This delightful essay, Would you like to come out and play?, made me grin and giggle, and I thought you all might enjoy reading it, too. So, thanks to Leslie for giving me permission to post his work here. (If you like it, please check out his book at Amazon.com.)
Without further ado, I present, uncut and in its entirety, Would you like to come out and play? by Mr. Leslie Miklosy...
I have a confession to make: I’m a middle-aged fellow who likes to play. I will, for instance, while in the throes of a particular mood, pretend to lunge at our family dog. The dog — smart animal that he is — picks up on the counterfeit attack and off we go, enjoying our merry little dance.
Or maybe I’ll get into a verbal joust with a co-worker. Each of us will try to outdo and outwit the other. With a good repartee started, the rejoinders fly back and forth like Ping-Pong balls, to our mutual delight.
In many situations throughout the day, I’ll have occasion to meander, and duck, and twist and turn, bop and weave, turn inside out and stop on a dime.
There are infinite ways of expressing play. It can be its own activity, or it can simply be imbued in a context to make it “playful.”
There is solitary play (with or without imaginary friends) and communal play. You can break into song, do a little Irish jig or make faces in the mirror.
If you feel like it, you can have long, absurd conversations with yourself (wearing a phone earpiece in public, for the sanity police). With family, friends and foils, you can enact wondrous scenarios that cover the range of human experience — putting your own peculiar spin on them.
What is it about play that is so satisfying? Well, it’s fun, it’s creative, and it breaks — temporarily — those confining boundaries of serious reality.
Play uplifts and exercises; it regulates and displaces; it modifies and modulates. You can understate with it or exaggerate. You can explode a moment with a quip or go off on a long riff.
Play is about possibilities. It can contain — among other things — humor, surprise, mystery, whimsy and extravagance.
Play doesn’t need research, doesn’t need to be proven. It requires no down payment. It fits into small spaces, wears well and is highly portable. And it contains no calories.
Serious business needs to be taken seriously, of course, but a pause here and there — a little playing here and there — will take the enterprise of living further and farther, while keeping it from going afield. So let yourself be light of foot and spirit.
Next time there’s a knock on your door, and the tooth fairy, or Santa Claus, or the Jolly Green Giant says to you, “Can Mr. Silly come out and play?” be smart and say “Yes!”
Copyright 2007 - The Fayetteville (NC) Observer
Leslie Miklosy is the author of Which Is More Round, the World or Your Tummy?: Offbeat Reflections on Serious Living, a collection of his quirky, midlife thoughts on various aspects of the life journey. He occasionally writes inspirational essays, including, "Happiest day is the one that starts today" and "Don't let opportunity slip by -- live with gusto" (also published in The Readers Write columns in The Fayetteville Observer).