Matt W Cook

writer.former fundamentalist.christianly fellow

Tag: fun

Hey Ruth, I’m writing essays and stuff

I find, though, that it’s hard to talk to others about the excitement I get from doing all this school stuff. Right now I’m writing an essay on the subject of change and relativism in Montaigne’s work. It’s very exciting. Until I tell others about it.

“Phaw, that’s dumb,” they say. “What a pointless topic. Why don’t they teach you something useful?

I feel like if the thing you’re doing doesn’t cure cancer or make money, people think there’s no point to it. Which is funny and sad. I sometimes wish I could turn it on its head. I can imagine someone telling me about their day at work.

“Phaw, that’s dumb,” I’d say. “What’s the point in going to work?”

“Money, duh,” they’d reply.

“What’s the point in money? Can’t eat it.”

“I can buy things with it. Food and rent and video games and stuff.”

“What’s the point in food and rent and video games?”

“They’re fun!” he’d say, justifiably annoyed with me.

And then I’d ask the most profound stupid question I can think of: “What’s the point in fun?”

But there is no point. Fun is awesome in itself. That’s why people work long hours–to get money that buys them fun. Too bad the money is put in such a focus that folks forget it’s just a means to an end. We feel so sad when we check out at the grocery store, as we hand over wads of paper in exchange for awesome edibles.

I like the essays. I enjoy examining Montaigne’s understanding of organic change and relativism in the light of Augustine’s progressive change rooted in absolutism. It’s fun. It makes my day. If I had the time, I would probably do it even if they didn’t promise me a grade and a degree at the end. Just like I’ll keep writing novels no matter how many rejection slips show up in my inbox. The reward for this labour is not coming later–I’m enjoying it now.

Like the Preacher said,

There is nothing better for a person than that he should eat and drink and find enjoyment in his toil.

Enjoy the toil of your tenth day, Ruth. I’ll say Hey again tomorrow.

Better Than a Good Night’s Rest

There’s not much better than a god night’s rest, eh?  Not much better then that satisfied feeling of haivng gotten enough sleep.  That feeling of your eyes being wide open.

I don’t feel that right now.

It’s been days since my last good night’s rest.

Because some things are better.  Some things beat a good night’s rest.  Some things are just worth more.

  • Beaches on warm summer days are better than a good night’s rest.
  • Laughs with friends are better than a good night’s rest.
  • Wrestling matches with children are better than a good night’s rest.
  • Video games with your wife are better than a good night’s rest.
  • Sneaking into a public pool on a warm summer’s night is better than a good night’s rest.
  • Making out is definitely better than a good night’s rest.
  • Good talks are better than a good night’s rest.
  • Taking your children out for coffee and chocolate milk is better than a good night’s rest.
  • Blasting through your daily writing quota is better than a good night’s rest.
  • Cooking food your family loves is better than a good night’s rest.

Because of all these things, it’s been a while since I’ve had a good night’s rest.

I’m glad.  Because I’ve been too busy touching people, creating things and living great experiences to sleep right.  And that’s just fine by me.

What is more important than sleep to you?

Thoughts on Being a Goofy Dad

     I spent an hour jumping on my bed yesterday.

     I could pretend that I was doing it just so my daughter would feel love and attention. I could pretend that I didn’t enjoy it and I was just putting in my ‘daddy time’ until I could go and read something mature and venerable. But that would be a lie. I freaking love jumping on beds.

     When we were done, I played video games with my son. That was a bit of a serious thing. We’re about 70% through Lego Star Wars and we’re eager to get the 10x Power Brick. I couldn’t pretend to just be going through the motions on that one. It was clear on my face.

     I’m a goofy dad. Almost every day I put on ridiculous music and dance like a ten-year-old with my kids. They seem to enjoy it. I sure do.

     There is something very freeing about being goofy. It allows me to do things that most people would feel self-conscious about. Like dancing in public, wearing silly clothing and chasing my kids around the playground with wild abandon.

