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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What This is About

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As I recall, I didn’t post anything this month. I believe it’s the first month I’ve gone in the last two years without posting. There are a number of possible contributing factors here, but the most egregious would have to be climate change. That whole summer/fall thing always seems to throw me off. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about the fall. I’d wear a t-shirt with that on it if they had one and they didn’t charge too much money and it was in a color that didn’t clash with my hue. But it’s the whole transition thing. We’d be perfectly OK if it was just climate-this or climate-that and stayed that way. But the problem starts when change comes into the equation. Bill Cosby said if it weren’t for change there’d be a lot of wet babies, and President Obama campaigned on a similar platform, though I’m not sure whether he went into as much detail. But that’s not what I want to talk about. Do I have to announce what I’m talking about? Is there some journalistic bylaw that I may violate if I don’t make a declaration? Should I register with the blogger consortium before proceeding? I’d need to know the risk vs. punishment to see if it’s worth it. But short of a handy stylebook, and not wanting to engage in online stylebook warfare, I’ll soldier on.

My post today is about elements. But it’s more than just about elements. It’s about things. It’s about stuff, for lack of a better word. It’s about that nagging feeling you have when you just know there’s something you’re missing and you can’t put your finger on it, and any attempt to ignore it becomes futile, until you’re in a fit of despondency much in the same way a raving maniac is when he knows there’s something missing and he can’t put his finger on it. I realize it’s generally lunatics who corner the market on raving, but in the interest of being non-discriminatory to the maniacal sector of society, we’ll include them too.

Which is another way of saying that the theories on population could be overwrought. Do they truly need to count us? And how do they have reports which say how many people they missed? I’m a little suspicious of anyone with ulterior motives. Call me demented and servile and neurotic and unhinged and pathological — and even daft, if you must — but that’s just the way I am.

Where was I? Oh, that’s right… you can’t talk. You’re the silent type. You just take it all in, but don’t offer anything yourself. Where’s the sport in that? What’s the matter, not that chatty today? Well, you’re no help. OK, I’ll do most of the talking then. In some circles I could be considered a textrovert, which is to say my keyboard enjoys hearing the sound of its own clicking. This is the post-modern version of mumbling to oneself. In offices all around, people have to let out the nervous energy by tapping. They don’t sound busy otherwise. A 2000s person (that’s us) can’t be properly thinking if everything’s silent. If they’re not moving and putting out mass textadelphia, that’s a clear sign something’s askew. And clicking the mouse over and over can only get you so far. After about 37 consecutive clicks, we get the impression you’re just doing it to break the silence. We’re onto you, me and Bobby McGee.

Did I miss any TV shows that might have used the premise to have the same actors play different characters in every episode? I’m still looking for it, so if you see it, I want to be notified. That would be my program of choice, as it would require a lot of ingenuity, and by default it would have to have stellar actors. It has to have an actual storyline, and they need to be in character the entire time. Kind of like Stephen Colbert, but only different. I’m wondering what that guy’s thinking right now. If he’s got any vestige of common sense, he’s got to be hoping that he gets invited back to speak at a congressional hearing, because in his 15 minutes of fame, he took the easy way out and missed a fine opportunity to elevate what he was about, for what was behind door number 2 would have been much more rewarding. His basic choices were to keep telling jokes like he always does so that he can show his audience that he can even tell jokes in front of important people, or to display a real conscience and show that it’s more than about him. Hey, Stephen, other Hollywood types have been there too, but they didn’t have to prove to anyone that they had what it takes. They let their body of work speak for itself. If a person can’t step outside of his act for a worthy cause long enough to leave a few impressions, then you start to wonder how comfortable they are with themselves. This isn’t to say that Colbert wasn’t funny. He just picked a bizarre stage. And yes, that’s what made it even funnier, because he had all the straight men lined up in costume. What a choreographer’s dream! But then how long before the laughter subsides? Now that the curtains have been drawn, it’s evident he could have made a more lasting impression if he hadn’t only gone for the laugh.

