Blooper Reels

Blooper reels always crack me up. Whenever I am feeling a little down, I can sit down and watch blooper reels and almost instantly feel better. Watching a blooper reel has never failed to cheer me up. In most instances, I get to laughing so hard that I begin to cough and my eyes begin to tear.

While blooper reels are funny for funny’s sake, I suspect that part of what makes them funny is watching professionals make mistakes. Too often, we try to hide our mistakes when they can, in fact, help us learn. The entire history of science is a history of mistakes. We might be afraid to make mistakes ourselves, but we enjoy it when others make mistakes. And as we have a tendency to idolize those we see in the movies and on television, seeing them make mistakes can be refreshing.

The Little Man is going through a phase where he will repeatedly tell us, “Don’t laugh!” He is referring to us laughing at something he’s done. Telling me not to laugh will almost guarantee laughter, but the Little Man doesn’t understand this, and takes offense when he feels it is directed at him.

Watching blooper reels, you’ll see actors laughing at their mistakes as much as I laugh when I watch them make the mistakes. It is humbling to laugh at your own mistakes.

I wish there were blooper reels for things besides just movies and television shows. It would be great to see the President practicing a speech and flubbing the lines. If other writers end with amusing infelicities in their manuscripts as much as I do, it would be a amusing to be able to see the “blooper reels” version of the manuscript.

Doctors and dentists must make innocent mistakes every now and then. And how do we not have outtake reels from court sessions. Lawyers and judges must flub their lines from time-to-time. Sports tend to have their own blooper reels. They end up in ESPN late at night, but if you happen to be up, you can watch players who make millions of dollars a year allows a simple ground ball to roll between their legs.

Plumbers probably can tell some stories. And I imagine the military has its share of bloopers from basic training that we would find amusing. Lecturing college professors will make a mistake that will get the class roaring with laughter every now and then.

There were all kinds of bloopers I heard over air traffic control back when I was a pilot. And you should read some of the comments I’ve embedded in code that I’ve written!

I suppose there is a fear that exposing trivial mistakes makes a professional look less professional. But what better lesson is there for those just getting started, who don’t yet have the confidence they need, to see professionals make mistakes.

Blooper reels might seem like trivial afterthoughts, a marketing gimmick to help make the actors feel more human and relatable. In addition to finding them funny, part of the joy I experience comes from the evidence they provide that everyone makes mistakes now and then.

One day, I’ll go through the various version of posts I’ve written and post the outtakes. Some of them, I imagine, must be pretty funny.