     It also helps me connect with my kids. All kids are goofy, and that goofiness tends to fade as they grow up. It just never really went away with me. I don’t know why, but I’m glad it didn’t. Because I know exactly why my daughter loves jumping on the bed and making fart jokes. Because I also love jumping on the bed and making fart jokes. And I also know exactly why my son loves getting every achievement in video games and making fart jokes. Because I also love those achievements and I still love fart jokes.

     “Act your age.”

     Screw that. I’m going to act fun. Three, thirteen or thirty, I’m going to act fun. Because I think that when I stop having fun, I’ll die. And I don’t want to die.

     So I’ll jump on the bed and make my fart jokes. I’ll run and scream in the playground. The kids will laugh and smile with me while a few oh-so-serious parents look on with frowns. I don’t care. I love life. And jumping on beds is a part of life.

Writing with Mom

     I’m going to a writer’s conference in May. I went last year. It was a blast. You should come.

     I went alone last year. It was fun, but I wanted company this time. So I called my mom. That’s right, my mom. I can hear the snickers from all those cool guys who never brought their loci of identity inside.

     I feel bad for those cool guys. Because it’s never very fun to be cool. When you’re cool you can’t be yourself. When you’re cool, you can’t hang out with your mom. Because hanging out with your mom is decidedly uncool.

     I’ve wondered why. Why don’t people hang out with their parents? I mean, sure everyone gets together around holidays and stuff. But I go to coffee shops and conferences with my mom and I go camping and hiking with my dad. We hang out. We do stuff. Like buddies. I get the impression that other people don’t do those things with their parents.

     I can’t say for sure, because I’ve only had one set of parents, but I think mine are just generally more fun than most. My mom is into literature and geocaching and fiction. My dad is into computers and film and outdoorsy stuff. It’s just fun to be with them. And I think that all us siblings feel the same way.

     Remember that time when all the kids were trying to get to Jesus and the oh-so-serious bystanders were trying to stop them? Ever wonder why the kids were trying to get to Jesus? Do you suppose they were thinking, ‘Hey! This is a great teacher who comes bearing the message of light and love.’? Naw. There’s only two ways to get a kid to come to you. One is candy, and I doubt Jesus had much. The other is fun. Jesus must have been fun.

     So after looking at Jesus and my parents, I realize that it’s wildly important that my kids think I’m fun. So I’ll play DDR 2 with my son (though I guess I’d play that even if I didn’t have kids). I’ll colour pictures with my daughter. I’ll build a snow fort. I’ll wrestle on the ground. I’ll stand in the frozen park across the road watching my kids play on the monkey bars. Whatever it takes to make it so that when my kids are 29 and they want to go to a writer’s conference or a weekend trip, they invite me. Whatever it takes.

When Was the Last Time You Played?

When was the last time you listened to a favorite song and pretended you were the lead singer?
When was the last time you built a fort?
When was the last time you wore something silly just because it looked silly?
When was the last time you talked to a stranger?
When was the last time you danced in public?
When was the last time you played with a toy boat in the bath?
When was the last time you drew a picture with crayons?
When was the last time you played with Lego?
When was the last time you climbed a tree?
When was the last time you jumped from couch to chair, pretending the floor was lava?
When was the last time you pretended to be a dinosaur?
When was the last time you played in the rain?
When was the last time you did a cartwheel?
When was the last time you ate something weird?
When was the last time you jumped in a puddle?
When was the last time you had a pillow fight?
When was the last time you imagined you were someone else?
When was the last time you dyed your hair a ridiculous colour?
When was the last time you wore something because you liked it, instead of because everyone else dresses that way?
When was the last time you believed you could change the world?
When was the last time you were entranced by a trick of light?
When was the last time you read a joke book?
When was the last time you went to bed excited about the upcoming day?

When was the last time you refused to let society define what it means to ‘act your age?’
When was the last time you played?