A Guy Lichened to a Mushroom

Riddle: Why did the lichen go out with the mushroom?

Answer: Because he was a fungi.

Does anyone else get very nervous when they hear that a guy is Fun? Fun guys scare me because, as far as I can tell, Fun guys don’t know how to have fun for less than about $50 an hour. Fun guys run around doing things with speedboats, parachutes, and submachine guns – all things that make you go wide-eyed and “wow that’s so cool” although it’s never seemed cool enough for you to actual waste money on it.

Fun guys don’t really get why you haven’t, though. Possibly it’s because you’re not Fun. They get a kick out of regaling you with tales of their Fun exploits going back to high school when they purchased a $300 motor for their bicycle. And in return, the most you can offer them are relatively parsimonious exploits involving 12-foot-long potato eyes or diet coke and mentos.

I never get very far with Fun guys. In the briefest case, we never went out at all because the shadchan changed her mind after Fun Guy strolled into her house unabashedly wearing a $200 tie. “Maybe he’s not for you after all,” she said.

Fun guys scare me because the fairly innocuous label Fun implies the dreaded label High Maintenance. Guys who need to hop onto jetskis or ATVs on a regular basis in order to feel like they’re enjoying themselves are an Expensive Proposition. I somehow feel confident that my husband and I will have enough to argue about without a signed and sealed guarantee that we’ll also argue over recreational expenses.

It’s not that I don’t get a kick out of adrenaline rushes.  It just doesn’t make my list of necessities for survival. On a tight, newlywed budget, or hampered by containing a miniature human, I could have plenty of Fun with old newspapers and packing tape. To me, Fun can exist without adrenaline.

Whereas, one gets the impression that a Fun guy, deprived of high-end, high-speed, high-altitude, and high-tech Fun, would either lose his identity and melt away into just another dreary, overweight, cubicle gopher, or chafe at the bit and run away, probably in a red sports convertible averaging 106 mph.

And who needs that?

When I try to recall the most memorable moments of my life, they don’t involve speed, height, or fancy equipment. Usually they do involve creating/accomplishing something, learning something, or spending time with people.

Things Bad4 Does or Would Like to Do for Fun:

Make elaborate Purim costumes

Throw parties with interesting new foods or fun themes

Hike in relatively remote wilderness (swim there too [if applicable])

Sing along to a fun song while strumming an air guitar or dancing around the room with a family member

Tap a maple tree and make syrup out of it

Study martial arts

Tease Good4 (maybe this should be #1?)

Bike/roller blade/run with a friend

Kayak around Manhattan (okay, never gonna happen…)

Scuba dive (one day… okay maybe not. But here’s my splurge)

Grow a vegetable garden

Play Settlers of Catan

Water fiiight!

Meet new people and hear about their lives

Read a funny book on a green lawn in a light breeze with a frosted glass of water and a big pile of cookies just an arm’s length away

Play tag (come on… you know you want to!)


51 thoughts on “A Guy Lichened to a Mushroom

  1. I was hoping from the title that you were going to go into some Super Mario metaphor… oh well, still a great post! (And I love that fungi joke!)

    Great list of fun!

    Yesterday Target had a sale on this Nerf gun with a rotating barrel, shoots like 100 darts… so me and my cousins each bought 1 and had a major dart fight! Good, random, cheap fun! 🙂

  2. If the fun guy earns enough to pay for his tie & jetskis, what’s the problem? A guy who’s fun is likely to be fun at work too, which often leads to career advancement and a higher salary. If you are being called upon to support a fun guy, I laugh uproariously. A guy who expects his wife to support HIM in the style to which HE has become accustomed? That’s a different world, sister.

  3. I agree with tesyaa, I’m not about to give up my flying anytime soon and I like snowmobiling and hope to try jet skis this summer. I do these things b/c I can afford them, when money is tight, I stop for a while. If I want to do these things after I get married, I will have to make more money, hopefully I will. Just b/c I like to do the expensive stuff, doesn’t mean I can’t have fun for free. I enjoy outdoor activities and I’m easily amused. Also since I’m single, I’m not responsible for anyone besides myself, I can wear a $200 tie if I want. If I were married, I’d probably go with cheaper stuff, as long as the wife likes it.

