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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

If Statements as Experiment

Well, now that you’ve started reading, I might as well humor you. Isn’t it funny that to humor someone has nothing to do with what’s funny, and to say it’s funny how something is has very little to do with humor. This language was really patched together like forming a castle out of a mudslinging contest. And this is what happens when you have a language by committee. So the fact that these ruminations come in English is a big strike against them. If only this were en Francais… If only.

The other day, I was trying to think of something. Talk about unlofty goals. A person can always think of something, unless your mind is a blank, in which case you’ve just filled your mind with the thought that it’s blank. Oh... the other day. That’s kind of a non-committal reference to a day that is specifically “the other day,” as if there were only one such day. No, not that other day, the other other day. Yeah, that one.

Also, in the interest of full disclosure so that you know where my devotions lie, I’m representing one side in a bitter discrimination suit. In Rodentia vs. Professional Sports Teams, I’m defending those sad little animals who never get used as mascots. Nobody ever calls their team the Rats, the Hamsters, the Varmints, or the Critters, etc. It has caused irreparable emotional harm to my clients. Their friends make fun of them, they can’t get high-profile jobs, and they’re discriminated all the way down to the very bottom of the food chain. If you thought getting picked last for kickball was bad, wait till you get picked last to eat. Slim pickins there at the end of the food chain line. You get morsels, and that’s about it. “But I don’t like morsels, Mommy.” “Tough! You eat your morsels and be grateful, Theodore. Those are delicious morsels.”

I wouldn’t bring this up, but enough people have asked about it to behoove me to comply. For the record, I would actually write on my blog more often, but opposable thumbs are nothing to be flaunting at the rest of the animal kingdom, so I want to be sensitive to that.

We take a lot of things for granted, simply assuming that things had to be a certain way, but not realizing that there could have been many various scenarios. Life doesn’t really have to be as simple and accommodating as it is. For instance, what if we had to relieve our bladder every five minutes? Think how inconvenient that would make living. Don McLean would’ve had to sing part of American Pie from the restroom. All sorts of logistical problems would arise. The next time you feel inconvenienced by something in life, just think how it could be worse. For one, our elbows could be attached to our knees. Think of all the great dance moves that would generate... And it would make it rather problematic to put on a sweater. Picture trying to dress a pretzel without upsetting its ecosystem. No fair pulling limbs off and then putting them back on.

Or what if gravity went away from the Earth instead of toward it? That would make things fun, wouldn’t it? If you dropped something, you’d be in a world of hurt without a paddle. With reverse gravity, things would be cleaner on average, but then if you lost something, it wouldn’t mysteriously pop up again later. I suppose unless you were looking in Aurora Borealis.

Type the word “hyphen” (without the quotes). (And don’t type in parentheses either) Wait a minute, they just used the quotes to tell us what we’re supposed to type, but we’re not allowed to? How exactly is that fair? In other words, do what I do, but just not literally. Only somewhat literally... That’s a direct translation, by the way. And you can quote me on those hyphens.

Or what if all the letters of the alphabet rhymed? Literacy rates in English-speaking countries would plummet. Become very suspicious if there’s a shift in pronunciation toward Farsi, I’m just sayin’. Do I need to wink to get the point across?

The funniest news story of last year was when the media kept pointing out that the people on a certain boat were pirates. They keyed on that word over and over as if it were aired up and being used in a volleyball match. Their fixation on the word was both telling and laughable. They had found a legitimate usage for a dramatic term from lore, and then they drilled it into the ground until it had become a fine dust. It underscores the apoplectic desperation of the media and their lack of shame in glorifying whatever they can find to plaster to the wall. They’re less interested in reporting the conditions than they are in packaging them to sound incredible, amazing, fantastic, wondrous, (insert superlative of choice here and deposit 25 cents).

People will say they’re having problems thinking straight, yet it’s much more interesting to have it meander. I figure why not take the scenic route? After all, the road less travelled has fewer potholes. Ponder that one at your next lemming convention.

