The Serious Side of Silly (and Snails)

I heard an interview on Radio NZ National on the way to the library, interviewing the man who verifies the Guinness World Records, Chris.


He talked about a several records he had personally seen broken, and some of the weird and wonderful things that this job had allowed him to experience. There were two in particular that stood out for me: a fully functional, road-approved 3-seater sofa that could reach up to 140km/hour *Bang, bang! Chitty, chitty bang, bang!*… and the most snails you could fit on a face.

Yes, you read that correctly. Snails-on-a-face.

What I found interesting about this was not the feat in itself (I thought it was silly and gross), but Chris’ comments about this task. He said (I’m paraphrasing here) the task, in fact, is far more serious than one might originally think.


The snail handlers have to know exactly what they’re doing, as they need to be able to judge the direction the snails would move so as to fit the most possible on. And it can’t be easy having 43 snails on your face.

This is where the mood of the interview changed somewhat. In a more sombre tone, he expressed the loss of imagination in grown-ups, which I (obviously) completely agree with. His view really made me think about what that actually means, though. You see, he claimed it is because children take everything seriously, that they can be imaginative and, well, silly. On the other hand, grown-ups are only silly when marketers tell us we should be. The example he used was the rugby – this is something that a lot of kiwis take uber-seriously, and will go to great lengths to show their seriousnessโ€ฆ but it’s really just “a bunch of big guys running at each other as hard as they can” (his words, not mine – I always feel like I’ll be exiled from NZ on admitting I don’t like rugby).

Santa Claus is another example. Why do we shun other traditions that have arguably become null in the contemporary world, but keep Santa Claus alive? A fat, old man travelling the world in one night on flying reindeer, with a sack of presents for every single child in the first world. You don’t believe in water-to-wine, but you uphold this?

Children take everything seriously – or, at least, they choose what to take seriously and what they shun, whereas grown-ups will only be silly when people who can make a bunch of money out of it tell us that it’s okay. So I leave you with this:

  • If you’re a child, pause for a moment and remember exactly what life is like now, what you’re feeling, and what’s special to you, so when you grow up (which I hope you never do), you can remember what’s really important.
  • If you’re an adult, take silliness seriously.

11 thoughts on “The Serious Side of Silly (and Snails)

  1. You just gave me the greatest idea for my ‘farewell’ party coming November. The theme will be Lost Illusions From Your Childhood. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am curious what people will come up with! ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. ๐Ÿ™‚ I am probably setting up a website for the trip. First of to Thailand, then Indonesia ๐Ÿ™‚ and as the last stop: New Zealand. (oh yes!) ๐Ÿ™‚ Getting on the hop on hop off bus Stray, but maybe we have to time to meet? Would be nice! ๐Ÿ˜€


  2. Ah, the snails make me sick. Great article Zee. I was watching Star Trek a few years ago, the first in the reboot movies. And my girlfriends mother had been drinking a little bit, turned to me and said ‘You know, you remind me of Spock!’ So I guess I need to lighten up a little lol.


    1. Best advice I’ve been given is to lighten up. You need your down time as well, but make sure it’s in balance with fun-ness. You know you should be worried when someone else points it out. My parents just bought a new house, and my dad said I needed to approve as I’m extremely critical. Oops.

      Vashti recently wrote a fun zombie post, and there was a comment left about it being ok to not be serious all the time. Can’t remember exact link but it’s worth checking out.


      1. I kind of have fun with the serious thing though. In my own way, being serious and putting peoples backs up, kind of makes me laugh.

        I’ll check Vashti’s post out, thanks ๐Ÿ˜€


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