  4. Perhaps when the Guy gets pitched as “fun” you could ask “what kind of fun?” Of course, that means MORE annoying shadchan questions…

  5. I am also leery of “fun” describing a fellow; that means what? If there’s a Purim party going on, he’s the first to pounce on the liquor and dance on the table wearing a skirt, because that’s what “simcha” means?

    I don’t think so.

    But don’t hate the $200 ties. They are a matter separate from “fun,” and should not be messed with. They have their place, and yes, they are worth the $200.

  6. perhaps as tesyaa hinted at is that someone who is not really going to rest on his laurels with fun, is more likely to seek advancement at work etc. Being motivated to accomplish more, to get that next dollar (high?) is one of the greatest things about being in NYC. It is constantly moving because there is that underlying attitude of moving up, pushing forward, going further.

    While this may not be what you want personally, such a drive exists in healthy outlets (ie commerce) and not-as-healthy ones (ie skydiving). While a small-town laissez-faire attitude is what some want, they aren’t necessarily the ones earning the big bucks. (which is also fine for many who just want a simple, secure, lifestyle)

  7. How are you supposed to play tag if you’re shomair nagia? Capture the flag w/ dart guns is awesome though.

  8. Fun does not have to mean high price tag. It can mean home cooking your own ballistic gelatin to shoot at, or better yet, since soaked(24hr full immersion) newspaper does the same thing, and printers are always trying to unload old papers for free…

    Yeah I like jet skis and ATV’s but I am smart enough to have friends/family that own them and invite me along regularly enough.

    Martial arts can be prohibitively expensive as well… but I digress.

    Point being that fun can definitely be done on the cheap. If you are willing to shop around, and do a little investigating, it is entirely possible to blow things up and drive things very fast for under $10hr.

    Of your list of cheap fun, I like:
    Throw parties with interesting new foods or fun themes

    Hike in relatively(or not so relatively) remote wilderness (swim there too [if applicable])

    Tap a maple tree and make syrup out of it(has to be sugar maple though… otherwise it doesn’t turn out right)

    Study martial arts(done this since I was seven)

    Bike/roller blade/run with a friend(or without a friend)

    Scuba dive(reminds me that I need to renew my license)

    Water fiiight!

    Play tag

  9. It would seem to me that there is always some part of the male mentality that makes us require some sort of “toys” in our lives, whether they are the GI Joe/super hero action figures we grow up with, video games, computers/iPods/electronics, or these larger, more expensive and sometimes dangerous forms of amusement. So I doubt that you’ll ever find someone who doesn’t have some passion for playthings. I do very much understand and agree with you about the more expensive pursuits, which are “appropriate” (if that can be said) for certain single-guy lifestyles, but definitely should be curtailed to some functional degree when married. Guys (and gals) can certainly have passions that drive them (such as pop culture stuff, comic books or whatever), but as one of my rabbeim told me recently (he’s a huge comic book nerd) that everything has to be in proper proportion. Whenever he visits the States he goes to comic shops to add to his collection, which he stores in a room in his home where is does not encroach on the rest of the house and potentially get in the way. Marriage is about compromise – so while I don’t think anyone should ever entirely give up their hobby/interest, some modification of their participation/money spent on it is definitely warranted when you have a wife and kids to think about.

    and Stupid Inventor – I have the Mario references covered in the short story Bad4 linked to 2 posts ago. also with regard to good, cheap, random fun – Nerf also now has a line really cool of foam swords which look like a LOT of fun (I wish I had these when I was younger!)

  10. Lea – Okay, I’m curious. Explain the $200 tie thing. And also why you know so much about tie quality. 😀 I mean, it loses its value the second you drip chulent on it, no?

    Leibel – Play with friends of your own gender. How do you play capture the flag with dart guns? Does getting hit put you in jail?

    Mekubal – I can tell you’ve never played Settlers, since it doesn’t make your list. 😉 Um, ballistic gelatin? Is that a softer alternative to potato guns?

    tesyaa – A guy can do whatever he wants with his money… but when he’s married, it’s our money.

