Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Take my word for it: ‘Why so serious?’

From page A4 | February 13, 2013 | 1 Comment

I watched “The Dark Knight” recently, trying to get caught up on all of the plot lines of the first two Batman movies before going to see “The Dark Knight Rises,” and while watching I was hit kind of hard by a revelation. Actor Heath Ledger’s character, the Joker, used a tagline of “Why so serious?” as part of his creepiness for the film. With Ledger dying shortly after making that film, the phrase struck a chord with me.

I’ve been living life far too seriously. I know that in a way, you have to. Success comes from structure, a base plan and a whole lot of ambition and hard work. But we have to remember to have fun along the way. I too often forget this. Heath Ledger and the Joker reminded me.

We spend way too much time worrying about how to pay the bills, making the right decisions at work, how best to raise our kids, and we don’t focus enough on just enjoying it all.

Over the weekend my daughter wanted to go play outside with the neighbor kids. I immediately started to think of everything that could go wrong with the scenario. First, I’d have to be out there monitoring. She’s 4 years old and I’m not ready to wave her goodbye and send her off into the neighborhood where I can’t make sure she’s safe (I’ll get there, I promise). I was enjoying my day off inside on the couch and I didn’t want to give that up. Second, she’d fallen off her bike a month ago and received four stitches under her chin. That experience rattled us both as parents and I’ve been gun shy to throw her on her bike since. What spawned my daughter wanting to go outside in the first place was watching our neighbor teach his daughter how to ride her bike with the training wheels taken off. She is 7, though. I worried my daughter would want the same thing, and I’d be rushing to the emergency room for another round of stitches.

I thought about the Joker and what he’d do. He’d ask me, “Why so serious, Patrick?” I’d rattle off 100 legitimate reasons, to which he’d laugh hysterically at them all and then drive his truck through the front door of my house to set my daughter free. I decided to just open the front door instead and was pleasantly surprised with the result.

Not only did my daughter have some of the most fun she’s had since that bike accident, I had a lot of fun I would have never expected.

As the kids played hide and seek, drew on the driveway with chalk and chased each other around the yard for no particular reason, we chatted with the neighbors. I was asked if I had a football we could throw around while we chatted. I did. We played catch for a few minutes, which inspired the teenagers down the road to do the same with their own football. It only made sense to challenge them. So I, my friend Justin and my neighbor challenged three teenagers to a game of street football. My concern for my daughter falling onto concrete shifted to my own. I hadn’t played football in the street since I was a kid, and I pictured myself now faceplanting onto the street trying to make a catch. But the thought made me laugh. “Why so serious?” This was a game of fun, fun I hadn’t had in years.

We won, thankfully, by quite a bit. We tried taking it easy on them until one of their fathers joined their team and made it four against three. At that point our pride kicked in and now I’m still sore two days later from the experience.

It took me letting go of my worries for the day to experience the fun I was depriving my kid. For a few hours I didn’t think about bills, what we were going to have to make for dinner, or the emergency room. I let go like I’d imagine the Joker would, without the crime of course. And I learned more than anything that I need to do that a lot more often.

Patrick Ibarra is the managing editor of the Mountain Democrat. 

Patrick Ibarra


Discussion | 1 comment

  • The Crafty LadyFebruary 13, 2013 - 8:26 am

    Great piece, but please, can we all remember that: Strike a CHORD is an idiom that makes sense, a description of the awareness within a memorable time/event, etc. as compared to the experience when one hears a clear musical note. Strike a CORD means that you have either have physically lashed out at the electrical outlet attachment of an appliance, or your stack of firewood. No worries, even Editors make mistakes.

    Reply | Report abusive comment


Downtown group coordinates painting, awnings

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1

More mountain lion sightings reported

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1, 8 Comments

Supervisor Nutting trial begins

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1, 73 Comments | Gallery

Sanford murder case to jury

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Herard over the back fence: Try fishing at Wakamatsu

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

Gearing tax questions to correct office saves time

By Treasurer-Tax Collector | From Page: A3



My turn: More than a buzzword

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A4, 24 Comments

Building restored

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

Outstanding dog

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4



‘Parents, be afraid’ letter

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 23 Comments

Ukranian situation

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 4 Comments


By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 9 Comments

Altshuler framing

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 9 Comments

National Day of Prayer

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments



Pedal power at the forefront next month

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Outside with Charlie: Transitioning

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Pitching the ‘Root’ cause of Trojans’ victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Sports Scene: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7

Roundup: April 22, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A7



4-H’ers star at showcase

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: B1 | Gallery

At a glance: Look for fireballs

By Mimi Escabar | From Page: B2, 1 Comment

Authors to share their stories

By Pat Lakey | From Page: B2, 2 Comments

Church to host human trafficking conference

By Pollock Pines | From Page: B3

Grow For It! Flower of Easter

By Barbara Schuchart | From Page: B5



Crime Log: April 1-3

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

Weather stats 4-22-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Building permits 4/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2



Bobby Lloyd Bridges

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Harry Frank Harper

By Contributor | From Page: A2, 6 Comments

Marion “Wayne” Griswold

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate



New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Flying McCoys

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Thursday, April 24, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Wednesday, April 23, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8