How to Have Fun

War. Recession. Four-dollar-a-gallon gas. And four whole months until the election. We’re not suggesting anybody fiddle while Rome burns. But, damn, you deserve a little fun. Remember laughing till it hurt? Here are 49 ways to get back to that place, just when you need it most

22. Change your middle name to “Fun”.

Okay, so the complicated process of replacing “Ann” or “Alexander” isn’t fun. First, Philly’s Common Pleas Court has to approve the new name. (It can’t be “Screw You,” say, or “Britney Spears.”) Then you gotta march the appropriate paperwork to the Social Security office for processing. Then, when you finally have the green light, you need to make your bank, your credit card companies, your mortgage holder and everyone else aware of the change. Still, being able to say “Fun? Fun’s my middle name!” and whip out a driver’s license to prove it makes up for all the fuss.

23. Pedal the Schuylkill River Trail.

From Chestnut Street in Philly all the way out to Pottsville in Berks County, this bike path follows the river and passes through urban vistas, rolling farmland, and the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains. A few sections are yet to be completed, but there’s smooth biking and the occasional great blue heron along the way. See for maps and info. No wheels? Rent ‘em at the Welcome Center in Valley Forge National Park, 610-783-4593.

24. Ice-skate in summer.

Even the falling feels good. Wissahickon Skating Club, 550 West Willow Grove Avenue, 215-247-1759, Flyers Skate Zone, multiple locations, 877-23-SKATE, The Rink at Old York Road, Church and Old York roads, Elkins Park, 215-635-0331, (Want more fun? The Rink is hiring Zamboni drivers!)

25. Play Quizzo.

A Philly ritual that’s like Jeopardy, but with beer. Bards Irish Bar focuses on pop-culture questions. Tuesdays, 10:15 p.m. 2013 Walnut Street, 215-569-9585, New Deck Tavern. Buzzed Ivy Leaguers. Sundays and Mondays, 9 p.m. 3408 Sansom Street, 215-386-4600. Sidecar Bar & Grille.
A tad less challenging — so you could get a few right. Tuesdays, 9:30 p.m.
2201 Christian Street, 215-732-3429,

26. Hunt and be hunted.

You: Bruce Willis. Your friends: The Bad Guys. Your weapon: 30 rounds of paintballs. Yippee-kayee! Poco Loco Paintball, 134 Kurtz Road, Limerick, 877-529-4374, Paintball on the Fly, 4011 Germantown Pike, Collegeville, 610-489-2472, Paintball Invasion, 192 South Route 73, Winslow Township, 609-704-7787,

27. Play games.

I used to be an athlete, back in high school and college. But once I had kids, I hung up my cleats and watched their games instead. Then, a few years back, I saw a flier at my YMCA for pickup indoor field hockey. I hadn’t played in nearly three decades, but I still had my stick. When I showed up, most of the other women looked to be in their late 20s — a lot younger than me. But, “What the hell,” I thought, and dove in.
The first time the ball came sailing toward me over the smooth gym floor and I put my stick out and stopped it — clack! — it all came rushing back: the charged anticipation, the flood of adrenaline, every nerve in your body jangling, the narrowing of focus until conscious thought vanishes, so all that’s left is the doing … and then the deep, true thrill of having done it well, whatever you were attempting — hitting, stopping, scoring — or, more likely at my age, the shame of failure, as the ball skitters past you on its merry way. But you know what? It doesn’t matter, because hey, we’re grown-ups, it’s just a game, and besides, look, here comes the ball again, and this time for sure I’m gonna make that stop! Now I’m hooked; I’m playing hockey, soccer, volleyball two nights a week. I even leave work early for my games. Nothing else in my life is so meaningless and yet so vital. I only wish it hadn’t taken so long for me to come out and play. — Sandy Hingston

28. Sail the Delaware.

Feel the wind in your hair. Liberty Sailing, Philadelphia Marine Center, Pier 12, 235 North Columbus Boulevard, 215-923-SAIL, Yacht cruises for up to six people. City Sail, 475 North 5th Street, 215-413-0451, Proceeds benefit nonprofit educational programs. Riverboat Queen Fleet, Penn’s Landing, 215-923-BOAT, Rent a paddle-wheeler with food, drinks and dancing.

29. Ride a horse.

Find your inner cowboy. Yee-haw! Chamounix Equestrian Center, 98 Chamounix Drive, 215-877-4419, Haycock Stables Inc., 1035 Old Bethlehem Road, Perkasie, 215-257-6271, Gateway Stables, 949 Merrybell Lane, Kennett Square, 610-444-1255,