Seeking smiles and glimmers of joy

I’ve been needing a little pick-me-up lately.

Hey, it happens. As we journey through life (please refer to the overall name of this column), we encounter moments of joy, sorrow and everything in between. So in my ponderings today, I’m wondering what topics might bring me – and as a result, you – a moment of merriment. You know how I love to ruminate.

Envision me with a magical literary wand, waving it about, sprinkling our lives with a (hopefully) delightful exploration of thoughts that can bring a glimmer of light.

In an expansion of my last column’s introduction of the Enigma Explorer (ahem, yours truly), let me expound on a few other mysteries of the universe, beginning with a deeper delve into The Lost Sock Conundrum. Let’s title this one The Quizzical Cosmos of Lost Socks and Spare Change.

In this entry into the annuals of The Great Inscrutables, we contemplate the cosmic connection between lost socks and the uncanny appearance of spare change in the most unexpected places, forcing us to question the fabric of reality itself. (Cue “The Twilight Zone” music.)

Not to mention, The Quandary of Leftover Tupperware Lids. Surely we’ve realized by now that almost everyone has had an encounter with Tupperware in which the lids become a separate entity, embarking on a mission to vanish into thin air, leaving us with an abundance of lidless containers. (Conjure up “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”)

And what about The Mysterious Case of Disappearing Pen Caps? Let’s face it … something’s afoot.

Sometimes, though, believe it or not, we can pinpoint a place where certain disappearing items have relocated. Let’s name this adventure The Thrilling World of Under-Fridge Expeditions. Indeed, discovery teams have occasionally retrieved lost items that have taken refuge beneath the refrigerator, encountering forgotten treasures and the occasional rogue dust bunny.

But, really, we can mull over life’s mysteries for only so long before our minds become weary. And isn’t that what we were trying to escape from? So let’s reflect on something else.

What about some new and fantastical hobbies? Consider these:

Collecting navel fluff. Yes, this pursuit actually exists, and after harvesting his belly button lint for 26 years, Australian librarian Graham Barker was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records. What’s more, the phenomenon of such fluff/lint has been scientifically studied by an atomic chemist, whose finding were published in the journal Medical Hypotheses.

Competition sleeping. This one is iffy. But if it’s real, I’m hoping to compete one day. While competitive sleeping is not widely recognized as an official sport, some people claim to practice or organize events around it. For example, the Tumblr site The National Competitive Napping League describes the rules and ratings of competitive napping. Other sites, however, acknowledge that their contests are fictional or of a satirical nature.

Cheese rolling. While not an actual hobby, this endeavor might be something to pursue on your next trip to England. Held annually in Cooper’s Hill, near Gloucester, the “sport” involves participants’ chasing a round of Double Gloucester cheese that’s rolled down a steep hill, and whoever reaches the bottom first wins. Because a real round of such cheese can reach speeds of 70 mph and inflict injuries, a foam version is now used. But the winner still gets to chow down on the real thing.

OK, so four enigmas and three new pursuits to ponder. What’s left to bring us a moment of joy? What about a punny joke?

My embarrassing hobby is covering the fifth letter of the alphabet in a thin layer of gold … It’s a gilt-E pleasure ….

Ba-dum-ching.

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Thomas FieldsThomas “Tuffy” Fields is an author and regular contributor to The Gazette. He can …

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