santino bored
Santino bored?

An op-ed right up our alley appeared earlier this week in the International Herald Tribune and The New York Times, click here.

Boredom, according to the op-ed, deserves respect. Boredom is a beneficial experience. It means to help us, not harm us. But it will help us only if acted on in the right way.

  • Santino, a 33-year-old chimp in a zoo near Stockholm collects rocks before the zoo opens. He piles them near the visitors’ area. When the zoo opens, he throws the rocks at visitors. Does he do this because is bored?
  • This brings to mind of course the recent looting in London and elsewhere in England. Did the looters loot because they were bored? If so, they obviously reacted to their boredom in the wrong way.
  • Tanonium Marcelliuus, residing in Benevento, Italy in the third century, was recognized for rescuing the city’s residents from boredom. The boredom could have spilled over into rock throwing or rioting. Instead it was cured by Tenonium, probably with gladiatorial contests.
  • In “The Pale King,” the posthumously-published novel of David Foster Wallace, the routines of the tax office provided the workers there — most of them troubled individuals — an orderly, unvarying, dependable home. Boredom brought comfort to the workers. Santino would not have lasted long there.

August 13, 2011