“Mix a little foolishness with your prudence; it’s good to be silly at the right moment.”


I’ll never forget the day of my friend Chris’ father’s funeral. Funerals, as we know, are somber occasions, filled with hushed tones, tearful eyes, and a weight of sadness. But this one had a twist. As we walked into the building, we were handed two peculiar items: a balloon and a walnut. No note, no explanation, just those two things. I remember thinking, “Did I walk into a magic show by mistake?”

Chris, being the brave soul he is, took the stage to give the eulogy. His words painted a vivid picture of his father, a man of depth, love, and character. As he neared the end, he referenced the balloon. While the exact symbolism escapes me, the sentiment was touching, heartwarming, and brought many to tears.

But then, just as the room was filled with sniffles and the rustling of tissues, Chris paused, looked at the walnut in his hand, and said, “Oh, the walnut? That’s because my dad was also a little bit nuts.” The room erupted in laughter. It was a moment of levity, a brief respite from the weight of grief, and a beautiful reminder that even in the most solemn moments, there’s room for a little silliness.

Horace’s quote, “Mix a little foolishness with your prudence; it’s good to be silly at the right moment,” couldn’t be more apt. Life is filled with highs and lows, tears and laughter. And sometimes, the most profound moments come when we allow ourselves to blend the two.

So, whether you’re giving a speech, attending a formal event, or just going about your day, remember Chris and his walnut. Embrace the unexpected, the silly, the moments that make life rich and memorable. Because sometimes, a little bit of “nuts” is just what we need.

Stephen Boudreau serves as VP of Brand and Community at Virtuous Software. For over two decades, he has helped nonprofits leverage the digital space to grow their impact. To that end, Stephen co-founded RaiseDonors, a platform that provides nonprofits with technology and experiences that remove barriers to successful online fundraising. He is an avid (but aging) soccer player, audiobook enthusiast, and the heavily-disputed UNO champion of his household.

Copyright ©2023 Stephen Boudreau.