.

What we need is balance - all seriousness and no silliness makes Jack a dull boy.

Back in the grocery store and cashiers queue, all seriousness in me was about to be dispelled.

Soon me and the little dude had eye contact. We both recognized the latent silliness that resides in each of us. It looked like it was time to turn back the tide in the sea of stifling seriousness that has engulfed our modern times.

Each time the little guy lifted his shoe up he looked at me, and each time I got big eyes. When the shoe went down - I made little eyes. Up, big - down, little. We both smiled, then laughed, then giggled. No words were spoken, or were necessary.

He kept on doing it. So did I. All thoughts of the world's innumerable serious and scary problems were blown out of my mind like so many earnest cobwebs in a hurricane of happiness.

Soon the cashier was laughing along with us, and when I got to the till she said, "Sometimes you don't need words."

"No", I answered, "the art of silliness is universal."

There is a time for seriousness. Just remember to make time for silly too.

Hee, hee, hee.

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