I have discovered Fun late in life – very late, in fact. It’s not been a Fun sort of life, really. I was ill-equipped – born anxious, born solemn, born bewildered and with a sense of humour at forty-five degrees to everyone else’s. Yes folks – life has mostly been an uphill struggle!
If you type “fun” into Google Images you get all these pictures of groups of people leaping up and down, mostly in bikinis or speedos on a beach, or short frocks and afro haircuts under a glitter-ball in a disco – which of course are no longer referred to as discos – clubs, venues or whatever. What is it with all the leaping? I could never understand it. Never once been tempted to leap in the air and shout “Yay!” or alternatively “Woots!” which according to a blogging friend is now an acceptable alternative term of celebration.
Woots? No, I don’t think I can manage it, even now, having discovered Fun.
Recently, however, Fun has been creeping in – sinister, like red dust under an environmentally-controlled dome on the planet Mars – unwanted, like a pile of used paper tissues. You laugh, I used to work in a call centre with a guy who had a permanent cold and a permanent and ever-growing pile of germy paper hankies at the back of his booth.
Only in tiny amounts, mind you. Gotta be careful. Gotta start small. Who knows what a sudden inrush of Fun might do to someone like me, with a weakened immunity.
For instance I have Fun playing WordsWithFriends with Daisy and now, Mr Daisy. I have never won a single game against either of them, in spite of having a vocabulary the size of a planet. Unfortunately, they too seem to possess planet-sized vocabularies. They also possess what I do not – the ability to add up and multiply simultaneously and then retain the resulting number for more than two seconds. Those pesky little yellow tiles have numbers as well as letters. For the longest time, as my Canadian sister says, I ignored these, assuming they were merely decoration. They can also, it seems, visualise further than the next move, and keep all those possible moves in their heads. Strategy, I think it’s called. To me it’s a miracle.
A bearded and not particularly pleasant Welshman once taught me to play chess. I learned the rules, I memorised, I practised, even read books about chess. My husband asked me to teach him the rules. I did so, secretly thinking This may turn out to be the first time I am better than him at anything. My husband learned the rules and beat me within sixty seconds, first game. To be fair he is intelligent – one point short of Mensa, apparently. But it wasn’t intelligence that did it, it was something else: some utterly blank and neurone-deprived area in my brain.
However, I have what might possibly be called Fun playing WordsWithFriends. I no longer even look at the scores but enjoy the mental challenge. I look at the letters and usually a really nice word floats up to me. Then I find that although I have this really nice word, there are currently no letters on the board to attach it to, or not enough spaces to fit the word in, or that whoever designed WordsWithFriends has either never heard of the word or disapproves of it. It doesn’t matter – the puzzle is the fun.
Second small experience of this thing called Fun. I recently bought not one but three play-tunnels for my cats. They’re really for rabbits, these tunnels (they have helpful pictures of carrots on them, so the rabbits know) but the moggies love them. They are made of canvas and shaped something like that Isle of Man three-footed thing:
The cats bomb up and down inside these tunnels, colliding with each other or chasing screwed-up pieces of paper or little jingly balls I throw in there. They also require me to jiggle the outside of the tunnel with a foot. Even when three x three-legged tunnels are joined together – it’s possible, there are toggles and loops; it makes the whole thing like something out of Colditz – a cat can zoom from one end to the other and painfully attach itself to one’s slippers/toes through the canvas – in microseconds: impossible to resist the Fun of tempting an in-tunnel moggie, though I do occasionally use the broom rather than my foot to save wear and tear on the toes. The cats know, this is the thing. Sometimes they even poke their heads out as if to say
Get on with it, woman. Make with the slippers.