zany – za-ne
amusingly unconventional and idiosyncratic.“zany humor”
A former coworker and professional associate of mine died recently. Nick was not a close friend but was a good guy and a talented meteorologist.
His life was cut short in a tragic way – I’ll spare the details. But suffice to say there were rivers of tears at his memorial service. Several family members spoke, and you could tell that they were just shattered.
But there was also laughter. A fellow meteorologist and close friend of the deceased delivered a short eulogy, the theme of which that Nick was “the proper amount of zany.”
But what did that mean, exactly?
The Proper Amount Of Zany
As his friend recounted, “Nick and I and Scott (another friend) got into the habit of playing cribbage on Sunday afternoon at a picnic table on the Decatur, Georgia courthouse grounds. All the while, we’d talk about the ups and downs of life.”
“Nick became very passionate about cribbage. One day he told us he’d started a blog on the game, because he’d done some checking and as far as he could tell, none existed. And there just NEEDED to be a cribbage blog.”
The Off-Kilter Approach
That slightly off-kilter approach extended to his professional life as well.
Right after a significant earthquake in Japan, his coworkers were trying to get information from the Japanese meteorological and science agencies. The trouble was, in the very early going, everything on their websites was in Japanese.
Suddenly, said his workmate, an email popped up from Nick. He was supposed to be enjoying a day off, but here he was on the computer at home. (Mind you, this was very early in the morning.)
Unprompted by anyone, he’d translated the bulletins into English and was passing them along. That was how his colleagues learned of his ability to speak several languages.
When I worked with Nick in our radio department, our morning shifts started at 3:30 a.m. The rest of us would stumble in, groggy, attend a meteorologist briefing and then head upstairs. We’d flee into our radio booths and close the doors, starting our day hermit-like while quietly and desperately slugging coffee.
Not Nick. His coffee substitute was 90s alternative rock. You could hear it trickle out of the closed door of his booth. Suddenly, it would momentarily blast full-volume as he’d open his door, run down the hall to ask if we needed help on a busy morning with answering a forecast question, or just simply grin and say “What’s up?”
Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Swirling
So how does this apply to life, liberty and the pursuit of swirling?
I think we all need to consider incorporating a little more zany into our lives, and I think that done right, it’s a real conversation-starter and people-attractor.
I’m not suggesting anyone take up cribbage, but I think it’s worth exploring some new activity as a way of giving oneself a mental jolt.
Maybe it’s time to take that finger-painting class. Or to decorate your work cubicle with Mardi Gras beads and Star Wars figurines. Or take some bacon-flavored cupcakes across the street to meet that new neighbor you’ve only waved to in passing. The possibilities are endless.
It’s OK To Be Zany
Zany is good. Zany is interesting. And you never know, you might meet someone that’s “half a bubble off plumb” (as my blue-collar friends used to say) in the exact same way you are.
Essay Copyright ©2016 Mark Woolsey. Photo of Mark Woolsey used with permission.
Copyright ©2016 Michelle Matthews Calloway, The Swirl World LLC , ASwirlGirl™, The Swirl World™, The Swirl World Podcast™, The Swirl World Inspiration Daily™, Swirl Nation™, All rights reserved. Photo property of The Swirl World™.