One Sure Way Not to Take Yourself So Seriously

I’m in class, teaching difficult things.  We stress, we furrow our brows, and we cramp our fingers around our pens as we engineer new thesis positions.   We sigh with discouragement as we discuss urgent social and political matters.

I lean back, cross my legs, and expose the socks I’m wearing underneath these business slacks.  Striped pink socks with monkeys on them.  A few people laugh out loud.

I’ve always worn whimsical socks.  I put them on as the last accessory before I slip on my boring (but extremely comfortable) work shoes.

The socks remind me not to take myself so seriously.  The day stretches before me: difficult, stressful, urgent.  But the subtext of the whole day–the story underneath my professor attire–calls out to me.  There’s something fun here.  There’s something quirky, delightful, and refreshing.  Even in pain, even in sorrow, I can discover a way to giggle or roll my eyes at something silly and unprofessional.  

Might there be room in my serious day for the trivial thing that delights?  And why wouldn’t that thing be a sock?  Socks provide protection, covering, and warmth.  Sometimes I need to buffer the deep and distressful with the delightful and diverting.  

Living with flair means I don whimsical socks.  Seriously fun when I’m taking myself too seriously.  

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