I have been undignified all my life. In some instances it was just small and hardly noticeable – in others massive and memorable. It was a method of living – if anything about life can be methodical – that served me well. Because it let the pressure out of the vessel before it burst.
There were a lot of times when that was the difference between continuing to be a real social being and retreating into depression and fear. I never went into those regions because I aways blew up the verbal paper bag and popped it to let off the tension.
Being foolish is undignified. So is being crass, gauche, pitiful, or needy. No successful comedian was ever dignified – that was the job of the straight man. But in the end the straight man was always the second banana in the act. You know the names Abbot and Costello but it’s Lou you remember with affection.
The class clown is frequently the class dolt – the person who finds that they cannot learn or think and quickly runs for the simple reward of attention. Even if they have to purchase it at the expense of harsh discipline they will act up and get the laugh. If there is a class brain, they observe this behaviour and see if it can be adapted to their needs; frequently this is the case. The dolt never knows that they have been a useful example.
This was the case for me in grade school. Hauled, as was my norm, out of one school between years to another far way ( heavy construction company work ) I had the wearisome task of new-kid fights and pecking order with the start of the eighth grade. The class clown was a dolt from the local area who did his share of picking on me between getting into other trouble. And it was watching his treatment at the hands of authority that taught me what to do.
a. Do not play up in class. Let the teacher get on with the business of teaching. If you can sit learning, do so. If all you can do is sit, take that route. But sit quietly.
b. Do not play dumb. Never do badly academically just to please the mob. Pass the tests as best you can and let others fail at their own pace.
c. Make a fool of yourself for the amusement of the mob in some show that doesn’t cost anything. That relieves the jealous tension and lets them out of having to react to anything you do.
d. Then occasionally sock it to them. Make fools of them.