I know, I’m writing about lists of things to be thankful for and I begin by waxing cynical. I’m thankful that God has a sense of humor and I sincerely hope that He understands where I get mine. Comedy is the flipside of tragedy, and there is certainly no shortage of tragedy in this world. So why not laugh at what you can? One need only try a little bit to find something worthy of a giggle, and if you have a particularly fertile imagination, the whole world is chock full of comedic fodder.
I’m thankful for stupidity.
It sounds weird to give thanks for the stupid, but we lose sight of the humor in stupidity simply because stupidity is so abundant. I’ve said it often- the two most common elements in the universe are shit and stupidity. This being said, if you could harness these two ignoble elements and transform them into energy, there would never be a need for petroleum fuels or coal or anything else used to generate power or fuel combustion.
1. Stupid People.
I’m thankful for stupid people for one reason. They make me look smarter. It’s sort of the same logic that is behind choosing fat, ugly friends. If all of my friends are fat and ugly, by comparison I look thin and pretty even though at my very best I am plain and frumpy. I’m not the brightest light bulb in the hallway, but compared to 95% of the population I might as well be a rocket scientist. It’s scary, but it makes me glad my parents were two of the very few who didn’t do drugs back in the ’60’s. Another thing to be thankful for!
2. Stupid procedures, processes, ideologies, etc.
I hate redundancy. Fewer things piss me off more than having to repeat myself. I am reasonably skilled at the use of the English language, and the last time I checked, I don’t stutter. So if I’m taking the time to explain something, pay freaking attention. Take notes if you must.
I really hate it when I have to fabricate detailed and completely inane explanations for others who aren’t going to be doing what I have to do anyway. I have a philosophy about that. If you want me to do something, tell me what you want. Give me the authority to do the task at hand and the necessary tools to carry it out, then leave me alone and let me get it done. Explaining it to a non-participant is a waste of time since the one requesting me to do the task isn’t the one doing it anyway, and frankly, incessant micromanagement gets on my nerves. I care about results. The process of getting results is negotiable as long as it is efficient, legal, ethical, moral and cost-effective.
I like being the only person with certain abilities. It makes me feel important, wanted, loved, valuable, etc. It makes me all the more thankful for being blessed with the ability to suck up oxygen, and convinces me that I might just have been created for some purpose above and beyond respiration, mastication and defecation. Having cryptic wisdom or unique abilities can be a double edged sword, however, especially when I seem to be the only one who can reset the cable box at 12 midnight or when I am the only one capable of coherent speech and rational thought. Sometimes it would be pleasant to hold intelligent conversation with members of my own species. It happens, but hasn’t for a very long time.
Which brings me to the crowning glory of stupid, which is Drunk and Stupid.
I am not a tee-totaler by nature and don’t really have a problem with social drinking. I have a problem with shitfaced drinking, but I am thankful that shitfaced drunks have the potential to be funny, at least when I’m not cleaning up after them. Again, comedy is the flipside of tragedy, as the following true story will illustrate.
A few years ago, Jerry got a fifth of Wild Turkey as a gift from the aluminum scrap guy. We had brought him plenty of nice loads of clean aluminum scrap from the body shop, and in his gracious spate of Christmas giving the scrap guy was passing out fifths of Wild Turkey. Jerry is a stupid enough drunk when he gets drunk on beer, but when liquor is involved the stupidity factor increases exponentially with each sip.
Jerry had taken the fifth of Wild Turkey as a challenge, as in “how fast can I down this fifth?” By the time he had polished it off he was “Weekend at Bernie’s” drunk- flopping all over the house and pissing all over the bathroom floor, toilet seat, sink, etc. and by rights should have passed out, but he just wouldn’t shut up and pass out. This really sucked.
When Jerry’s drunk he doesn’t just get happy and sleepy like a normal drunk. He gets hyper and usually along with the hyperness comes an inexplicable urge to embark on pointless home improvement projects which he will completely screw up and that I will have to clean up later. (which reminds me I still have to clean up the bathroom from his attempt to re-glue the tiles last night…arrgh!) This unfortunate Wild Turkey bender had awakened in him an inexplicable urge to light a fire in the fireplace- with a log, a square of toilet paper (???) and a Bic. Usually Jerry is scared shitless of all things fire-related and won’t let me use the fireplace (which pisses me off, because I like a nice roaring fire in the winter) so this really boggled my mind that he would even be near the fireplace.
