Always Earnest, Never Serious

The University of Alabama Crimson Tide ended their 2019 season in ugly fashion on Monday night.


It was the worst loss in the Saban era – in fact, the worst loss since at least 2004. I haven’t been able to find out exactly when the last time was that we lost a game by 28 points. I don’t have a database, and have “neither the time nor the inclination” to go digging through the Interwebs.

It wasn’t a lot of fun to watch ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve learned how to watch football. I come from a state where folks get serious about college football. I suppose that, at one time, I might have been like that.

But I’m not serious about college football today. In fact, I dropped the seriousness soon after I got sober; had to do so, in order to be able to watch football without it affecting my serenity.

Now, there are probably folks who watch college football with me who might tell you that I AM, indeed, serious about it, but they would be mistaken.

I’m not serious. I’m earnest.

I’ve looked at the definitions, and they each seem to use the other word as a synonym. But there’s a word missing from the definitions ofย  “earnest” which is important to me – that word is GRAVE.

I can play volleyball earnestly without being serious about it. When I’m serious, I’m not smiling, but I’m often smiling earnestly – in fact, I’m usually doing so ๐Ÿ™‚

The difference for me involves the presences of FEAR.

In that volleyball game, I’m not afraid ๐Ÿ™‚ Whenever I am being SERIOUS, I am aware of fear – it’s the driving force behind my seriousness.

So I watch college football EARNESTLY. But not SERIOUSLY ๐Ÿ™‚

I sometimes have to take a break from watching – whenever, say, I start to think that it actually matters. At such times, I’m in danger of taking it seriously. So I have to detach to remind myself to detach. It really doesn’t matter.

It’s like a movie – I have to be invested in the story of the game as it’s going on, or I won’t care, and if I don’t care, then why watch the movie? But when the movie is over, it’s time to go on with life. Same with a football game.

Or a volleyball game.

When I’m EARNEST, I’m fully invested in the effort;ย  when I’m SERIOUS, I’m all concerned about the outcome.

Earnest is happy. Serious is unhappy.

Of course, there’s always Mitch Henessey‘s take –

“I’m always frank and earnest with women. In New York, I’m Frank, and in Chicago, I’m Ernest.”


  1. Jenny Bennion said:

    Happy birthday, Jim, earnestly. Hope life is treating you and your family well!


    • Thanks so much, Jenny!

      God’s taking good care of us. And He really has to, now, since we’re too old to take care of ourselves ๐Ÿ™‚

      jim p.

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