Wiley's Wisdom

Joy: From the Ground Up

Daily Dose of Nonsense April 10, 2014

Human communication never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes not saying anything at all says more than words. Other times words themselves bring conversation to a halt. Not to mention the nonverbal communication. And the emotions behind it all.

Me and My BuddySo I have to admit that it has been pretty interesting watching my little person develop a sense of language. Starting before he was born when he would kick my forever mom in the ribs. I think he was saying he wanted out. Then, for the first few months of his life, he has primarily cried to communicate all things.

That stopped today. Well, not exactly. The crying is still in the repertoire, but the vocabulary seems to be expanding. It’s been happening more frequently over a span of the last few weeks. But today I am sure of it. Dear baby Carter was, in his 3-month-old baby way, talking. To mom. He was looking her in the eyes and speaking. To which she would respond and he would respond and so on. Sure, mom’s words were coherent (and his were not), but that’s no matter.

Nonsense. From the ground up, that was my source of joy today. Which got me to thinking how nice it would be to find some sort of incoherent nonsense in all of our days. Some sort of absolute silliness that makes no sense at all other than that it is our daily dose of nonsense.

Suddenly I believed the words of Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein who said that “if people never did silly things nothing intelligent would ever get done.”

Because those precious moments made mom cry those same tears I used to lick off her face when she was pregnant. Tears of joy. My favorite kind. I much prefer those tears to the ones little Carter makes sometimes. I’ve even been known to hide under the bed sometimes when he cries.

So today when he chose to use what will one day become his primary source of communication, I too felt a small bit of relief. And pride. And joy. From the ground up, it didn’t matter that it was complete and utter nonsense. It was joy embodied in screeches and babbles. It was another example of the wonder of human communication. It was life.

For a sample of the new little conversationalist: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=573841715697&l=3886000390073174814

 

All In the Family January 23, 2014

A memory long forgotten. The motivation to run another mile. The last piece to a mysterious puzzle. In a few precious beats, music can evoke so many reactions deep within our hearts and minds. Today it brought laughter to my living room.

It started simply as it always does. The cast of characters is familiar, including my mom, dad, aunt Morgan, grandma and baby Carter. One second Carter was crying, the next he wasn’t. The crying ceased almost instantly upon the start of mom, Morgan and grandma singing.Family

“A stinky foofter is a smelly fart,” they cooed, “it wafts through the air, making nostrils flair. Some will turn away…others sniff, shrug and stay…a stinky foofter is a smelly fart.” And, as if on cue, a baby foofter resonated through the room as the verse drew to a close. It never ceases to amaze me how such a small person can emit such noises. And (even though he had absolutely no idea what was happening) his comic timing was uncanny.

It was a song they made up when mom and her sister were young. For those of you who are unfamiliar, foofter is our family’s word for fart, as it was long ago deemed less offensive than its counterpart in reference to human gas emission. The song is an ode both to the ridiculousness of the word itself, as well as to the quirks of the family.

Everyone knows it could hardly pass as music to anyone other than us. Most people would probably find it to be absolute gibberish. But it doesn’t matter. It worked. Carter stopped crying. And my people were laughing together. In that moment I felt completely overwhelmed with love for my (albeit admittedly quirky) loved ones. Because that’s the thing about family. From the ground up, we love. Wholeheartedly and completely and in spite of (as well as because of) all the things that make us a unique sum of our parts.

“In every conceivable manner, the family is the link to our past, bridge to our future,” suggested American writer Alex Haley.

Today music brought laughter to my living room. And with it came a reminder. Family. We need them for so much. But sometimes we need them for so little. Like a smile. Or a hug. Or, in my case today, a round of laughter thanks to an absolutely ridiculous bit of nonsense.