Sunday, June 30, 2013


"Whimsy" is defined by an Internet dictionary as "a strange but pleasant and funny quality." Whimsy is not mean, as humor may be, but it recasts the perspective in light-hearted and sometimes ludicrous terms. It lightens what might, in another setting, be a quite cumbersome and solemn situation. Whimsy opens things up for no particular reason and for that reason can be quite informative. I like it.

This morning, for example, I found myself casting a whimsical reply to a comment on an earlier blog post. The topic, while no doubt serious to some, was not earth-shattering in importance, but what I noticed was the enjoyment I found in whimsy. A smile, a silly, another perspective, in this case made out of whole cloth:
In his perceptive and widely-acclaimed treatise, "Worms I Have Known," Sir Reginald Flagler, OBE, went to some lengths to describe and analyze wormulous subgroupings ("Charm Schools") which seemed to come together for the sole purpose of easing the childhood traumas suffered at the hands of careless human beings. "Worms may not have brains," Sir Reginald commented in a 1996 interview, "but they have multiple hearts and those hearts are as powerful and fragile as our own. Worms are people too, you know."
It was a giggle and I like giggling. And the writing of it took me back to a time, during a particular moose-hunting season, when I wrote an entirely bogus news story about a man who had been moose-hunting in Maine and inadvertently shot a Spam Animal, a creature long thought to have been extinct. (Unfortunately, I didn't save the story, but just the outline still tickles my ivories.)


Of course one man's humor is another man's desecration, but it seems to me that anyone might be well-advised to keep their whimsy machine well-oiled. I am not suggesting that anyone turn humor into a defense mechanism that sidesteps every serious issue. But I am suggesting that as part of any disciplined and peaceful lifestyle, it might be a good exercise to address whatever serious issue is currently in vogue with an occasional bit of whimsy ... just take the serious issue, and, for five minutes, recast it in terms that are vaguely ludicrous and worthy of a fleeting smile.

A love affair, a grand betrayal, a sweat-soaked spiritual effort ... not as a dismissive put-down, but just as a means of taking a time-out to smile, apply the whimsical template: How silly and delicious is this?

Once having applied the template, there would be ample room to return to the regularly scheduled, un-whimsical programming.

Whimsy: A wider world.
Seriousness: A wider world.

Pretty whimsical, I sometimes think.

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