Maintaining a healthy level of insanity

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Maturity. Practicality. It is drilled into our being as soon as we're able to strap on a Pampers. Focus. Be serious. Be professional. Play it safe. Set the example. No fun, there, you. I said FOCUS!

That's pretty good stuff. I try to follow it... for nearly every funeral and proctology exam. Otherwise, I have to be honest, any pretense of practicality is just that, an act.

Life doesn't last that long. You have to throw the curve every once in a while, just to stay sane.

To have character, sometimes you have to do something out of character. Sing, dance, hug somebody, show up in grass skirt. Play hooky - take your shoes off and go wading. Smell someone's flowers and pretend to pass out. Call the boss "Honey chile." Challenge people on the street to a swordfight in a French accent. This works best with an icecicle. Spell "icicle" wrong - perfection isn't good for the soul. Take a chance. Give a second chance. Smile like you're up to something.

Throw paperwads, and make the sound of big explosions if you hit someone.

Sing that Christmas song about how Batman stinks and Robin laid an egg. Answer all questions all day with lines from Shakespeare that do not apply. Embarass your kids in public. Order a bed-wetting-prevention-kit from a parenting magazine to be delivered UPS to your best friend during the day of his important meeting at work. Do not ask me how I know that one.

Whatever it takes. I said UNFOCUS!

All this sounds quite immature, I know. It's also good insurance against growing old, not to mention dull.

As Jimmy Buffett says, "If we weren't all crazy, we would go insane."

I appreciate a kindred spirit in this department when I see one. Debby Trent passes along this happy "how-to" list for maintaining a healthy level of insanity.

It will keep me busy for some time. You too, I hope.

* 1. At Lunch Time, Sit In Your Parked Car With Sunglasses on and Point A Hair Dryer At Passing Cars. See If They Slow Down.

* 2. Page Yourself Over The Intercom. Don't Disguise Your Voice.

* 3. Every Time Someone Asks You To Do Something, Ask If They Want Fries with That.

* 4. Put Your Garbage Can On Your Desk And Label It "In".

* 5. Put Decaf In The Coffee Maker For 3 Weeks. Once Everyone Has Gotten Over Their Caffeine Addictions, Switch To Espresso.

* 6. In The Memo Field Of All Your Checks, Write "For Sexual Favors" (I'm going to try that one with the IRS!)

* 7. Finish all Your Sentences With "In Accordance With The Prophecy."

* 8. Dont use any punctuation

* 9. As Often As Possible, Skip Rather Than Walk.

* 10. Specify That Your Drive-through Order Is "To Go."

* 11. Sing Along At The Opera.

* 12. Put Mosquito Netting Around Your Work Area And Play Tropical Sounds All Day.

* 13. When The Money Comes Out The ATM, Scream "I Won!, I Won!"

* 14. When Leaving The Zoo, Start Running Towards The Parking Lot, Yelling "Run For Your Lives, They're Loose!!"

15. Tell Your Children Over Dinner. "Due To The Economy, We Are Going To Have To Let One Of You Go."

And The Final Way To Keep A Healthy Level Of Insanity, says Debby, send this to someone else and make them smile.

It worked for me.

* Dana Larsen is the editor of the Storm Lake Pilot-Tribune. He can be reached at dlarsen@stormlakepilottribune.com.