In a world where the invisible soldiers of civil society stand guard around us at all times, having fun has never been so important.
Having fun may be the most subversive thing you do.
Although often mistaken for light-hearted relief, fun is a subversion of society, self and the situation at hand. Without it, you can be sure there is no romance.
In situations where the rules mandate good and uniform behaviour– in workplaces, classrooms, churches– having fun challenges them. Doing so provides relief and, in turn, affords fresh energy to help endure, or even transform a trying or boring situation.
Hence fun can subvert the grind of life by allowing you, on your own terms, to reckon and deal with situations where the rules are closely patrolled.
This is nothing to sniff at. Australians work the longest hours of all Westerners and forgo $72 billion of wages in unpaid overtime each year, according to research by the Australia Institute published in 2009.
Those who work unpaid overtime report the job would not get done were they not do it; evidence that they feel encumbered by undue workloads. They are effectively stuck. And here fun is an appropriate response and (albeit) temporary relief from this injustice.
Thankfully fun is not a dobber– it never deliberately outs you. If your boss senses you are having fun they may be hard pressed to prove it. You might be caught smiling, or laughing but they’re just tepid surrogates for the intoxicating, light, free feeling you are experiencing on the inside.
People can even end up having fun, despite themselves. In which case they seem to break their own internal rules of behaviour. Usually such people need to be actively enticed to have fun and may greatly enjoy the situation in which they have relinquished the rules of seriousness.
Following this they will either look to join in the fun in future situations, or if you had dragged them out of themselves too quickly, or made them have too much fun (e.g. they had lost control by having fun) they will be very suspicious of you in the future and almost resentful of you. Give them time. Best to opt in to fun than be dragged in.
Romantic, intense passionate love also turns out to be fun.
This revelation came as a big surprise to me, having once been a stodgy romantic who held that love meant life and death with naught between.
Well the naught between turns out to be fun, as I was tutored by a person with whom I was ever most stodgily in love. Choosing his words carefully he once explained that our love was fun and by that he meant it was not a chore. ‘Is that all?’ I thought. ‘All these incredibly important, deep, serious feelings sum up to fun?’
Well, no. After months of reflection upon his hesitant tutorial, I realized that my feelings’ Sum Total did not = Fun, but rather that fun was the ribbon that tied the feelings together. Fun didn’t reduce the import of my feelings, but instead lightened them and kept them airborne. He was essentially right. Fun is to love what string is to a kite.
In terms of the hierarchy of memory, funny memories sit on top of the heap, like a jester swinging its legs.
So if a person from your past was funny, that they were funny will outrank your memories of their other less favourable traits (for example, they were also stingy, unreliable and had a cruel streak).
Situations that were truly dreadful or dangerous at the time may be remembered for what was funny about them. I expect this is because having survived the immediacy of the danger, the experience of the situation’s fun becomes permissible.
Once I got word that a boy I had a big crush on was sitting on the lawn outside of a nearby house.
My friend and I jumped on our bikes and as I attempted to cycle at speed past him to impress him, I ran into the back of a parked car opposite to where he was sitting with his friends. My big toe was bloody and partially decapitated. The owner of the car flew out of nowhere, abused me and made me polish the back of his car with a green towel. The boy watched impassively while his friends laughed.
At the time I needed to both die and laugh, but did neither. Within 15 minutes, by which time my friend’s mother was tending to my toe, I was remembering this situation as wholly funny and I still do.
With respect to death, fun offers the opportunity to repeatedly disrespect it. This is an entirely fair pursuit given that from a biochemical point of view every microsecond of our lives heads in the direction of death.
Once we have passed over the Holy Sty (entered puberty) and successfully passed on our DNA (that is, appeased our unflinchingly unfunny selfish genes) that’s basically it: the trillions of cells that metabolise and oxidise, divide and fall, day and night are thenceforth programmed to run the short race through adulthood only to gratefully and finally collapse in a heaving halt at death’s door.
So our bodies are huge conspirators against us and there is very little we can do about it. Except we can have fun. For every Kreb’s Cycle that gets turned inside you, you can laugh at it’s absolutely stupid name. For every bit of DNA that shortens and frays by each nightfall, you can poke at it with your fun stick. Laughing surely reverses our bodies’ earnest endeavours to reach death’s door by reverse catalyzing all sorts of miserable, wowser-type enzymes.
How one has fun is an entirely personal choice, but it’s one I have made and can recommend.
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