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Faux Outrage

Literally the most important blog in the universe since 2010.

Monthly Archives: August 2001

I have been informed that my writing is nothing but a series of witticisms.  I was shocked and appalled hear that statement. Not so much because I don’t think my writing is, as the Webster’s Unrevised Dictionary puts it, “an attempt at wit” or (and I like this one better) “a message whose ingenuity or verbal skill or incongruity has the power to evoke laughter”, but because I have never heard of the word witticism.

In looking up the word “witticism”, I unfortunately discovered that I am unaware of almost any word which refers to (apparently) my genre of writing.  Among the synonyms I found for “witticism” that I believe to be totally made up are:

attic wit, attic salt; atticism; salt, esprit, drollery, farce, broad farce, espieglerie; vis comica, jocularity, jocosity, jocoseness; facetiousness, cream of the jest, waggery, waggishness, badinage, repartee, facetiae, capital joke; canorae nugae, quiddity, concetto, plaisanterie, mot, mot pour rire, bon-mot, jeu d’esprit, jest book; dry joke quodlibet.

It was English thesaurus too, not French, I promise.  My goal is to somehow incorporate these words into my daily speech and see if I don’t get the “cream of the jest” beaten clear out of me.  Don’t worry, I have other goals, too.  I hope to raise a nice family, live in peace and harmony, do the best I can to, as they say, “make a difference”, but most of all, I hope one day to run down an “Up” escalator.

I don’t think I’ll ever be able to gauge if I have “made a difference” or even if I have “lived in peace and harmony”, but what I can determine is whether or not I’ve run down an Up escalator.  I think the former goals I mention (a la peace, harmony, serenity, etc), if not included with some other escalator-esque goal or goals, are for the most part, fluffy ways of saying “I have no goals”.  Remember this witticism (note: word of the day) when I’m standing on the Mr. Teen USA pedestal responding to the question “Mr. Teen New York: What do you hope to accomplish when, I mean if, you win Mr. Teen USA?”  You won’t hear me babbling about World Peace.  It’s all about the escalators, baby.

All I’m trying to say here (in the most convoluted and droll way possible) is that we should all take a step back and ask ourselves what we actually want to do while existing here on this floating multi-colored mass.  Long term goals are essential to achieving, but what differentiates me from you and you from everyone else are our measurable goals; goals that can be realized mentally and then realized physically.

We all need to take some time out of our busy schedules to run down those figurative escalators…

I don’t like wasting my readers’ time so please, hear me out.  You are going to be disappointed after you read this paragraph in particular.  You won’t be disappointed in what’s written (although it may well be terrible).  You are going to be disappointed with yourself.  Based on the title, you  think you know what I’m about to write about.  Well, you’re wrong.  Dead wrong.  No, scratch that, you’re just regular wrong — perhaps with a side of death and a pinch of oregano.  This article is not about ineptitude in the workplace, although I’m sure I have a thing or two to say about that.  What is it about then, you ask?  Simple:

Meteorologists.

Everyone needs to make a living.  Some people wash dishes, some tailor clothing, some find cures for deadly diseases, and still others cook, clean and entertain.  And then there are those who fall into a very special category I like to call “Useless”.  These people make televised estimates (inaccurate or not) about a topic the masses aren’t too concerned with.  These people are commonly known as weathermen…errrr, I mean…weatherpeople.

Watching the weather is like sitting in a primary school classroom.  The weatherperson carefully explains each meticulous detail of the cold front, dew point, visibility, wind speed and direction, sunrise, barometric pressure, and humidity when all the viewer (student) cares about are a few simple things.  Like a kindergartener wondering when recess is, we viewers only want to know:

a) Should I carry an umbrella?
b) Should I wear pants?

