The Power of Silly

The Silly Olympics

The revelation

Eckhart Tolle made a killing with his book The Power of Now. That's great and all, but in a transcendent moment of awareness, I've become aware of another great, inspirational life lesson, which I am titling The Power of Silly!

Late one recent night, following a difficult day (and a few martinis), I awoke in the middle of my slumber, staring at the ceiling in the darkness. The Universe suddenly spoke to me, in a magical moment of enlightenment. I think there was a Bananarama song in the background, of all things. I know what you're thinking - an average Joe getting a spiritual message from beyond. It must be something dreamt up as a result of the combination of sleep deprivation, alcohol and indigestion. And of course, that's probably all true.

But the message from above was quite clear. This - all of this - this vast and relentless repetitiveness of days, this unending succession of goals and aspirations, of relationships coming and going, food ingesting, digesting and divesting, in breaths, out breaths ... all of this, is really much ado about nothing. It's just life. And if you think about it, much of it is often pointless and often rather downright silly.

All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
And then the whining school-boy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. . .

The grandness that is Shakespeare, in his theatrical glory, charming and enlightening his audience with "mewing and puking in the nurse's arms."  Some of the most poignant literature of our history.  While it is true we are all merely players, it occurred to me how incredibly silly of an image this was. And then it hit me:  the full realization of the silliness of all things.

I told my daughter about my silly revelation, and being a teenager, she said, "can't it be another word? Humorous? Funny?" But no. That wasn't the word of universal enlightenment. The word?

Is Silly.

Moses supposes his toeses are roses ...

The one-person seesaw
The one-person seesaw

Patently Silly

My grandmother started walking five miles a day when she was sixty. She's ninety-seven now, and we don't know where the hell she is. ~ Ellen DeGeneres

Naturally, none of us has time for silly. There is important work to be done. The economy is in the dumps. We need to focus our attention on this terrible, wretched problem ... which we know works because by focusing all our attention on this terrible, wrethed problem for the past three years, we've succeeded beyond our wildest nightmares of amplifying this terrible, wretched problem so much so that the downward trend has begun feeling like the freefall drop in the elevator on Disneyland's Tower of Terror.

Recently, I came across a site called Patently Silly, which details a large number of actual patents taken out by folks with an inordinate amount of disposable time that they've used to create and patent inventions that by most people's standards are downright goofy. Included in this list are:

  • Not just edible underwear, but edible handbags, windbreakers and shoes - because once one is in the mood for food and sex, there can never be enough snacks...?
  • Fishing lures in the shape of a human - for that vengeful trout who's been through catch and release one too many times.
  • What to do with the remains of Aunt Edna? A combination wind chime and urn to remind you of her lyrical and breathy nature.
  • For the truly lonely pet and human a pet operated ball thrower or a one-person see-saw ... because being alone is wonderful and all, except for those times when you just wish you could rock up and down with your butt on a board, but just don't have a partner ....

 

Weird Al's White and Nerdy

Going Mad

"A plastic surgeon's office the only place where no one gets offended when you pick your nose!" ~ Alfred E. Neuman

Some of my favorite silly reading growing up was the sketches from Mad magazine - so unexpected and irreverent. One of my books had a succession of questions and answers they titled Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions, with entries such as:

Q: Did you catch that fish?
A: No, I talked him into giving himself up.
A: No, I was sitting here minding my own business when the crazy thing jumped into my pail.
A: No, it's a plastic model to get people like you to start fascinating conversations.

Q: (From lady to fellow bus-rider) Isn't my baby beautiful?
A: That's a baby?
A: Yes, in a Jabba-The-Hutt sort of way.
A: Yes, but not nearly as beautiful as this spit up on my coat.

Q: (from a waiter, to a husband and wife) Table for how many?
A: A hundred and twelve -- we like to change seats every few minutes.
A: One -- my wife will sit on my shoulders.
A: I don't know -- I can't count that high, either.

Q: (Person watching a trick) Am I supposed to pick a card?
A: No, you're supposed to pick your nose.
A: No, you're supposed to take all of them.

You get the picture. And people wonder how Gen Xers got to be so sarcastic!

Mad eventually turned it's craziness to MadTV, which produced such gems as the precurser to the newest Apple technology below:

iPad

Silly walks

Monty Python made an industry from simply being silly. The wonderful thing about them was that they took advantage of our expectation of British prudishness and turned it on its head. You never knew what to expect, from the cute attacking killer rabbit to the armless, legless bridge collector, to the Ministry of Silly Walks. And yes, there is an actual Silly Walks Generator, where you can invent your own silly walk, borrowing from the following Monty Python sketch:

The Ministry of Silly Walks

JibJab

In the midst of the political turmoil of the last few Presidential elections came JibJab.  JibJab created satirical pokes at the Schwarzenegger Gubernatorial election in California, of the Bush/Kerry and Obama/McCain battles, and can be counted on to continually come up with new goofy material to keep our perspective on the silliness that is our American electoral process:

SNL

And last but not least, what discussion over the Power of Silly would be complete without at least one entry from Saturday Night Live?  The show that redefined TV, from the John Belushi days to Eddie Murphy to Chris Rock to Christopher Walken's cow bells and Alec Baldwin's schweaty balls to this Christmas gem with Justin Timberlake:

The religion

So, now you have been indoctrinated to the Power of Silly, expect to see my books, seminars, Oprah interviews and logowear at a store near you. The absurdity of people, events, news items, self-help books, road rage, cage fighting, dog shows, press conferences, Senate hearings, tea parties, bikini contests, militias, Burning Man, garlic-flavored ice cream, doggy boots, Botox, endless movies about Batman, hair removers and restoring creams, police tazers, sex addicts, televangelists, articles about Brad, Angelina and Jennifer, Smart cars, Sasha Baron Cohen movies, 100-mile marathons, pole dancing at the Olympics, Twitter, toast bearing the image of the Virgin Mary, Enron, Winnie the Poo ...