Anyone who knows anything about lighting a fire in a fireplace (and I do, because my parents have had a working fireplace in their house for years, and I’ve built many fires in it) knows that you aren’t going to do jack without some tinder (i.e. pine needles, small sticks and newspaper, etc.) under the grate and some kindling (a little bit larger sticks) strategically placed under the big logs.
So Jerry’s efforts at fire starting were not terribly effective. In a flash of whiskey-powered enlightenment he decides that the log will ignite should he pour a little gasoline on it. Then, somehow, through the Wild Turkey fog, he remembers there is still gasoline for the lawnmower out in the garage! He starts bellowing for me to go and get the gas can. I was sober at the time and had rather horrific visions of the entire house going up in a blaze of glory, should I honor that request, so I replied that if he wanted to get the gas can he would have to do it himself. I went back to bed and prayed he would pass out soon.
Usually telling Jerry to do anything himself means it won’t get done, but I should have known- drunk and stupid trumps “lazy” every time. About five minutes later I hear what sounds to be a sonic boom followed by mooing noises coming from the living room. Jerry apparently has never played with VW carbureators and has never experienced the lovely phenomenon known as “flashback.” Flashback occurs when accumulated fuel vapors in a small space ignite, such as when one is spraying ether down a carbureator and the engine backfires, causing the little bit of vapor present in the carb barrel to go “poof.” Back in 1980-whatever I once lost a few inches of big hair and (alas, temporarily) both eyebrows, trying to help adjust the carb on my sister’s ’68 Bug. (Another reason why I love fuel injection.) It is a very brief but hot fire that generally will not burn skin but is really efficient at removing body hair.
Jerry lost about two inches of hair off the top of his head, most of both eyebrows and pretty much all of his nose hair. He also smelled like upholstery that’s been in a car fire which is a most distinct, and quite unpleasant smell. The only other collateral damage was one of the Wise Men from my Nativity that was on the mantle- he fell and shattered. Of course I always wondered about the three wise men thing to begin with. Finding three wise men to begin with is hard enough without trying to get them together all in the same place. So my Nativity only has two Wise Men now which probably makes it more realistic.
The moral of the story? If someone gives Jerry a fifth of whiskey or any other hard liquor for Christmas it’s getting regifted with the quickness. He’s enough of an asshole with a 12 pack of Natties.
I’m thankful for Late Night TV. Sometimes.
One of the reasons I spring for premium cable is that I am an occasional insomniac. The logic goes like this. If I wake up at 2:30 AM and can’t go back to sleep, then I want to watch something interesting. Sometimes it happens that there’s something good on, like underwater exploration, a historical documentary, anything featuring Mike Rowe, or the investigative forensic shows I like to watch. Other times it seems like there’s nothing on but those damned infomercials- but even those can have some comic value depending on the pathetic product being hawked.
I’m thankful that I know no matter how many skin care systems, exercise machines and other self improvement type products there are, none of them will make me look like Cindy Crawford. Of course I have no way of knowing how many other plain and frumpy aging cougars out there will fall for the line and buy that crap, but at least I know that “three easy payments of $79.95” will only serve to thin out my wallet. Mom has bought an entire gym’s worth of that crap on QVC and I can attest she hasn’t lost an ounce. I don’t think Dad has the heart to tell her that in order for exercise equipment to work you have to a.) assemble it and b.) use it.
The absolute worst infomercial out there is for a device that for lack of a better term appears to be a pecker pump. Worse yet, it’s being marketed toward impotent old geezers, and apparently they can be reimbursed by Medicare. Our tax dollars at work. No wonder the government is going broke.
There is a certain angst that I get from all the infomercials on TV, even late at night. I pay big money for premium cable. I should be able to watch the good stuff 24/7. But then again, I have to admit I did really laugh it up on the pump commercial. It used to be the only place one would see such devices advertised were in porno mags. You gotta love the power of creative marketing.
I guess timing is everything.
Well, spelling counts too.