We humans are very selfish, and weatherpeople don’t account for that.  They assume that we care about what they care about.  “You’re going to see a change in temperature from last weeks decade-high temperatures due to a cold front coming in from the Manitoba region of Canada and a tropical storm Enrique from the flatland outskirts of the Florida Keys.”  Raise your hand if you care about that statement or even desire to understand it!  While listening to that quote you should be thinking to yourself “So should I or should I not carry an umbrella!?” and “Should I or should I not wear pants!?”  Are you with me?  That is all we care about! In my personal dream world, the weather report would look something like this:

No
Yes

I am almost positive that this is some kind of underground WPAA (Weatherpersons Association of America).  At their meetings, they discuss in what ways they can make their job seem too complicated and too important to be replaced by one computer.  Sadly, all of their important little jobs could be rolled up into one semi-advanced computer.  I know for a darn fact that a computer could generate weather reports with the same accuracy (or lack there of) as a weatherman.  Weather station + Computing = Weather report.  Nothing to it.  Granted the computer won’t look as friendly as a weatherperson and almost certainly will not have opposable thumbs, but gosh darn it, I believe they could do a comparable job.

It’s possible that I’m being too harsh with my whole “replace every weatherman with a machine!” theory, but you’ll have to admit, there is a problem with today’s situation.  The Rochester Area is not exactly the population capital of the world.  However, I know of six employed professionals that will bark the same mostly inaccurate estimations at me.  I’m starting to think that they only still have jobs because no one has the heart to tell them that they are, eh-HEM, “completely useless”.  Think locally.  The weatherman is always the nerdy guy who cares so much about the weather that the other anchors think “it’s cute”.  It ain’t.

I compare hearing a weather report to reading your horoscope or opening a fortune cookie.  At the time you encounter this new information, it consumes your life.  Whatever is being said somehow seems like the most important information in the world — regardless if it correct or not.  Come the next day though, you don’t care if the fortune was accurate or even sensible–there’s a new horoscope/fortune cookie/weather report waiting in the wings!  Imagine if after every day we looked back at the previous days’ weather report.  I’m sure much of the time we’d bark a sarcastic “Thanks buddy…” at the report presented to us.

And anyway, what does “Tomorrow, there will be a 50% chance of rain even mean?”  Better go grab my half umbrella.  Bastards.

Editor’s Note : We were supposed to have thunderstorms today.  The actual temperature was (and I’m not being paid to say this) 98 Degrees.

I really don’t like Capri Pants.  Not because they don’t look fashionable and not because they don’t keep my ankles warm (although if that’s why you don’t like Capri Pants, I think you’ve got quite the argument).  I don’t like Capri Pants because if they catch on (i.e. “appear in successive televised Old Navy advertisements”), they would single-handedly (or single clothe-edly, whatever the case may be) revolutionize what we would consider to be a “normal” set of drawers.  Basically, if Capri Pants catch on for good, we’d have to redesign our houses and understand a new, manufactured genre of weather.  Allow me to explain my point (very poorly).

To me, there are two kinds of weather: Pants and Shorts.  Like most people on planet Earth, I have my clothes neatly folded (well, folded anyway) in specialized drawers.  I have two “Necessities” drawers, two “Pants Weather” drawers, and two “Shorts Weather” drawers.

So now let’s say that I have just purchased my very first pair of GAP Capri Pants (and let’s say they were on sale, just because we all love a good sale).  I speed home, anxious for the time when I can tuck them away with my other clothy possessions.  Now imagine me, standing before my dressers:  Where do these crazy things go? They sure as heck ain’t pants and they sure as heck ain’t shorts.  God knows they’re not Necessities.  In the end, do you want to know where I would put them?  In the garbage.

If we are to fit Capri Pants into our normal regime of clothing, we had better think about the consequences.  If considered “average”, Capri Pants would force us to redesign our bedrooms, redesign our wardrobe and most importantly, complicate our approach to the daily question,  “Is it pants or shorts outside today?”

Basically, I’m not going to support any article of clothing that is trying to introduce an entirely new class of weather.  I’ve got enough things to worry about and God willing, “Pants, Shorts or Capris” will never going be one of them.