You get the picture. 

So back to sleep I go, emboldened with this power of the ridiculous.  Though I know not where the Power of Silly is taking me, I sense that this universal, all-knowing sense of goofiness knows the way.  And there will be more absurdity tomorrow, more to laugh at, joke with, and otherwise mock.  Join me, and have a pleasant tomorrow...

Oh, life is bigger
It's bigger than you
And you are not me
The lengths that I will go to
The distance in your eyes
Oh no, I've said too much
I set it up

(chorus)
That's me in the corner
That's me in the spotlight, I'm
Losing my religion
Trying to keep up with you
And I don't know if I can do it
Oh no, I've said too much
I haven't said enough
I thought that I heard you laughing
I thought that I heard you sing
I think I thought I saw you try
But that was just a dream
That was just a dream

(repeat chorus)

But that was just a dream
Try, cry, why try?
That was just a dream
Just a dream, just a dream
Dream

- REM "Losing My Religion"

 

Comments 22 comments

tonymac04 profile image

tonymac04 6 years ago from South Africa

Brilliant, brilliant brilliant! I love silly and the sillies you have written about here are among the best. Thanks for this absolutely great Hub. "Always look on the brigfht side of life!" Yes indeed!

Love and peace

Tony


Gerg profile image

Gerg 6 years ago from California Author

Thanks Tony - wow, what an endorsement! Sometimes, you just gotta say f it, let's just give up this angst, anger and apathy and just be ridiculous! Thanks for getting it. ;-)

L&P back atcha ~


Jackwms profile image

Jackwms 6 years ago

It's great. I love it.


Gerg profile image

Gerg 6 years ago from California Author

Thanks Dad ~


Nellieanna profile image

Nellieanna 6 years ago from TEXAS

I love silly. I used to say that I loved anything just so it was foolishness. I admit that the moment a thing gets a serious aim, it becomes a chore. So long as it's silly it's never tiring, always refreshing. So more power to you!!


Gerg profile image

Gerg 6 years ago from California Author

Thanks Nellieanna - I like "refreshing" to describe it. I agree we just need to be silly more often. I met an acquaintance recently who toured with Patch Adams around Europe visiting the infirm, wearing full clown garb. One of the requirements of being with the group is traveling in full clown-ware, even when not performing with the group. You have to have a lot of silly in you to go along with that!


Kent Garner 6 years ago

Nice - I'll be coming back to this page.


Gerg profile image

Gerg 6 years ago from California Author

Thanks Kent ~


lalesu profile image

lalesu 6 years ago from south of the Mason-Dixon

Gerg, this is delightful! Let silliness reign! ~ Laura


Gerg profile image

Gerg 6 years ago from California Author

Thanks Laura - I appreciate you dropping in!

Greg


Shalini Kagal profile image

Shalini Kagal 5 years ago from India

Absolutely delightful! Love it - especially that video of Gene Kelly and Donald O'Connor - I've always felt he was the 'sillier' of the two! What a great trip through 'Silly' - our days will be a lot better with more of it injected into them. That said, I just HAVE to rush off and become a fan!


Gerg profile image

Gerg 5 years ago from California Author

Thanks Shalini - I had fun with this one. ;-)


anndavis25 profile image

anndavis25 4 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

Silly you! Now there ya go, putting me in a good mood.

I'll take one a day...

Up, funny, and awesome! Ann Davis


Gerg profile image

Gerg 4 years ago from California Author

Thanks Ann! Glad I could help ;-)

G


klarawieck 4 years ago

Well, now I don't feel so bad about being a complete goofball, especially after hearing U-2's newest album. The song titled "Breathe" where Bono sings: the right to be ridiculous is something I hold dear.

Thanks for this article. Love your sense of humor as well as your writing style.


Gerg profile image

Gerg 4 years ago from California Author

Unquestionably! I opened this one up and my son had me play several of the videos again. Thanks for the tour down my hub writing lane ... !


weestro profile image

weestro 4 years ago from Virginia

Great way to start my Friday! Great Hub, voted up!


Gerg profile image

Gerg 4 years ago from California Author

Thanks weestro - May the fourth be with you!

G


anndavis25 profile image

anndavis25 4 years ago from Clearwater, Fl.

Still thinking about you and your silliness.

Ann Davis


Gerg profile image

Gerg 4 years ago from California Author

;-) The fourth must be strong with you as well, Ann...


Angela Brummer profile image

Angela Brummer 4 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

Amazing hub. I love that everyone has their entrances and exits.


Gerg profile image

Gerg 4 years ago from California Author

Thanks Angela! Please go on ... I'm interested in the breadth of that thought. :-)

Greg

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