Matter of Laugh or Death
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
TRUTH IS RELATIVE (ESPECIALLY WITH MY RELATIVES)
There’s been some confusion lately. Apparently, certain people are under the impression that everything written in this “Matter of Laugh or Death” column is exactly true. I’d like to take this opportunity to clarify the situation.
Writing what is ostensibly a humorous essay is a bit different from writing a regular piece of news journalism. (“Ostensibly” comes from the Latin ozten, which means “don’t quit,” and sibbly, which means “your day job.”) With a humor column, it is understood that there will be exaggerations, fabrications, and occasionally, some full-fledged hallucinations. With regular journalism, all of these same distortions are present, of course, but the writer arrogantly insists that he or she is completely objective, unbiased, and truthful. (The primary goal of humor writing is to get people to blow milk out of their noses via an unexpected burst of laughter, while the primary goal of journalism is to get people to vote for liberal politicians. Obviously I have been far less successful in reaching my goal than, say, the editors of the New York Times have been in reaching theirs.)
I definitely prefer humor to journalism. With humor, when you make up a fact, you just write it down and move on. With journalism, when you make up a fact, you must then go through the tedious process of making up a plausible reference source (which no one ever checks) to support your phantom fact. It can be such a pain.
In the interest of accuracy, I’d like to set the record straight about certain statements made in recent columns. (Yes, accuracy is one important interest, but I’m also interested in having my mother and my wife speak to me once again.) So here goes:
My mother is not a Donna Reed clone who straps on a pearl necklace before doing laundry, nor did she joyfully look forward to cleaning six months worth of dirty clothes I brought home from college at the end of each semester. (She did it, but there was no joy involved.)
My wife did not forfeit her driver’s license to avoid teaching our daughter how to drive, nor did she ever wish to strangle me. (At least, that’s what she says.)
I did not dig an underground Y2K bunker and stock it up with seven crates of “AA” batteries and twelve crates of ammunition. (Regarding the stack of Dinty Moore cans still in my basement, however…well, let’s not go there.)
Ted Williams did not mash an unruly fan across the forehead with his cane at Fenway Park this year. (I can’t speak for other years.)
I never tell customers, “Uh oh, I’m driving into a tunnel. We might get cut—” and then press the Power Off button on my cell phone. (Unless absolutely necessary, of course.)
A sailboat did not laugh at me. (I think it was more like a snicker.)
The 911 emergency crew did not bring a portable operating room with them. (Although some of the stuff they had was straight out of Star Trek.)
A homeless man named Ripple does not live in one of our closets. (I really don’t know what his name is.)
I did not drive into a bridge abutment at 80 mph and kill myself while talking on a cell phone (at least I don’t remember doing that), nor did I drive all the way to St. Louis because I wasn’t paying attention. (Isn’t Philadelphia bad enough?)
On the other hand, the following things really did happen:
I flipped over a sailboat in the middle of a lake, had to be towed home, and my wife indeed called 911.
My wife really had surgery and I had to do some extra chores around the house. (After a while, I thought my name had been legally changed to “Stop Whining!”)
I did nap each afternoon on vacation, which gave me a little glimpse of heaven and a new-found appreciation of Mexican culture.
I did pull a hamstring muscle while squeezing through a parking lot fence at Fenway Park, but I did not suggest we leave before the game ended.
I discovered that McDonalds really does get its toilet paper from Home Depot’s sand paper aisle. (Well, OK, I don’t know that for sure, but can you think of any other explanation?)
So, as you can see, this whole humor writing business can be tricky. You never know when someone will misunderstand a silly little statement as being true. In fact, I was discussing this very subject the other day with Mark Twain. He was complaining bitterly about the same problem.
I’m glad I was able to clear this up and separate fact from fiction. Unfortunately, I’m going to need another column to clear up all the B.S. contained in this column.
|Home||Current Faith||Current Funnies||Faith Archive||Funnies Archive||Contact Bill|