“And now,” cried Max, “let the wild rumpus start!”
– Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are
The above would be my favorite line from one of my favorite children’s stories. I first heard of the story of Max and his journey to the land of monsters (no spoilers, I promise) when I was around six My mother read it aloud to me one bedtime. I was a big fan of bedtime stories, and I remember instantly falling in love with the word “rumpus”. The word rumpus made me think of bouncing up and down on a springy mattress (Something everyone should try every now and then. I recommend doing this in hotel rooms, when no one’s looking.)
Rumpus also calls to mind another favorite childhood activity: banging on pots and pans. I was brought up to be a quiet little girl, so I always relished every New Year’s Eve, when I would be given the license to smash pots and pans together. Rumpus reminds me of every pillowfight, every tickling contest, and every laugh trip that lasted beyond ten minutes. It reminds me of every time I danced with reckless abandon despite two left feet and poorly-developed body coordination (at least whenever dancing was concerned.) Rumpus reminds me of every silly, harmless thing I ever did just for the sheer fun of it. Even if it didn’t really qualify as a “rumpus” or even as a “ruckus”*.
I think every human being should have the opportunity to be ridiculous. Which is why I enjoy the weekly departmental dress-up day (A practice I picked up from my two and a half years in UP Baguio.) And it’s also why I believe in laughing loud and often. And why, like Alice (oh she of the Vorpal Sword), I try to “believe in as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Which is also why, just this morning, I did this:
I am, of course, fully aware that extreme versions of planking pose serious risks to people. (Harmless, pointless fun is one thing, but risking your life just so you can have bragging rights?) I also am aware that, as of this writing, planking is already considered passé, and that enthusiasts have moved onto other pursuits such as owling or leisure diving or the suicidal toothpicking (which I think should be made illegal because it’s basically a spinal injury waiting to happen.)
And I seem to have lost my point altogether.
Ah yes, the rumpus. And being ridiculous.
It all boils down to this: It’s healthy to not take myself too seriously every now and then. It’s healthy to poke fun at myself on occasion. Because when I can laugh and poke fun at myself, I know that my sense of humor is intact.
If I had no sense of humor, I would long ago have committed suicide. ~Mahatma Gandhi
Humor has a way of bringing people together. It unites people. In fact, I’m rather serious when I suggest that someone should plant a few whoopee cushions in the United Nations. ~Ron Dentinger
I rest my case.
*But perhaps it can still be argued that in certain cases where an episode of silliness didn’t technically qualify as a “rumpus”, because of the lack of disruptive noise, my brain cells were gleefully dancing around, (as they sometimes do. Figuratively.) resulting in a sort of internal “rumpus”**.
**And now I’ll give the word rumpus a rest, having used it
ten eleven times so far.
© Lynette Carpio 2011