are no men of leisure in town.... The old men never think
of "retiring," nor is there anything for them to retire
James Parton, 1868
Pittsburghers know how to work, but we also know
how to have a good time. Even at the same time! We haven't
always had leisure, but we've always had fun: sports,
parks, amusements, hobbies and other diversions.
studies, language arts, physical education
levels: Adaptable 3-12 grades
ever seen a dog with a thimble collection?
wolf that has taken up folk dancing?
animals do occasionally exhibit behavior that seems to serve no purpose
other than to provide a little amusement and exercise, mammals spend
the bulk of their time finding food, protecting their territory, and
fighting off predators.
on the other hand, have evolved to devote huge portions of their life
to indulging individual interests and engaging special skills
simply for the sheer enjoyment of it! It could be said that what separates
us most from other animals is our ability to choose hobbies.
"having fun" understates the case. Centuries ago, the goal
of "having fun" was not to fill up copious free time with
amusing pursuits. Indeed, there was no free time to fill up! Historically,
we are not so different from other mammals, spending the bulk of our
time finding food, protecting our territory and fighting off predators!
filling up "leisure time," the goal in those days was to create
fun where none existed. We human mammals also exhibited an odd need
to seek pleasure in our existence, to demand a measure of joy that would
make even the most excruciating drudge-work bearable. And when none
of those joyful measures existed, human beings found ways to inject
them into a situation.