Be Playful

From Age 38 to 8 in Thirty Seconds

Posted on: 20 April 2008

This is a guest blog post from Damien Riley of Postcards from the Funny Farm.

It’s great to have a chance to guestblog here. I am intrigued by the psychology of humor and laughter and especially by trying to maintain a childlike outlook for myself. When you truly play you learn.

When people ask me how I learned to tweak my WordPress themes, or how to do PowerPoint lessons for my classes, or anything tech I do, I always tell them I learned it through playing and experimenting. For that matter, it’s how i learned guitar and songwriting, and yes … most recently … parenting. Play is an important part of our psyche and an important way we can tap in to get inspired. I want to tell you about a time recently where I played like a kid, even though I am 38 years old!

My wife belongs to a mom’s group and this particular evening I had just got home from work and a few from her group had come over to the house to scrapbook. I was told I didn’t have to participate and could go get a Starbucks if I wanted (they have WIFI). I decided it would be cool to get out and do something so I grabbed my keys and decided to go roam the neon buzzing aisles of our local grocery store. Can you say: ‘Snacks for my lunch, SOBEs, and brown bags?’ These things get me excited nowadays, I know it’s sad. As my son, 10, and I walked through the automatic sliding doors, I saw the electric shopping carts. Now I know technically these are meant for the elderly and the handicapped, but there were 7 shiny ones in a row! Who would we be hurting? I mentioned the idea of cart racing to my son and he turned red with excitement. This was truly a moment of play!

What followed was a hilarious spin through the store that my son and I will never forget. We laughed harder than we have together in a long time. I know it is crazy and I know it will probably get rumors started in my community that people ‘saw Mr. Riley had been in a shopping wheelchair,’ but I don’t care. it was worth it getting some child-like play in. Having said that, rest assured I have decided I will never do this type of racing again.

It made the usual job of shopping a lot more fun though and it allowed me to see a perspective I don’t normally see, but they really should be reserved for the folks who truly need them.


The next time you are in a mundane environment like a grocery store, think of some way you can do it differently. It can be something as simple as arranging the foods in a different way in your cart. If you don’t mind being seen and having folks roll their eyes at you, I highly recommend shopping cart speed racing, it’ll take you from 38 to 8 in 60 seconds. This is a picture my son took of me setting mid-course. Keep laughing.

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damien-rileyDamien Riley, author, teacher and dad, keeps an eye on pop culture, the news, and humor all around us. His blog, Postcards from the FunnyFarm, covers topics including inspiration, humor, and psychology. Damien’s mission statement for his writing has been “to publish creative and innovative content” since December of 2006. He is married to Sarah, also a teacher and blogger. Together they have 3 children.

8 Responses to "From Age 38 to 8 in Thirty Seconds"

[…] reveal the details of my recent grocery store lapse of reason over at BEPLAYFUL.ORG Thank yous go out to David for offering me the guest spot.  Hopefully no one gets offended, make […]

You should only use those carts if intend on drolling a little and hitting yourself. Otherwise, its just wrong.

I’m 54 years old going on 8 myself. I took the wheelchair cart at Walmart one day. I just had knee surgery a little while ago so it was legitimate. I do agree with you, you do get a different shopping experience.

You must have had some looks come your way. I know I did when we people saw me using it. Glad you guys had fun. Fun is a necessary Part of everyday in my book.

@ jon – Thanks for stopping by to comment. I agree that being playful shouldn’t be at the expense of others. However, I resolutely disagree with your characterisation of wheelchair users as ‘drolling’ and ‘hitting themselves’. I would request that you comment more sensitively in the future.

@ Mark – one of the fun things that me and my girlfriend do is skip down the street together. We get lots of funny looks doing that too. I love to make people smile.

My hubby get’s so bored when I shop that it’s his biggest thrill to get a wheelchair to go around in (:

I remember having grocery races when I was in our youth group…I’m not exactly sure how it was planned, but we would get one person in the cart, the other driving and we’d race teams through the grocery store collecting certain items. Probably for banana splitz (: SO MUCH FUN!! And great memories.

I wouldn’t worry about your community looking down on you for this, most likely they will have seen the fun you and your son were having and that will make them smile.

Great idea, now I can’t wait to go grocery shopping next!

That is too funny! I have always been tempted, but never actually done it. Instead we play the “blast-off game” – i put the kids in the cart, they count backwards from 10 and then i zoom them down the main aisle. My 5 year old LOVES it! Someday he will probably decide it’s not cool anymore though 😦

@ katelynjane – thanks for sharing your story, it made me smile and think back to my days in youth group. Hope you can stop by again sometime.

@ Chelle – I often wish I was five again and could fit in the shopping cart! Great that you could visit my blog.

[…] From Age 38 to 8 in Thirty Seconds – a story of playfulness on a shopping spree. Thanks to Damien Riley of Postcards from the Funny Farm fame for this guest post. […]

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