“I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in living, It’s a way of looking at life through the wrong end of a telescope. Which is what I do, And that enables you to laugh at life’s realities.”
– Dr. Seuss
Like most kids, I grew up with these books, the numbers and colors of various fish, the color of food one will or will not eat, and of course, the Grinch. To this day, it is not Christmas without Boris Karloff’s endearing lisp teaching me about the preferred size of a heart.
Dr. Seuss is so deeply entrenched in our hearts, my husband and I wrote our vows in the appropriate rhyme scheme,
Will you take her as your wife?
Will you love her all your life?
Will you take him as your spouse,
never treat him like a louse?
There are a few things I can point to from my very early life that helped to craft my sense of humor (Warner Bros cartoons) my love of 19th Century romanticism (Beatrix Potter) and my deep and abiding love of silliness and poetry, that would be the gentleman quoted above.
Notice anything there? Cartoon, cartoon, cartoon.
I have never been a big fan of normal. Why look at things from the right end of the telescope? Why look at a rock and see a rock? It’s a tiny mountain, and even tinier creatures live around it, carrying on with their tiny lives and tiny little tandem bikes.
I took this picture a few months ago. It’s a plushy goat’s head with a Hello Kitty bandage on the horn.
While I was giggling and snapping the picture with my phone, someone asked me what the deal was, why was I taking a picture of it. I ran those words over and over in my head to make sure I heard what I thought I did, and then I said with a shrug and furrowed brow, “Because it’s funny.”
I really don’t understand the reason for the question. The plushy goat head is funny, it made me laugh, I squealed and jumped up and down when I saw Hello Kitty, so I had to have a picture. It’s the telescope the wrong way round, why would I look at the world any other way?
I’m used to those questions though, and the looks as well; people looking at me like I am a Martian here to steal our Danish apple reserves. They are mad for apple Danish on Mars, most people don’t know that. And it’s quips like that that cause people to stare at me all mouth-agape.
I don’t care. I love my world.
Play pretend is important
I don’t believe in unicorns. I don’t believe in any supernatural things. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have fun looking for cloven hoof prints when I go hiking. I suspend my disbelief, that’s all. Try it, you won’t look silly, no one even has to know unless you tell them. Look for the unicorns and smile. I bet you that someone else wants to play too, but don’t think they can because they’re a grown-up.
You know how some games have an age range, “For ages 4 – 8” that sort of thing? You know what doesn’t have an age limit? FUN! PLAY PRETEND!
Yes, play pretend. People may think, adults don’t do that. Wanna bet?
Recently a friend’s kids asked if I would play with them. We set out to catch a dragon. Should you need this information, dragons eat rocks. baby dragons eat rocks, shells, and crispy Cheetos, and lizards eat rocks and shells. We found so many dragons! I got to hear what colors they were, how big, if they breathe fire or not.
I learned this because I asked them, and they told me. And then they asked me what I saw, and I told them.
There is no age limit on fun. You can play pretend with anything.
Fun with photography
I took my own photos for my book because I can’t afford a professional.
I set up my photo equipment in my dining room. I had the background stand, a tripod, and three of those lights with umbrellas.
I staged the props, took a picture, moved a light, took another, lowered an umbrella, moved stuff around. I did this for a couple of months, probably took about 3,000 pictures, and I got about 10 I actually think are good.
I could call that learning a new craft, or practical use of resources, or taking care of business. All of those are completely correct.
But what I was doing, for all the fancy adult words, was playing pretend.
I am not a photographer, I had zero idea what I was doing, I was learning things as I went and had the time of my life.
You want to play pretend, but think you’re too old? Dude, I’m 51. Nobody is gonna tell me I’m too old, they’re not the boss o’me.
(For those who are not from Northern California, “Dude” is unisex, not species specific, and not specific to biological life.)
And they’re not the boss o’you either.
We have to be adults sometimes, of course. We have to work, pay bills, raise families, whatever your life looks like. But nobody gets to take your imagination, nobody. Your thoughts and dreams are your own.
It’s ok to play, in fact, it’s essential to life and mental health. It’s not a cure-all for those of us suffering, but it can ease the pain, or even help keep it on a leash. Look through the telescope wrong way round. Have fun.
Oh, one thing, a comically undersized umbrella will not protect you from falling anvils. That’s a safety tip for you.