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We do not stop playing because we get old…

pillowfight…we get old because we stop playing.

Or so the old saying goes. I think there’s some truth to it. I remember my grandfather at age 90, running down the hall of his apartment building, arms extended, making airplane noises as he flew beside us, a marvelous man-child in all the right ways, and I hoped to be like him someday. Of course, I do fall into the grown-up trap of being cranky and curmudgeonly all too often, but the goal is still there. John Cougar Mellencamp put it best, “growing up leads to growing old and then to dying, and dying to me don’t sound like all that much fun.”

Years (decades) ago, my favorite acting teacher told me “it’s vital to know the difference between childlike and childish; childishness is selfish, impatient, petty and demanding, but being childlike means being open to magic and wonder and delight.” Being an actor, artist, writer or Internet jester depends in large part on being able access that childlike state.

One of the wonderful things that the internet affords us is the opportunity to indulge that penchant for the silly, absurd, nonsensical and frivolous, to find kindred spirits and co-conspirators in the grand plot to make the world a little more surreal and bizarre for the sake of amusement. Now, granted, I did once write a surly rant about “why I hate the internet” (short answer: because it allows the nutjobs to find each other), but that was really more about obsession and monomania; the Internet is a tool, and you can use a tool to build things or clobber people, the tool doesn’t care which.Anything can be unhealthy if it’s taken too far. Relax, have fun, but don’t be a nutjob.

From National Gorilla Suit Day to the No Pants Subway Ride, there are all sorts of ways to be a big kid in public for the hell of it. Groups like Improv Everywhere, flashmobs, my own beloved GuerilLA, meetup groups like Drink & Draw or Eat, Meet, Geek, all serve to connect the people who are prone to such antics.

This weekend, one such event is occurring: International Pillow Fight Day. Organizers around the world have chosen venues and arranged to stage massive pillow fights, to which you are invited. Check out the Pillow Fight Day website and see where they’re gathering in your area. Grab a pillow and let the feathers fly.

It’s fun, and as Dudley Moore’s “Arthur” once said, “isn’t fun the best thing to have?”

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Jim

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