Ask Ceil – Robotic Fun

Dear Ceil,

Why aren’t I having more fun?

Blah in Bloomfield

Dear Blah,

Well there can be several reasons you’re not having fun.

1. You might actually be having fun, and you don’t realize it.

I mean, have you actually checked? Are you at an amusement park, or dancing with a good-looking member of the opposite sex? Perhaps it’s a beautiful day and you’re at the park, playing frisbee? Sometimes, we get so wrapped up in what we’re thinking about, we forget that we actually are having fun. This happened to me the other day. I was actually on the see-saw with my daughter, thinking about the laundry. Here’s something you can do. Every once in a while, smack yourself in the face. Then, look around. You might actually be having fun right now.

2. You might be incarcerated.

Now, I can’t speak to this first-hand, but my understanding from the many movies I’ve watched is that jail is a very un-fun place. I mean, sure, in Shawshank Redemption they eventually built that cool library with the records and books and stuff, but before that there were a lot of beatings, and an old guy committed suicide. And even if Tom Hanks is my security guard, like in Green Mile, I’d still have to make friends with a mouse.

3. You might have an unrealistically high standard for fun.

In order to get up from the couch after a night of of drinking Cristal and telling Eddie Murphy jokes to Eddie Murphy, you must effortlessly push two supermodels off of you (they weigh a combined 100 pounds), and put on your Giant Panda slippers that you received from the Chinese Prime Minister. You realize the swing set you had installed in the middle of the living room has streamers all over it, and many of the performers from Cirque Du Soliel have left already. And it’s not even breakfast. Luckily the automatic coffee maker has already ground and brewed fresh coffee, but you’re in the mood for Colombian, and you forgot that today’s brew is Sumatra. Darn.

Perhaps now would be a good time to sit back and assess: What, exactly, will enable you to have fun? If you’re not having fun, and I’m just postulating, perhaps your standard of fun is a bit high. Perhaps you’re just not appreciating the fun you’re having. You know, when you do that, fun feels bad. Fun gets upset at you, for not being appreciated. Trust me, you do not want to piss fun off. Just think about it.

4. You might not be capable of having fun.

Someone has asked you to go bowling, or go to a concert, or go to a party, or go see the U.S. Open (tennis or golf), or to come over and watch movies, and your response is, “Why?” You can’t remember the last time you had a good laugh, or even a large smile. The best you can do is manage a wry grin when someone that you don’t like trips and falls. There’s a good chance that fun is not something that you can actually have. Maybe you’re just a dead serious person, and that kind of thing, fun, just doesn’t appeal to you. I’ve seen that happen.

4a. Unless you’re drunk.

And then, someone opens a bottle of peach schnapps, and suddenly you’re the life of the party. You know who you are. All of a sudden, everyone is your best friend, and you’ve always wanted to tell Sally that you just love her sense of style, except her stuck-up husband always made you afraid to say anything. Why did she ever marry such a bore anyway? Say, why don’t the two of you catch a plane to the Bahamas right now, before old Mr. Oatmeal comes back? Now you’re having fun.

5. You may be hungover.

Of course, if you’re not having fun right now, right this minute, and especially right after you just had a lot of fun, you might be the victim of… yourself. Next time, bag the party drinks at number three. For now, drink some water, get some protein, find a dark room and wait it out. The fun will resume at some point, though you’re hoping at a very, very low volume.

6. You may have children.

You see them having fun. Oh sure, they’re laughing and giggling all the way around your house, dragging the freshly folded laundry around the floor because they have designated themselves as some sort of towel-wearing superhero. They think it’s funny to write on the walls with crayons. They think it’s hilarious to toss around so much of their dinner that you could feed a small family from what remains on your carpet. Oh. They think they’re so funny. They’re having so much fun. Aren’t they? Aren’t they?

At some point, your children will grow. Along the way, they may even help clean up the messes, but then there will be emotional messes, won’t there be? And of course, one day you’ll send them to college and you’ll cry and cry and cry. But silently, in the back of your head, you’ll hear a little champagne glass go “tink”. I’m just guessing.


Dear Ceil,

Where can I get a robotic plant?

Geek in Georgia

Dear Geek,

I was just thinking this the other day: “It sure would be friendlier around here if my plants could wave at me. I sure would feel mighty more pleasant about things in general.”

Thank goodness that a lot of time and resources went into this cyborg houseplant.

You know, some people just don’t have a lot of family. Or pets. Maybe they just live quietly by themselves, and would love to have a relationship with something where their only committment is a weekly watering. I totally support this. I think we should start animating all the inanimate objects in our world. I would love it if my coat could give me a high-five, or if my cooking utensils could, you know, cook. And if I have my way, when I die, I’d like to sit up in the casket and wave at all the funeral attendees. So much more exciting than just watching me lie there. How creepy.


Ceil Kessler is a busy mom who juggles a marketing and business intelligence consulting firm with a busy mom life and a vegetarian society. She also is going through a mid-life crisis that has her writing at every available opportunity. She will write for food and/or rent. If you have something that needs to be written and some cash, she knows where you can spend it. She has also started writing reviews of exactly one television show (“White Collar”, now on hiatus), and like everyone else, is in the middle of writing a book. Follow her on Twitter at @ceilck or ask her questions here.

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