Besides, they make my ass look fat.

I don’t watch television all that often.  When I do, I usually find myself watching some kind of comedy program.  Stand-up, cartoons, sitcoms, etc.  If I actually think about it (which apparently, I am), I probably truly laugh zero times in these half-hour period.  When I do laugh, the program is often on a commercial break.  Not because the commercials are funny, but because they make absolutely no sense.  What ever happened to those old-fashioned commercials that oh, I don’t know, told the viewer what their product does? It seems to me that commercials are less about selling a product and more about determining which company can confuse the crap out of viewers at a higher rate.  Let the battle of obscurity commence!

Case #1: Sprite

Sprite uses what I consider to be the best way of confusing viewers: Contradiction.  They are kind enough to inform the general public that Image Is Nothing.  We’re glad to hear that too, as most of us are sick and tired of being told what to buy and where to shop.  Go Sprite!  We like your style!  I’m thirsty already!  As soon as we’re ready to hit the road and find our nearest Sprite dealer, they hit us with a blind-side right-hook: Thirst Is Everything.  I have two thoughts here.

First, HOLY CRAP.  THIRST IS EVERYTHING!  Upon hearing that, I’m not sure whether I am supposed to desire to become more or less thirsty, or run for the hills and obey Cokey, the god of Thirst.  If “Thirst Is Everything” is not a minor over-estimation, I’m not sure what is.  Also, it’s a tad arrogant for a company like Coca-Cola (the makers of Sprite) to assume that they make a product that combats what they consider to be everything.  And anyway, we all know that soda just dehydrates, so their “Thirst Is Everything” statement makes even less sense.

Second, as a consumer, I am confused as hell.  “But you just said image was nothing, and now I am supposed to believe that thirst is everything?”  That makes no sense and happens to be ridiculously boring.  I think I speak for a few of us when I demand that image once again be considered everything!

There was going to be a Case #2, but since there were too many examples to choose from, allow me to cut to the chase.  I really despise how companies even attempt to instill some kind of “this product will save me from all that is evil” image in a consumer’s head.  Maybe that kind of idea is allowed in ads for medicines and the like, but for the love of Pete, not shoe commercials.  Granted, that kind of “I have to drink Pepsi because Brittney Spears is hot and, if I do drink Pepsi, I will be that much closer to her tender whore-like touch which will be all I need to survive in this cruel world” image and product loyalty does exist, but for the vast majority, commercials don’t seem to be talking with consumers the way they used to.  I feel as though I am being talked at nowadays and have very little connection with today’s advertisements.  I don’t know about you, but for the sizable majority of commercials, I feel as though the target audience was not only “not me”, but also “not anyone in particular”.

To advertisers from me:  Calm the hell down.
From advertisers to me: Calm the hell down.

(Side Rant : I’d love to sit in on the brainstorming sessions for those really really obscure commercials where, at the end, you’re not only unsure of what was actually taking place in the 30 seconds it took you to watch it, but you also couldn’t go out and buy/do/ingest whatever it was they were selling because you have no idea what it even was!)

Today, I have a goal: To make this piece of writing less confusing than Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes.  Obviously, this goal leaves me a vast “Spectrum of Sense” in which to play.  Not that anyone should be playing in the Spectrum of Sense…

I like to stand in line as much as the next guy.  Some might even go as far to say that I like standing in line more than the next guy.  Furthermore, that same person who would claim that I like to stand in line more than the next guy (who, by the way, will remain nameless in this essay) might also think that I am a fan of good old-fashioned Bureaucracy.  Ha!  That person would be wrong!  Stupid that person!

Unfortunately, this “editorial” if you will (because I certainly would if I were you) has nothing to do with Bureaucracy (disregarding the following sentence).  Doesn’t that word curve an unusual amount?  B-u-r-e-a-u-c-r-a-c-y.  Pretty curvy, huh?

The end.
I failed to complete my goal.
Boo.
Hoo.

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