Perspective can give you a lot to consider. Dr. Seuss taught us a lot of what-ifs, causing us to think what it might be like to have a stain that somehow transferred to everything throughout the house, and then out into the snow. Nothing could get that stain out. (This was before Tide came out with the new-improved whitening crystals) Frankly, I was a little stunned that Thing V and Thing W had difficulty with it, knowing their background in disaster recovery.

Or what if it took 14 months for the Earth to revolve around the Sun? Calendars would be heavier. That would surely alter everything. Not to mention the calendar industry would be more profitable. Cosmologists take note: there’s a great marketing opportunity here for a little fudging of the numbers after a surprise increase in sunspot activity. And we’d get older slower, so people would welcome the change. How would you like to be 48 instead of 56?

I wonder why is it exactly that people often dislike hypocrites more than those who are brazenly bad? (I ask you that in expectation that you’ll have the solution, even though it may have appeared to be an obvious rhetorical device. But now that I’ve had to explain my intent, it kind of ruins the mood. Next time, you’re on your own.) We don’t seem to like phonies, yet if someone doesn’t pretend to be good, then there’s some level of genuineness which receives acceptance. Hardened criminally defiant mobster? Well, at least you admit it. But claim to have done some magnanimous gesture like visited kids in hospitals, when it turns out you were glamorizing it for a photo op, you should be hanged at the stake and left for dead.

Or what if there was no green? For one thing, golfers would be in a quandary, with nothing to shoot for. But that would be the least of our worries. Vegetables would be an even tougher sell. Rainbows would have an empty spot on them. The flags of Nigeria and Saudi Arabia would be indistinguishable. There’d be little point to Green Tea, now wouldn’t there? All things we shouldn’t take for granted.

As such, I feel bad for the bird called the kite. They can’t be understood except within context. If I didn’t clarify the genus, you wouldn’t know to what I was referring. They have the complex of the bird formerly known as paper on a string. That’s good for two visits a week to a shrink. Although, it’s still probably not as bad as the swallow. Or the gulp. Now, those are birds in identity crisis. We think it’s bad being named Grenelda or Thaddeus, but it’s nothing compared to those inheriting fowl linguas.

Or what if Alex Trebek weren’t the host of Jeopardy! for 53 years running? I wonder what they’re gonna do if/when he retires. They better get somebody else named Alex, otherwise it’s going to sound very weird when a contestant says, “I’ll take Forensic Subterranean Albatross Migration Patterns for 500, Alex.”

Ultimately, as a child I was relieved that pink snow is only pretend, and later learned that green eggs only happen in college dorms, but it’s always fun to mull over how else it might be… with Thing Y and Thing Z.


Jeff Crandall said...

OK, first of all, trying to find out where to deposit the $0.25 and hoping you take PayPal. And my superlative is wonkiest.

Second, the reason hypocrites garner such disdain is biblical. There are "woe" 's, there are double- "woe" 's, and there are a few triple- "woe" 's, but the harshest words are reserved for the hypocrites. Adulterers get a pass comparatively.

Third, reverse gravity would necessitate having an upside-down monkey bar structure in place so as not to fly off. Grip strength would be the key to survival and the only way you could sleep would be tethered. I can see it now: "Debbie Gabey here for Tether Town. The most comfortable tether ever. Not too stiff, not too stretchy. What is your tether number?"

Fourth. The 5-minute relief requirement for humans could pose a problem but boost some industries such as the depends people, etc. Meetings would be shorter and/or disjointed. "Now, where were we?" Plus, the disproportionate time demands on women vs men would force some sort of equal-time legislation. Too much of a mess.

Lastly, Thing V and Thing W were too busy trying to spell fahrvergnügen while asking Vanna to buy a vowel with an oomlout.

Rusty Southwick said...

My work here is done.

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