My ultimate line of reasoning here was: If he really took the cause so seriously, then why wasn’t he taking it seriously? Can you take something lightly and then expect others not to? Laugh, and the world thinks it’s supposed to laugh with you. He still could’ve told a few jokes as an intro and then acted like a real person for the last few minutes, and then his message would have resonated more with more people. But it was all an inside joke to him. I liken it to an NFL player who gets all giddy upon scoring a touchdown. Act like you’ve been there before. Rise above it. Colbert is funny on a certain level, but he’s not that funny. Having your moments doesn’t quite rise to the level. He’s only 61st on my list of funny people, which essentially means he’s standing in line for a long time and has to bring the others water. I think Don Rickles could take him out in the 2nd round, no problem. Colbert would never know what hit him. And the fact that his right ear doesn’t stick out anywhere close to normally really gives me the willies. If you made $7 million a year, you’d think you could have plastic surgery on your ear, just so it would look a little more like the other one — or like anybody’s other ear for that matter. I’m not making fun of his looks. I don’t need to. At any rate, I’m guessing maybe the guy is bored out of his gourd with his real personality, and can’t bear to put it on display. But this post isn’t about Stephen Colbert. We have congressional hearings for that.

See, Bill Cosby knew he was funny. And he knew everybody else knew. So he didn’t have to wear a sign on his forehead anytime he was on camera that read, “Hey, I’m funny!” At that point, the joke would be on you, the jokester. But this post isn’t about Bill Cosby, though in a parallel universe it could be. And perhaps that’s what this post is about.

The whole idea of parallel universes is a curious one. It seems rather contrived in a way, I must say (as must Ed Grimley). I mean, give me a break… The word ‘parallel’ is merely a fanciful geometric term to indicate conduciveness or coherency, and mock-anything-else you want it to be, if you know what I mean. The universe(s) probably chew up geometry and spit it out for breakfast. After all, if you’re going to borrow (emphasis on the word ‘borrow’) a highly geometric term for the sake of metaphor, then it kind of renders whatever follows as metaphorical as well. I mean, let’s get real. And in the analogy, our universe is a straight line, and there’s another universe that also just so happens to be a straight line (what are the odds?), and then in a stroke of luck the two are just coincidentally equidistant from each other at all points, thereby making them magically delicious.

More compelling than parallel universes would be two universes where one intersects with the other and splits it like an infinitive, sending it mercilessly off into two directions where you’d have a branch universe. This could get exciting even. Think of the jobs that would create, and all the book deals. Otherwise, I’m not interested in another universe that never meets mine. I kind of need it to interact with me somehow eventually, or it quickly becomes irrelevant. I can already imagine uninteractive universes, no problem, so producing a supposed real one that performs the same function isn’t saying much. I need something that transcends that listless paradigm. A tiltiverse, if you will. Besides, if neither of the lines deviate at all, I can easily get that in an 9th grade pop quiz that I didn’t even study for and still got a 96 on. But this isn’t about geometry either. Because nothing is!

It probably all boils down to the stark realization that I’ve never purchased Altoids before, not even in a fit of panic. Oh, I’ve taken them when offered, for I don’t know a polite way of turning them down. But I’ve never been able to bring myself to buy them on my own. If they sold a case of them for a penny, it really wouldn’t alter my strategy. Pennies, after all, could be used for more valuable enterprises, like coin flips and keeping trains entertained. I wouldn’t even steal them if I had the chance. If a security guard came up to me at the store and said to me, “Please steal this package of Altoids, I implore you,” I would need to turn him and/or her down. It wouldn’t be worth the trouble. But then I also wonder on a much more metaphysical level, is it even proper etiquette to be offering someone a breath mint out of the blue like that? What are the implications here? Should the recipient question the giver’s motives? It’s not like you’re giving me something to snack on, or something that’s supposed to taste good. “Mm-mmm, can I have another? Keep those breath mints coming...” For we see a breath mint primarily serves but only a utility. The generous one is not always so generous. And so we can then likewise easily see that it’s all a matter of people coming back to their census, which is ostensibly the declaration of them dependents. That’s what I’ve been trying to say this whole time, and my lexicography wouldn’t permit me the luxury. But what matters is we finally got there, and we’re no worse for the wear, present company excepted and possibly accounted for.

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