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Conquering boredom at a boring museum

I took the kids to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History during our time in Washington, DC.

It’s not my favorite museum. Like the Natural History Museum in New York City, it’s filled with inert objects and dead things:

Taxidermied animals, rocks, gemstones, fossils…

Most of the exhibits bore me, and the taxidermied animals make me a little sad.

Happily, my children, and especially Charlie, assisted in keeping me entertained by taking amusing photos as we toured the museum.

It turns out I had a great time.

Whenever my children or students tell me they’re bored, I tell them I haven’t been bored in decades – and it’s true – because creativity and originality can conquer boredom every time.

Find a way to amuse, entertain, or educate yourself regardless of the situation, and you will never be bored.

My friend, Bengi, and I were especially good at this when we were young. We would give each other five ridiculous, embarrassing, potentially offensive things to say to strangers, and then we would compete to see who could say those things first.

Or we would play Mall Football, wherein Bengi would walk from one end of a mall to the other in a perfectly straight line at a constant pace, and I would serve as the lead blocker, moving people out of the way by any means necessary lest they come in contact with him.

I took this game so seriously that Bengi would sometimes stop playing with me because he was worried about the safety of others.

Still, we managed to entertain ourselves constantly. It never took much. Whether through overt action or internal diversion, boredom can always be avoided when you choose to be creative, divergent, experimental, subversive, provocative, or contrary.

Admittedly, this sometimes means that I can be distracting or even difficult in meetings that disrespect the value of my time and degrade my sense of adulthood, but I had a colleague who would position himself so that he could watch the people attending a meeting react to my antics, so in that case, not only was I entertaining myself, but I was also entertaining a friend.