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The Importance of Being Serious


The Importance of Being Earnest

This is a speech that I wrote and competed with in high school.  It was a grand old time and I hope you enjoy.

            I am here to impress upon you the dire need in our culture for being serious, or in other words, the importance of being earnest. Too many people live their life in a shallow and superficial manner.  Life is more than frivolity.  As a friend of mine once said, “Surely we need to go deeper than Calvin and Hobbes.” Of course, looking back on my short life’s precious play, I have with humor overcome incredible obstacles, connected with people of all ages, and enjoyed every moment; but still, being taken seriously has its advantages.  …………….Advantages are highly overrated.

            There are times when it is important to be serious, for example when talking about economics, ergonomics, electronics, and cold fusion.  Let us look at some other times when it is important.  Disciplining is one of those.  Dogs and small children rely on body language and a serious demeanor to understand what you are communicating.  Let’s say your Great Dane one day tackles you elderly neighbor lady.  If you laugh while yelling at him, he may think that it is a game … and start keeping score.   A while back my brother and I were standing around watching our older brother try in vain to teach his dog to sit.  Finally, in utter frustration he yelled “SIT” with such authority that my brother and I immediately sat down.  Disciplining children is much the same; you must maintain a somber tone.  What kind of parents do you think the Three Stooges would make?  Speaking of the Three Stooges, my father thinks he raised them.  Out of the three of his sons I’m the serious one, but his favorite son---is our foreign exchange student.

            In addition, there are also many professions that require a more serious approach.  We don’t hear many brain surgeons saying, “Now watch his foot when I flick this part of his brain.”  Another job that wouldn’t mix well with a sense humor is a spacecraft engineer.  How would you like to be hundreds of miles from the ground sitting on a spaceship built by a practical joker?  Think of the monumental headaches that would come of it.  Buttons that don’t do what their labels say, the owner’s manual in Swahili, or an escape pod with a sticky note reading, “Some assembly required.”  Sports is another profession that is chock-full of serious people.  In fact, they are so serious about sports that they may overlook others areas of importance—like education. The following are actual quotes from coaches, players, and commentators:
            Joe Theismann ~ "Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein."
            Yogi Berra ~ "Baseball is 90% mental -- the other half is physical."
            Charles Shackleford ~ "Left hand, right hand, it doesn't matter. I'm amphibious."
            Jason Kidd ~ "We're going to turn this team around 360 degrees."
            Rocky Graziano  ~ I quit school in the sixth grade because of pneumonia. Not because I had it, but because I couldn't spell it."
            Greg Norman  ~ "I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father"

There are actuallyadvantages of being serious.  They are that it, one, Gives the façade of intelligence, two, Represents respectability, three, Increases awareness, and four, Makes for privacy.

            First, there are times that even if you don’t know what you are talking about, a serious expression may convince some people of what you are saying.  Take for example most politicians.  As Jacques Chirac, the whatyamacallit of France said, “Un pomme de terre frites en café noir!”  French fries and black coffee!  Thus, a serious expression can give you the façade of intelligence.   

            Secondly, as for representing respectability, bankers for example should avoid practical jokes. “I’m sorry Mr. Jones but you owe us $40,000.  If you can’t pay by Tuesday we will have to take your home, car, and first born child.” *laughing* “Got ya, man, you should have seen your face…  Mr. Jones?” 

            Thirdly, how does it increase awareness?  Most mothers take their parenting very seriously.  A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments, soccer games, romances, best friends, favorite foods, hopes, and dreams. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in his house.  Recently while eating out for breakfast, my family and I noticed a family of five.  The father was absorbed in reading the newspaper while the mother tried to keep the three small children within the tight confines of the booth, feed them, hush them, and scrape their eggs off the table, wall, and each other.  While watching this spectacle my father very astutely observed, “He doesn’t even know they are there.”  If some fathers were more serious about their parenting they would become more aware of those short people living in their house.

            Lastly, it gives us privacy because not many people like hanging out with a serious person.  I have found that serious people many times are very critical people.  My policy is before you criticize someone, you should walk a mile in their shoes.  That way when you criticize them, you are a mile away from them and you have their shoes.

            Let us look one more time at the advantages of being serious:

G  ~ Gives the façade of intelligence
R  ~ Represents respectability
I   ~ Increases awareness
M ~ Makes for privacy
So when in doubt go with G.R.I.M.

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            You are probably wondering what a boy like me is doing in a face like this.  I was inspired to give this speech because I have seen the error of my ways.  It’s too late for me! But some of you out there teetering on the brink, turn back now before it’s too late!  Save yourselves from the shallow existence of taking nothing seriously, save yourselves from the agony of laughing all day, save yourselves from the pit of humor.

            Some serious side effects of being serious may include; loss of sleep, crankiness, and feeling old.  In some rare cases death and depression did occur.  You should not be serious if you are entertaining small children, or are operating heavy machinery. 
            Seriousness ~ a way of life, not just a choice.


Stan Fletcher from Nashville, TN on January 17, 2011:

Shadow - This was funnier than hell. I wish I could adequately express to you how well written and funny it is. "A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in his house." That lined killed me. The whole thing was great. Rated up, funny and awesome and following you now too.

shadowdweller (author) from Just south of the middle of nowhere. on May 11, 2010:

Thanks Majedez,i always enjoy making people laugh.

Zac828, i tried to have a serious speech about the importance of humor that was an epic i decided to try a different approach.

Zac828 from England on May 11, 2010:

I heartily agree, and the message is very right. I have given this a serious thumb up and congratulate you on your asute observance of the world around.

Perhaps a G.R.I.M facebook group?

(great hub!)

Majadez on May 07, 2010:

Great hub. You got some serious laughing out of me. ;)

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