I’ve always been pretty silly. I really can’t help it, I don’t know how to be any other way. This has always been encouraged by my friends and family. In fact, I’m amazed at people who are always serious — how is that possible? Maybe my silliness has caused people to take me less seriously, but I really don’t care because I think I have way more fun. No, I know I do.
Just this weekend, I let my equally silly friend, Lee, talk me and several others into getting up and singing in front of a large group of mostly strangers at a memorial for my friend Sue’s wonderful husband Joe. Sue didn’t want it to be sad, although of course we all cried at the stories told. She wanted it to be a celebration of Joe’s life, and it was. It was in a beautiful Spanish-style room in a lovely country club surrounded by green hills and golfers, a place Joe would have wholeheartedly approved of.
Most of us are hams, so it didn’t take much arm-twisting and Sue was totally on board with it. We practiced for about three hours and then hit the boards singing “Why Do Fools Fall in Love,” because Joe loved 50’s music. We called ourselves “The Fools” and got up there and belted it out wearing fedoras and sunglasses.
Were we great? Uh…no. But we had fun, looked ridiculous and had people clapping along, hopefully lifting a few spirits, including Sue’s and her kids. If that’s not worth it, then I don’t know what is.
Afterwards we kept texting about how mortified we were and yet how much fun that was. And it was. I have a theory that the amount of fun you have directly correlates to how much you’ve just humiliated yourself. I’ve chosen many of my best friends based on how silly they are willing to look and I’ve never been wrong.
Here’s another example. Right after my mom passed away, I had to go back to work. But work was morning radio where I was supposed to be a funny traffic reporter. I honestly thought I’d never laugh again and even worse, the day I had to go back was St. Patrick’s day, one of my mom’s favorite days. So I went and figured I’d try not to cry.
As soon as we were on, the morning men started with the stupidest sounding Irish accents I’d ever heard, and within a half hour I was doing my worst Irish accent and laughing hysterically, in spite of my broken heart. I realized then that making people laugh is not only fun, it’s a really important job. It can bring people out of incredible sadness when they really need it. That moment gave me lifelong respect for morning radio talent, comedians, and every goofball who ever got up and tried to make someone laugh.
Otherwise life is just being responsible: working hard, taking care of the kids, fixing the house, dealing with setbacks, getting good grades and studying — yuck. You need a little fun or you’ll go nuts and do something you really regret like remodel your house.
So, go do something completely silly right now. Of course you’ll humiliate yourself, but when you look back at the photos you’ll think, God, that was fun!