Dress appropriately. Mind your manners. Behave. Don’t forget to have fun.

A recent office announcement for Valentines ended with a list reminding employees of company policies, dress code, decorum and other things. Reading statements such as “Bay decoration is highly encouraged to create an inviting atmosphere” did not encourage any inviting atmosphere to me, at all, but that’s office memo for you. The list predictably ended with “Have Fun!” which amazingly sounds like an order.

I appreciate how people would wish their friends “have fun” before those friends set off to join, say, a street party. It indicated that the person who said it was also sharing the excitement for a potentially enjoyable activity. Unless, of course, the supposed-well-wisher was being sarcastic.

What bugged me was how the wish to “have fun” was included in the list reminding the rules and prohibitions. One does not remind and especially not order someone else to “have fun”. Fun — real fun — is the opposite of being conscious of the rules. I intended to write, “fun is about not following the rules” but that’s not entirely correct. Fun follows some rules; it’s just that the participants all forget or not notice that those rules are there. Break a rule, and it won’t be fun anymore.

I often suspect that people who organize “fun” activites need to remind people to have fun because they are concerned how the activities thought up might not be so fun after all.

Nuns on Dumbo Ride