Gallivanting and Lollygagging

November 27, 2012

Since my last post, now too long ago, my wife and I have not only gone gallivanting (rambling and roaming), but we’ve also done some serious lollygagging, which my thesaurus suggests is to dillydally, shilly-shally, dawdle, or loiter. I confess that in our amazing trip to New England we drove a little too fast to qualify for loitering, but probably dawdled along the road so we could stare at the wonders. The local Vermont guys in big pickups tailgating and racing by us might have said “shilly-shally,” if they knew that word.

I suspect you can also think of lollygagging as traveling with your eyes wide open, in a spirit of fun, and enjoying the journey without being narrowly focused on the destination. Even when you’re not taking a grand tour, this approach may lighten traveling through life.

We smiled and laughed often about unfamiliar and surprising sights and sounds. Geographical names offered us runs, knobs, hollows, and notches. Gnaw Bone, Indiana caught our eye, followed later by Pig’s Ear Road, Soap Fat Road, Chocolog Road, and Deeper Rut Road, a dead end near Cabot’s Cheese Factory in northeastern Vermont.

Often people put things side by side in ways that made us laugh and say, “You have to be kidding!” Like the mini-market marquee that advertised, “GUNS, WEDDING DRESSES, COLD BEER.” You can ponder the connections. Just down the road from that shop, next to a cemetery, a sign announced “Resurrection Hair Salon,” maybe for new kinds of hair-raising experiences. Still nearby, a small building sported the sign “Rapid Redemption.” I was glad to learn it’s a recycling depot for cans and bottles, not a church. In Ohio, Becker Cemetery Monuments promoted seat-belt safety with a small billboard urging “Buckle Up for Becker.” I think I will.

Other sights made us grin and scratch our heads. One small Vermont shop had a sign picturing a spinning wheel and the words “Six Loose Ladies.” We kept driving, though I still hope my friends who use spinning wheels might explain this to me. The fact that we saw this bumper sticker near Washington, D.C. might help explain it, “Earth is full. Go home.” Finally, Margi spotted a sign that said, “If you’re looking for a sign, this is it.” At last!

Grand promises sometimes reminded us that humor often works through exaggeration. We chuckled, maybe not charitably, at the dumpy little drive-in restaurant advertising “The World’s Best Clam Chowder.” And the “Truth Assembly Chapel” reminded me of an off-campus house my students named the “All Truth Center.” In praise of grand claims, though, Maine’s “best” coffee roastery was excellent. Sadly, it seemed to be Maine’s only coffee roastery and we discovered it the morning we drove out of Maine.

I laugh easily (too easily, one former student thinks) and see funny where others are serious. Like at the Indianapolis Airport where I noticed a closed, gray, windowless door marked “Terminal Services.” It seemed ominous to me, whispering darkly that the Tea Party in Indiana might be right about “death panels.” I didn’t mention that while I was there, of course, since some uniformed airport personnel seem humor-impaired. But I enjoyed it.

The grand tour is now over, and we’re settling back into daily life in our town. But I think I’ll still lollygag around with my eyes wide open, in a spirit of fun, enjoying the journey. Wherever you are, I hope you’ll lollygag, too.


Living in Fun

"Walking Cheerfully" is place to think out loud about how to use and enjoy humor in positive, life-giving ways. We’ll explore how following Christ in all of life can shape, not scuttle, laughter and creative play. What might it mean to laugh with others as you would have them laugh with you?

Probably the other most common posts will be "Finds in Fun." I first learned the phrase “being in fun” from Tom Mullen’s Laughing Out Loud and Other Religious Experiences. He points to the playfulness of children, who are readier to laugh and to see the silly than most adults. Living each day “in fun” often makes us laugh as we slog through a nearly endless supply of things odd, silly, klutzy, and preposterous. The stories here are mostly from my own ordinary, “in fun” days.

Fun Nooks and Crannies

There’s “Humor in the Bible,” and these posts explore where it is, how to find it, and what to do with it. It’s one way of thinking about how to read the Bible well.

Since a lot of us spend big chunks of time at work, the “Humor at Work” posts will suggest ways to stay sane and happy, to get along with cow-orkers, and to use humor to do good work.

I’m a book-pusher at heart, and some of my best friends push books, too. I even know some folks who read. So “Fun Books” posts will tell about books that are funny and help us think about humor.

Sometimes I’ll brag on some of the friends I’ve been given or share some photos I’ve enjoyed taking. Maybe you’ll laugh, maybe not, but they’ve brought joy in my journey.

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