    I don’t really care if he does crazy things every now and then. Hang-gliding must be glorious. I’d love to join him. It’s the idea of a guy being defined by his adrenaline exploits that makes me nervous. As in, “He’s fun.” Why? “Because he does cool stuff like parasailing and jetskiing and luging.” That’s actually not my definition of a fun guy – just of a guy who does fun stuff. A fun guy would be someone who can make his own fun.

  11. Nope never played settlers

    “Um, ballistic gelatin? Is that a softer alternative to potato guns? ” No… but that gives me new ideas… next time I am in the US. Ballistic gelatin is a target(at least I had always thought of it that way until now) not a projectile. Google it. Mythbuster fans will know what I am talking about.

  12. I’m fun. No crazy stuff needed. I can make my own fun. Anywhere.

    So ye… make sure u define what type of fun before you get scared 🙂

  13. Darn, someone stole the “tag is Bad4Shidduchim*” joke already.

    This is definitely something that usually goes the other way, albeit put differently: “She’s really put together”/”dresses really well”.

    As for fun – I’m with you. Fun should be cheap, and there are some fun guys who can do so at little cost.

    * …unless you’re into that.

  14. I have no problem with fun guys. It’s really fun to be with someone who likes to have fun. It only becomes a problem when someone has to sit down and pay the bills, and the guy is off having fun.

  15. What is sad is when guys think drinking is fun. And then proceed to tell me about all the times they got drunk and snuck vodka into the dorm.

    Yeah, I’ll take Mr. $200 tie any day.

  16. Is the kind of fun everyone seems to be describing tzniusdik? Fun is great, challenges such as flying a parachute jumping are probably things every guy would like to try at least once. But making a lifestyle out of it seems to me to be out of place as a religious way of living.

    But then again, though more modern than most of you I’m probably at least twice as old. From where I sit that ain’t really “frum.”

  17. bad4: I agree that a fun guy is a guy who makes fun on his own, but if you were to ask my mother if I know how to have fun she would probably respond by telling you that I have a pilots license. she’s probably not going to tell you that I enjoy driving around aimlessly with the intention of getting really really lost, or any of the other odd things I do for fun. Point being, that people are going to tell you about the fun stuff a guy does that sounds cool to them, that doesn’t mean he’s not able to amuse himself with simpler things. Also as far as $200 ties go, I only own one, it is a 7-fold tie and is far superior in quality to the other designer ties I own.

    Chaim: So am I to understand that it’s ok for a guy to spend hundreds of dollars taking a couple of flying lessons just for fun but b/c I focused on it and put in a significant amount of effort to get my pilots license, I’m doing something that is “out of place as a religious way of living”?

  18. BJG – I’m not talking about asking people if someone knows how to have fun. I’m talking about when the first thing you hear about a guy is “He’s fun.” Then I’m wary. Because it means that that is basically what he’s known for. (If he was known for making his own fun he’d probably be described as “wacky” or something with more potential.) Me: not so interested. Clearly, there are people who love that, but not me.

    G6 – I’ve done the walk-up kayaking, but never the three-hour trip. Thanks for reminding me.

    B – I’ve never had a Jewish guy brag about getting drunk, but I did once have a (former) classmate attempt to regale me with a tale of the time they went clubbing with their fake IDs and got into a fight and got thrown out by the bouncer and proceeded to brawl in the parking lot… I think he was confused about why I wasn’t so impressed.

  19. my husband has a t-shirt with a picture of a smiling mushroom that says “I’m a fungi.” and he is. but not is the way you described fun guys. more like the making his own ballistics gelatin type. and mythbusters is the best show ever.

  20. This is definitely something that usually goes the other way, albeit put differently: “She’s really put together”/”dresses really well”.

    I hear that and flashing alarms go off in my head: “JAP JAP JAP JAP HIGH MAINTENANCE JAP JAP JAP JAP”

    It’s usually true, too. You need to expend a lot of time and effort (and often money) to look and dress well consistently, and it’s time that could be spent doing other things… like reading.

  21. The last Fun guy I dated, for example, had a hard time understanding why anyone should drive in less than 2 lanes, ever.

