The problem is that people confuse solemnity with seriousness. These are two very different things. A serious person can be serious about a thing, whilst still playing and obviously enjoying themselves. A solemn person cannot. I am quite serious, but rarely solemn.
Which is why I fancy the idea of carrying my lunch to work in an Elmo shaped sandwich holder. Because why not? It’s hilarious. And why shouldn’t I dress up my lunch in a jaunty bright red holder with two lurid goggly eyes? I loathe sandwiches, and figure that if I have to take one to work to eat, it may as well be funny looking.
The Mom is completely immune to these sorts of antics. She doesn’t even question why I would want such a thing, rather, upon seeing it, she expects me to want one.
Plus, this sandwich thing has been a long time in the making.
Several years back, when I was visiting my pals in Toronto, we went into one of those fancy homes type shops on Bloor West. we wandered around looking at copper pots and I quickly lost interest in pretty much everything. I can’t pack a copper pot in my suitcase and even if I could, what would be the point? Pots and other assorted Things For The Home are not my idea of fun purchases. These items are perfunctory and therefore zero fun. I wandered off to the bits and pieces area, where one can find things to purchase for under twenty dollars. And there was a dinosaur sandwich cutter!
You made your sandwich, in that funny sliced loaf bread that I normally don’t eat (the loaves are too large and when I freeze some of the bread I usually forget about it until such time as the freezer is over flowing). And then once the sandwich was finished, you put the dinosaur shape over it, like a cookie cutter, and voila! Your sandwich was in the shape of a dinosaur!
I don’t know about you, but for me food in the shape of other things renders that particular food stuff immensely more appetising. Biscuits in the shape of bears, crackers in the shape of fish, and I once had chicken nuggets (as an adult) in the shape of dinosaurs (yes, I ordered from the children’s menu).
I feel there is a lot of rubbish around acting one’s age and this rather banal notion that an adult is unable to delight in the small pleasures afforded us in the modern world. Besides which, just because everybody else is doing it has never, to me, been a very good idea to do anything at all. So if I’m the only one over the age of eight with a wicked-cool Elmo sandwich box then that’s a shame, but it’s not my fault other people are missing out.
I mean, imagine if other people of adult age started having fun again. Like proper fun. Like playing in the mud, or singing silly songs, or whatever else. Imagine how much more interesting the world would be! Being an adult needn’t shackle one to a lifetime of dour and unimaginative life choices. Why, I recently saw, in The Mom’s rather demure suburban shopping centre, a woman who was over fifty if she was a day, with a bright purple fringe. I salute this woman. She’s having a good time.
The fact that I take great pleasure in what are commonly referred to as childish things is frequently described as not one of my more marketable skills, though I would disagree. Especailly for a writer, or any other creative, the ability to imagine without fear or much in the way of boundaries is crucial. Playing at work is much more fun than sitting there being miserable about it. Yes, it’s work, but there’s no reason we can’t at least try to have a little fun. There’s a woman in my building back in the UK who works for a different department in the university. She’s originally from Montreal, and we have bonded over being ex-pats. But we’ve also bonded over this foolish notion that for things to be any good they must be serious. I knew I would like her instantly as she turned up for a meeting wearing a Mickey Mouse t-shirt and a short kilt. She’s my age. She even has children. Does that stop her from having fun? The hell it does.
Thus I shall continue on my path of enjoying things regardless of the age they are meant to appeal to. So, when I fly back to the UK, I’ll ask The Mom to pack me a sandwich for the flight, in my new Elmo sandwich box.