|Crandall Man - Getting His Work Done as a Goof Ball|
It's not procrastination.
No, procrastination implies that the work is avoided and doesn't get done. I actually goof-off to get the work done.
Ever since I began writing in college I found it productive to get silly behind my screen and to not take myself too seriously. I've always known that the work needed to be accomplished required a level of sophistication that never seemed like me. That is why I began collecting hats and odd toys so I could become someone ridiculous while doing serious, academic things. When I write, I often dress myself as some kind of dork. It might have something to do with my admiration of King Lear's Fool or that I made my high school students memorize lines from Macbeth,
It is a tale, told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.I know it sounds extremely odd, but it is true. I am fascinated with comedians and improvisation, and I love to be spontaneous in action and with ideas. The theory goes: If I live my imagination outwardly, I can harness my creativity inwardly.
In other words, I goof-off to get S**T done. I think it is successful.
Yes, I have numerous tchotchkes I've collected from gum-ball machines around the world, stuffed animals, and hats....lots and lots of hats. I have a rather impressive collection of wind-up toys, too, plenty of stickers, and a drawer of masks. I need these to be productive.
I admit that it pains me when I have to present at national conferences, especially the serious research ones, because I know I have to play a part that has never felt comfortable to me. I know what I'm doing - and I play the game within the traditional protocols for delivering knowledge - but I much prefer to pretend I'm a paid guest for Birthday parties (scary, I know). Let me live as Pee Wee Herman in my head. He makes sense to me in a way that Jim Carey and Robin Williams always made sense to me (and why I crush hard on Judy Tenuta, Ellen Degeneres, Paula Poundstone, and Roseanne Barr). I like to laugh.
A therapist might recognize this as the Crandall side of me (the Superego) wrestling with the Ripley side (the Id). As soon as I start taking myself seriously, I remember Grandpa Spence asking me to pull a finger (of course, he didn't have all his fingers and it usually was just a nub).
Ffffffffrttttt. Gotcha again.
I love the fact that Google searches present whacky images of me trying to 'empty the ocean with a fork' in my role as a Director, community-engaged scholar, teacher, and lifelong learner. It reminds me that goofing off is actually a wonderful skill to have. In fact, I've named this whimsical learning and am still upset that Howard Gardner never wrote me back when I suggested humor is another intelligence (I guess he didn't find it funny). It's s not Ivy-league enough.
My day is jam-packed with faculty handbook committee meetings, school district partnering, and of course graduate school teaching. I will be a good boy and represent seriousness as I should. But I do know, as soon as I get home, I'm going to goof off so I can get ready for another busy day on Wednesday. I have to do this, otherwise I wouldn't be able to survive.
And with that, I give you permission to be goofy today. This may be the greatest holiday of the year!