Day 230. On the Need to be Silly

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Once, in college, I needed to let off some steam. So, I came home to my apartment, which I have chronicled before (recap: very old, hardwood floors, we trashed it), and I got to work. I pushed all of the furniture in the living room up against the walls, readied the stereo, and took my shirt off. I had created a large dance floor, and I was ready to party to some early ’90s hip hop. I just danced. I danced with intensity like Kevin Bacon in an old warehouse, minus the gymnastics. I was sweaty, and I was having a good time. Then, about a half hour into it, my roommate, JJ, walked in. He entered the kitchen and heard music, then he came to the French doors and opened them and warily said, “Jeff?” He said it with surprise and confusion, like he had walked in on me shooting up heroin. I was busted in a solo dance party.

My SQ has not been reached for several weeks now.

It’s been down, way down.

I need to reach it soon.

I’ve been making a pretty good life here, with friends, and a job, and comedy, but I haven’t reached my SQ for such a long time that it’s starting to wear on me. What is SQ? It’s Silliness Quota. See, I think everyone has their own quota for silliness in their life, and I think mine is pretty high, so I have a high silliness quota. It is the measure for how much silliness you actively participate in during a given day, week, month, or quarter. At some point, we all make a quota, on how much silliness we need to function properly, some are high, and some are low, but we all have one.

I’m not talking about little child silliness where you’re in your underwear and put a strainer on your head, just to be silly. I’m talking about grown up silliness, where you’re in your underwear and put a strainer on your head, just to be silly. Make sense? Good.

I’ve been doing my fair share of stand up comedy, but I would say that doing comedy in front of an audience does not go toward my silliness quota. When you’re doing comedy in front of an audience, you are being funny in hopes of a good reaction, whereas, when you’re silly, you’re being funny in spite of the audience around you.

At some point in our growing up process, we mostly decide that silliness is something that we hide. Empirical evidence points to the fact that silliness doesn’t go away entirely. You can tell by when you pull up to someone at a stop light that is rocking out to a song with complete abandon. It is pure silliness. When you see this happening, you are entertained until the green light, but you don’t judge. Why? Because, you do the same thing, because we all do the same thing.

I’ve made a lot of good friends, and friends, and acquaintances, but I haven’t made it into the silliness zone very much with them. Sometimes, I have a hard time accessing it when I’m being particularly goal oriented, and it is to my overall detriment. The silly place is a freeing place, that I know does something for my psyche, because, most everything else we do is done with the constant awareness of judging eyes. In fact, most things are done with awareness of our own judging eyes. I need to do things outside of that. Just like everything else, if you don’t deal with it in a healthy way, it will erupt in an unhealthy way, which explains the giggle fits that you and a friend get into during an entirely serious meeting, or church, or piano recitals. 

I’m going to try very hard to reach my Silliness Quota this quarter. I will start with my next round of improv classes at UCB, which begin Monday afternoon, hopefully it may end with me topless and sweaty.

 

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