An Ode to Fluff (in a Sober Season)

It is indisputable.  We live in historically stressful times.  While a worldwide pandemic rages on, growing worse by the day, while crises arise in both far-flung places and close to home, and while perhaps the most consequential election in American history approaches, people everywhere feel a sense of anxiety, a tightening of the chest, a species of fear.  When will the pandemic end?  How will we get out of this?  When will we feel safe again?  When can we return to a sense of normalcy?  Stressful times, indeed.

Great whites found to contain very high amounts of mercury and arsenic -  Insider

 

And while it is important to engage, to tackle the issues and problems of our time head-on, to speak out for truth and common sense–there is also something else that is important: our well-being, our state of mind.  Our sanity itself.  One thing is certain–too much stress and anxiety, especially over a protracted period of time, can have a deleterious effect on our health.

So, what to do?  Well, there is much we can do.  Go out for a jog, get the heart pumping.  Write a poem, or a novel.  Or a song.  Read a book.  Do Pilates or Tai chi.  Volunteer in the community.  Mow the lawn.  Meditate.  Take a night and go to bed early–regardless of what you have to do.  But one thing I try to do when the pressures of life seem too great, when the vice pinches tighter, when the clouds darken and multiply in a bruised sky the color of gunmetal is–to seek out something fun.

Dreary and cool day ahead

 

I am a proponent of the serious, the studious, the deep, and multilayered as much as anybody.  But in times like these, when the world is collectively holding its breath, there is also much to be said about lighthearted, airy entertainment.  Do you have a “guilty pleasure”?  Perhaps a silly movie or absurd TV show that you love?  Does a certain sitcom make you laugh, even as you realize how ridiculous it is?  What do you enjoy that is fluff, light on substance but high on laughs?  There must be something.

Sugar Free Marshmallow Fluff - Step Away From The Carbs

 

Seek it out.  Take an evening and stream some episodes or, to go old school, break out a DVD and pop it in.  But give yourself permission to enjoy something frivolous.  Are you a Seinfeld fan?  The GolbergsModern Family?  What about The Big Bang Theory?  Or maybe it’s a movie.  Maybe it’s an old movie–perhaps a golden oldie like Caddyshack or Trading Places or The Seven-Year Itch.  Maybe it’s all of them and more.

Episode 44: THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH with Grae Drake — CLARKE WOLFE

 

For me, when I’m in need of something to make me laugh and forget about the strains and the struggles for a while, I turn to Cheers, The Honeymooners, and–though not exactly a comedy, and certainly not altogether lighthearted–Forrest Gump.  Or maybe I’ll seek out a classic 1970s sitcom like Sanford and Son or Happy Days.  Or something really old like The Philadelphia Story, or, my all-time favorite, It’s a Wonderful Life.  Again, not all of these are pure fluff.  The point is, they take me away on a pleasant journey.  They allow me to disengage for a time.  They make me laugh.  They sometimes make me cry (but in a good way; the climax of It’s a Wonderful Life gets me every time).  They enable me to step away from the insanity and the craziness and the deadlines and the worries and the anxieties and the strife, and they provide a moment of respite, a safe space, an oasis overflowing with elixirs for the soul.

The Odd Places It's A Wonderful Life Has Turned Up | Den of Geek

 

Your places of fun-filled and lighthearted refuge may be different from mine.  But you have them.  You have your go-to sources for comfort.  We all do.  So, on this Halloween weekend, I hope you have the chance to dip your toe in, if only for a while, to settle in and relax and laugh.  Laugh at something silly.  Laugh at some corny, dated sitcom produced in the years before you were born or a contemporary comedy that never fails to amuse.

Stressors are all around us.  And real problems need to be tackled and overcome.  But we can all benefit from taking a brief detour in a friendly neighborhood bar where “everybody knows your name” or a lively and song-filled jaunt down the Yellow Brick Road.  I know I can.

There's no place like home: The Wizard of Oz, 80 years on

 

And, maybe, just maybe, this weekend I will.

Thanks so much for reading!

–Mike

20 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner
    Oct 31, 2020 @ 14:54:49

    Hmmm…now you’ve inspired me to watch an Abbot and Costello favorite. “The Time of Our Lives” is on my watchlist now. Thanks Mike…enjoy and be well!

    Reply

  2. joannerambling
    Oct 31, 2020 @ 21:55:45

    The older I get the older the shows and movies I like are

    Reply

  3. Lyn
    Nov 01, 2020 @ 05:21:36

    Right now…even as I type, I’m watching Alex Ryder – Stormbreaker I need an escape. Comedy (as we know it) just won’t do it. I need good to triumph over evil.

    Reply

  4. TheDreamGirlWrites
    Nov 03, 2020 @ 06:52:37

    I’m turning to cartoons for my escape. What better way to experience nostalgia and warmth and laughter!

    Reply

  5. selizabryangmailcom
    Nov 03, 2020 @ 19:10:48

    Such good advice. Petting animals, exercise, watching light entertainment. We need those endorphins right now! And I’ll watch all of Cheers–except the last episode, lol (it’s kinda tear-jerker)

    Reply

  6. Ste J
    Nov 04, 2020 @ 12:31:43

    It is a balance, for escapism I either go full on aggressive with literature or films like 2001: A Space Odyssey, or end up watching Nightmare on Elm Street or The Goonies. Good call on Cheers though, that theme tune is a classic!

    Reply

    • The Eye-Dancers
      Nov 05, 2020 @ 12:03:13

      I am right with you. Definitely there are times when my escapism tends to lean toward horror or other dark places. But for now, I am all in with the fluff! Cheers is absolutely a go-to source for laughs. And–as ancient as it is–I love The Honeymooners.

      Reply

  7. Anna Waldherr
    Nov 22, 2020 @ 22:29:20

    Have a Happy Turkey Day!

    Reply

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