The Case For Being Silly

Recently I was walking through my neighbourhood as it was snowing and I saw a family of four get out of their car; two parents and their kids. One of the kids (as kids do) sensed an opportunity and gathered some snow from the car in front, made it into a snowball and launched it at his dad. Instead of doing what I would do (chuck one back and have an impromptu snowball fight) he told his kid off. Last week I was returning home on the subway and the driver had hiccups as he announced the stops and I was the only person who laughed because everyone else was fixated on their phones or wearing headphones. I see this sort of thing more often all the time; something funny happens when you are out in public and instead of having a laugh with a stranger people are uptight and ignore eye contact or remain buried in their phones. The world is full of things to make you laugh and smile on a daily basis so why not relax a little bit and enjoy them while you can?

I found this in the local grocery store.
I found this in the local grocery store
Available at your local BJ's store
Available at your local BJ’s store!

One of the great things about being an expat is that I get to see things that are lost in translation between US and UK English and they are always a good opportunity for a joke. While shopping in BJ’s recently (yes there is a grocery chain here called that) I came across a display of rugs branded as “dream shags”. A shag may be a seabird but it also means having sex in British English. The grocery store at the end of our road has a product called “cock flavoured soup” that makes me giggle every time I walk past it. I may be in my (rather late) twenties but I’m not going to pass up the opportunity to have a laugh at something like that. I make no apologies about my propensity to be silly in public, especially as I hardly know anyone in the US. My wife has a similar reaction when we are in the UK and she sees quaint British settlements with names like Cockwood or Shaftesbury.

I can't be the only person who has visited the Grand Canyon and found this funny?
I can’t be the only person who has visited the Grand Canyon and found this funny?
This small village is near my hometown in the UK
This small village is near my hometown in the UK

I have decided to make the case for being silly; we all work hard (politicians not included) and we are bombarded with an ever increasing stream of bad news in the media. This bad news permeates into our consciousness; it appears on our Facebook feeds, in our discussions at work and even when we talk to our loved ones. In addition to all this bad news which we can seemingly do little to affect, people are so unwilling to have interactions with strangers because they are so fixated on their own issues. Everyone is so uptight and busy that they lose the opportunity to unwind and relax a little bit and it makes us all a little bit miserable. Next time you see something funny or ridiculous before you take a picture to share to your friends on Facebook why not point it out to a stranger and have a laugh about it with them? Who cares if they think you are silly, you don’t know them and if they see the funny side then sharing a laugh with them will make your day just that little bit better.

What has made you laugh recently?

14 thoughts on “The Case For Being Silly

  1. Although you may not think so, Canadians can experience the same issue of lost in translation with more items than you think; For instance, “homo milk” is my personal favorite. Imagine the time Rush Limbaugh would devote to getting that off the shelf. Most Canadian stuff is simply American things disguised so only Canadians know what they mean; for isntance, when the Bare Naked Ladies sing “We’d eat more Kraft Dinner” in “If I had a million dollars”, no Americans have a clue that KD is Mac & Cheese. And those of us married to duals like it that way.

    Happy New Year
    Rob and Diane

  2. Today I was with my girls in a shopping centre, they were playing in a kid’s corner. When it was time to go I dressed the little one first and tried dressing the older one, at the same time dragging the little one back from the lift – she kept on pressing the down button she could reach. The next time I turned around (baby had about 5 seconds) she pressed the button again, by this time the lift was already waiting on our floor, so the doors opened straight away, so when I looked back on her she was purposefully entering the lift. I had to sprint to get in there before the doors closed. When we emerged from the lift, my baby screaming and kicking, angry at me for messing up her plans, pretty much everyone around was giggling. So I guess, we cheered some people up today, a plus point to karma 🙂

  3. One of the perennial joys of being an expat is laughing at poor translation. For instance in southern China there is a chain of eateries called ‘Wang Steak’.

    How I laughed.

    I’ll join your fifth column of silliness, here’s to being slightly off-beat!

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