  22. The $200 tie thing . . . actually, if you want the creme de la creme, it is around $160 – $170, but the pattern and fabric is the thing. One doesn’t spend that money on something that looks T.J. Maxx issue, but looks the price. I’ve been doing this for some time for my father. It may be a Hungarian thing and difficult to explain, but it falls into the category of designer clothing in general – viva la difference. There IS a difference, whatever my Bais Yaakov principal said.

  23. Mary Poppins – 😀 Yeah, that kind of guy. Loads of fun.

    I agree that designer clothing is better quality, but it’s hard for me to visualize how much better a long piece of fabric cut in a very simple shape can possibly get. There’s the fabric, yes, but it’s not undergoing the usual strains fabrics undergo, and there’s a limit to how much improved the cut can get, surely. The pattern – yes, I can see something there. But surely not $170-worth of something.

    Perhaps our next Manhattan meeting should be in the men’s section of Bloomie’s.

  24. I did NCSY when I was younger. The “fun” frum guys and advisors there had lots of shtick and were a little bit crazy but still davened and learned with appropriate seriousness. They brought a lot of people close to yiddishkeit.

    Later on, they do weird stuff for Purim (hanging a life-size Haman dummy from their house, etc.)and throw their children really high on Simchas Torah. Their older children groan at them at the Shabbos table, and the younger ones bring all their friends. Very few of them do the high priced thing, largely because they can’t.

  25. I hear that and flashing alarms go off in my head: “JAP JAP JAP JAP HIGH MAINTENANCE JAP JAP JAP JAP”

    That’s the word I was looking for…!

  26. BJG, You want a pilots license knock yourself out. If you need it, great. If you just want it ok too. It’s just the outlook of Gee this is cool ( I actually think that word ought to banned from the frum lexicon– cool i.e. no emotion, no passion, may as well date the four cute seder robots, now they’re cool)

    To do fun thing to cheer others up works for me. To do them because they’re fun — not as a respite but enough so that one is classified as a “fun” guy I’m not so sure. But I won’t take a rigorous position on it. There’s always the exception that proves the rule.

  27. Chaim: Already done. Your two comments seem to be saying very different things, I agree more with the second one.

    bad4: I was going to recommend that, if you think $200 ties are crazy, check out their Loro Piana section. They have some very nice $20,000 coats, now that is crazy.

  28. I think the sheep’s wool is genetically engineered or something to corroborate that price tag. While I likee the designers, I also only buy on sale.

    One more jump: Henri Bendel.

  29. harryer – interesting. I don’t know if I would define “refined and sophisticated” as only high maintenance. To my mind, that’s someone who is cultured, dresses well, likes to go to the ballet/theatre and is worldly. Kind of “high-maintenance lite” with some actual brains.

  30. apple- its one of those ambiguous terms people use to describe girls that can be taken many different ways. Another one is ‘put together’. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that yet I still have no clue what it means.

  31. “Sing along to a fun song while strumming an air guitar or dancing around the room with a family member” Sounds like you need Guitar Hero.

    “Meet new people and hear about their lives” Hey that might be a good trait to have in shidduchim. Is that fun too?

    I’ve given up on tag, although I would consider dodgeball.

  32. Guitar Hero is for weird anti-social types who can’t do the real thing. C’mon. I don’t need to buy a video game and stand in front of a screen to have fun. That’s the point.

  33. What?!? Guitar hero is not necessarily anti-social, two people can play. 💡 Next time you go to an arcade challenge your date, then you can find out if those air strumming sessions have paid off; extra points if you choose a really sappy love song. 😛

  34. See, this is part of the difference between guys and girls. Guys think it’s social to stand side-by-side, eyes glued to a screen, exchanging such brilliant witticisms as “argh!” and “yeah!” and slapping each other on the back afterwards. Girls like to actually look at each other. And use words that require a more sophisticated use of the tongue, teeth, and palate.

    Anyway, it’s still more fun to strum and dance at will, without being told what to do by a machine.

  35. Tapping maple syrup trees and playing settlers? Where have you been my whole life…have your women in black call mine…lol.

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