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?
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 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?