When Silly is Smart

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Family-portrait-nosesThe Anonymous Wag said, “I made a mistake once. I thought that I was wrong about something, but I turned out to be right.”

One of the great inhibiting resistances to being more in humor and laughing more is the FOAS: Fear of Appearing Silly. This condition is related to FOR: Fear of Rejection, and is often the result of too much tuning in to WPOT: What Other People Think.

Recently, on social media recently I posted a suggestion that mugging, making silly faces, just being silly, may sometimes be the wisest option. Among my grandchildren I am known as “Silly Pop-Pop”, a title I proudly accept because I heard that the word SILLY is said to have originated from the word ZELIG, which originally meant WISE. I hear ‘silly Pop-Pop’ and I think ‘wise grandfather.’


I hadn’t seen this word development claim verified, so I did some research and found that it is true. Here is the explanation of this word evolution. With this rationale I invite and encourage you to join me in making silly faces and just being goofy.

From Online Etymology http://www.etymonline.com/index.php

  • SW-silly-2-crop

  • SW-silly-crop

  • SW-hardbody

SW-hardbodysilly (adj.) Old English gesælig “happy, fortuitous, prosperous” (related to sæl “happiness”), from Proto-Germanic *sæligas (cognates: Old Norse sæll “happy,” Old Saxon salig, Middle Dutch salich, Old High German salig, German selig “blessed, happy, blissful,” Gothic sels “good, kindhearted”), from PIE *sele– “of good mood; to favor,” from root *sel– (2) “happy, of good mood; to favor” (cognates: Latin solari “to comfort,” Greek hilaros “cheerful, gay, merry, joyous”).

This is one of the few instances in which an original long e (ee) has become shortened to i. The same change occurs in breeches, and in the American pronunciation of been, with no change in spelling.

The word’s considerable sense development moved from “happy” to “blessed” to “pious,” to “innocent” (c. 1200), to “harmless,” to “pitiable” (late 13c.), “weak” (c. 1300), to “feeble in mind, lacking in reason, foolish” (1570s). Further tendency toward “stunned, dazed as by a blow” (1886) in knocked silly, etc. Silly season in journalism slang is from 1861 (August and September, when newspapers compensate for a lack of hard news by filling up with trivial stories). Silly Putty trademark claims use from July 1949.

Try a little silliness. Here are some examples of me, my family, and friends being silly. What about you and yours?napkin-heads-2015