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David Holub

Indulging, living, Gallagher: Fun is living in the present

Ar 170519912
Adobe Stock
Ar 170519912
Adobe Stock

When you’re on a roller-coaster and it’s going click-click-click-click up that first hill, you’re not thinking about bills. And when the train rushes down the mountain and you take the first unexpected turn and then up into the loop, you’re not thinking about your driver’s license that is about to expire and, man, what a drag it will be to have to go to the DMV. You’re thinking, “AHHHHGGGHHHHH!”

Because you’re in the moment. A roller-coaster forces you there. Roller-coasters are fun.

Being in the moment doesn’t in itself make something fun. But most of the time you’re having fun, you’re in the moment. You are present. The present, by definition, is not the past or the future. It is now, and now, and now. The past and future do not exist, except in our heads. The present, however, we can touch.

It’s like touching a sledgehammer forcefully to a melon, a zany act made famous by Gallagher, possibly the funnest comedian there ever was. When anyone, on stage or not, smashes a melon placed on a stool with a giant hammer, tell me how you could possibly look away. Gallagher would ride out on stage in a huge, custom, adult Big Wheel, for no other reason than fun.

Speaking of clowns, clowns are fun (even if you’re terrified by them because they’re really a sinister sub-species). They’re fun, in part, because they change the space around them; whatever they’re up to they make you watch right now.

Clown or not, when someone shakes your hand with a buzzer in theirs, or when someone makes you smell a flower on their lapel and it squirts you in the face, you’ve been forced into the moment.

If you’ve ever gotten lost on a dance floor – not, “where’s the fire exit?” – but really lost, lost in your head, lost to the thump on the floors and walls, engulfed in lasers and electronics, forgetting for a moment everything, shedding your ego and self-consciousness, past and future – you’re having fun.

Fun is living and doing, throwing caution out the window of your Chili Red Mini Cooper S as you take country-road turns a bit too fast. Snowboarding, whitewater, walking on stilts, rappelling on ropes are fun.

Bouncing seems to be fun: Pogo sticks, bouncy castles, trampolines, laps (bouncing checks, not so fun).

Indulging is fun: Eating, drinking, watching, playing. Indulging isn’t about enjoying the pleasure of something, it’s about allowing yourself to enjoy the pleasure. Yes, sometimes we need to give ourselves permission to have fun. For as much as pop culture and mass marketing encourage fun – at least a certain kind of fun – they have their counterparts right there discouraging it, making us feel bad for having it, warning of dire consequences for partaking in it. I heard it from a high school psychology teacher first: Fretting over what you should do or must do leads to unhappiness. He called it “musterbating” and “shoulding all over yourself.” That guy seemed fun.

The most fun people I know are positive, adventurous, curious, inquisitive, and open-minded. They are willing and up for it, they are ready to go, to get it on. They say, “Yes, and.” They say funny things – who doesn’t – but they also make jokes (that is, statements intended to make another person laugh). Rarely do they say, “We really shouldn’t.” They usually say, “Yaaaaaaassssssss!!!!!!”

The funnest people I know do what they love whenever they can. But more than that, they see life as an opportunity to have fun at all times. I mean, why walk your grocery cart to the car when you can take a free ride on it? Why walk past an off-duty, two-story carnival slide ho-hum when you could hop one fence, climb the stairs and slide down it while filming yourself? If you can’t look at your partner without fiery passion, why not sneak off in public to canoodle in the shadows? And if you’ve trained, if you have the skills, if you have the love, why not put on a circus?