On Being Silly

goose

The word silly has been with me for as long as I can remember.

I’m sure I acquired it as a child when an adult took issue with my foolish behavior or set me straight on something I naively said. Silly stuck like glue, tinged as it was with embarrassment.

No one defined the word for me. No one had to. Ridiculous. Without common sense. I intuited from the tone in those adult voices that silly wasn’t a good thing to be.

Lately, though, I’ve found myself acting in a manner some might consider silly. For starters, I’ve been dressing up my Lord & Taylor goose. The photo above features Taylor in the red beret/scarf combo I crocheted for her. I’ve prepared a Purim costume for her as well, though I’m keeping that a surprise for now.

My friend Techiya inspired me to pose with statues and public art, whenever the opportunity permits. Here I am during a visit to the beautiful grounds of Duke Farms in New Jersey.

statue

These are just two examples. I assure you that my silliness continues to pick up steam at a steady rate.

Recently, I decided to look up the exact meaning of the word, curious if I had it right all this time. Merriam-Webster defines the adjective silly as foolish, weak in intellect, indicative of a lack of common sense or sound judgment. The adverb means in an absurd or ridiculous manner.

Well, I don’t believe I’m being any of those things. Quirky, yes. Spontaneous, sure. And certainly fun, at least I think so. Maybe even (a bit) eccentric. But I’m convinced there’s nothing foolish going on. I see it as a breath of fresh air, the lightening-up of an adult life that requires so much seriousness of me and demands my constant attention to responsibility, time management, bill-paying, housekeeping, rule-abiding, meal-prepping, and maturity.

With that in mind, my husband and I posed for this photo, inspired by Grant Wood’s American Gothic, the counterpoint to the formal shot we took the same night.

grantwood

We are the guests of honor at our shul’s upcoming dinner and the committee needed a  portrait to feature with our bio in the journal. We briefly considered using this one, but silly didn’t seem to be the look the committee was going for.  It’s still our favorite image from the photo shoot, however.

For now, back to adulting I go. But I hope to continue embracing the good that lies at the heart of silly, to keep taking these short breaks that let me feel I’ve unshouldered some of my real-life obligations, albeit fleetingly. After all, I’ve been sitting at the grown-up table long enough to know that serious will be waiting for me when I get back.

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