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Scholar Stand-Up: Or, Finding Joy in the Silly

Tokens’ new Social Media Editor, Craig "Dusty" Katzenmiller, reflects on the funny side of academia in this week’s Monday blog. I recently learned a valuable lesson: what do you do when you don’t know what to write about? Think of when you laughed the hardest and then write about that experience.

This insight came from a meeting with Lee Camp, host of Tokens, who asked, “Have you written anything for the blog yet?” A bit startled, I replied, “Me? No.” I often have a hard time finding inspiration for this type of thing. I’m much better at asking people to write for us. And surely that’s only reasonable—after all, I am the social media editor, not the social media writer. Still, I agreed to feed posts to the blog, so I’m going to have to get used to this. Since I’m better at inviting people to write for us, Lee asked me what I would ask myself to write about if I was inviting myself to contribute. Immediately, I started thinking through various Tokens Shows so that I could find some connection, and my mind quickly landed on this clip, featuring George Goldman, Mark Hamilton, and Bob Randolph, from the our Stories We Live By episode. [audio:scholar-stand-up-1.mp3|titles=Scholar Stand Up|] I think it’s just about the funniest thing I’ve ever heard, and perhaps that says more about me than about the clip itself. Nevertheless, it’s funny to me because it resonates so deeply within me.

Don’t tell anyone, but I recently began the process of applying to a Ph.D program in Germany. Ph.D applications require one to take oneself much too seriously (or at least, that’s how I experience them), and I’ve encountered quite a lot of stress while trying to express why this program is right for me and why I am right for this program. The stress levels have been compounded by the fact that this program, which I only found out about two weeks ago, has a June 1 deadline for application.

At any rate, suffice it to say that I tend to be among those academic-types who, in addition to being notoriously clumsy, take themselves far too seriously. So the chance to pause and write a few thoughts to introduce the above audio clip has reminded me that even the most serious of people can and should take the time just to be plain silly every now and then.

And in that spirit, the next time I’m ordering a meal, I’m going to break out a good old-fashioned “Ibid.” instead of “I’ll have the same.”

How about you? Does this inspire you to bring some silliness into your daily routines? Feel free to comment below.

Peace and stuff, –Craig D. Katzenmiller

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