One of my all-time favorite movies is What’s Up, Doc?, a circa 1970s screwball comedy starring Barbra Streisand, Ryan O’Neal (a 1970s heart throb), and (new to the big screen) Madeline Kahn. Barbra Streisand is an explicitly Bugs Bunnyesque character, who works all kinds of well meaning chaos on the unsuspecting and otherwise tame life of Ryan O’Neal, aka musicologist Dr. Howard Bannister.

At one point, Barbra Streisand is pretending to be Dr. Howard Bannister’s fiancée—despite Howard’s insistence that she leave him entirely alone—for the purposes of (1) scoring a free dinner at a music convention and (2) flirting with Howard (whom she calls Steve) because she thinks he’s cute.  And so she’s sitting with all of Howard’s musicologist peers, who are considering giving him a sizable grant to help his work, and she’s lying outlandishly and telling funny stories and flirting with all these men.  Generally being charming and horrible and totally delightful.  Dr. Larrabee, the head of the foundation giving the grant, is loving it.  And he turns to Howard and says, “This girl is fun, Bannister.  F-U-N.  And if you get the grant, well, you can consider it her victory as well as yours.”

Howard gets the grant.

I’ve recently decided—I want to be fun.  With all of my thinking about adulthood and professionalism and competency at routine, I’m also losing sight, I think, of how life can be just a plain old good time when you’re around someone who’s being fun.

And I don’t just mean having fun.  I have lots of fun.  Fun to me is sleeping in.  Fun is watching episodes of House.  Fun is inviting people for dinner and then giving them assignments, so you’re all working in the kitchen together.  (One of my secret loves is delegating things.  That deserves a blog post of its own.)

But being fun?  That’s different.  Being fun means living life in such a way that others routinely have fun when they’re around you.  That’s a kicker—there’s a routineness to being fun.  It recurs, it repeats, it’s more often than not.  And it’s generative.  Being fun implies making life fun for you AND for the people around you.  We all reap the benefits of people who are fun.  With fun people, heavy couches are easier to lift, boring social events are carnivals, running errands is like attending a party on wheels, and every wrong turn / dead end / empty tank is a reason to laugh and laugh and laugh.

I think I need help.  Please don’t write in comments about how you know me and I once was fun.  (Though remember when I used to race my roommates / sisters / gchat-friends to get ready for bed?  That was fun.)  I’m 28 now, new to a city, and preoccupied with nine different things, and I’m not at all sure I am who I once was.  Instead, tell me—who do you know who’s fun (and also substantive)?  What are they like?  If a girl, do they wear bright makeup and wear bangly jewelry?  Do they talk quickly and smile and flirt with the checkers at the grocery store?  Do they stay up late, do they sing in public, do they dance in the kitchen, even on crutches, even with a cast, even with five pounds of metal in their foot?  (Are they my friend Katy V.?)

What are they like?  And how—how can we all have the faith to be more fun and be more like them?

Ready, go!