'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
SUBURBAN MINIVAN GANG MEMBERS
I get a fair amount of email each week in response to my humor column. Some emails offer positive comments, while others express the sincere desire that I soon will be locked up. (Sheesh, those McDonald’s corporate lawyers are tough.)
Occasionally I receive emails that offer suggested topics for future columns, which the writers assure will be tremendously hilarious. Most of the time, however, these emails offer only two possible topics worth discussing: 1) the fact that many people have very odd personal definitions of the word “hilarious,” and 2) certain members of society really ought to start taking their medicine again.
But recently I received an email with a suggested topic, and I found it to be so bizarre and twisted—which happens to be my personal definition of the word “hilarious”—that I just had to use it. I’m sure the email writer does not want his name mentioned, so for discussion purposes, let’s just refer to this anonymous emailer as “Mark Ryan,” and let’s just say he lives in an unidentified place we’ll call “Watertown.”
Mark explained in his email that he and his wife are suburban parents and most of their friends are suburban parents, and one thing they have in common is the fact they all drive minivans. Recently Mark and his wife, who we’ll refer to anonymously as “Karla,” got together with some of their friends. I suspect this gathering included a large quantity of “suburban parent conversational lubricant,” also known as wine, because a primary issue they discussed was a longing to be as carefree as motorcycle riders. To quote Mark: “We were talking about how cool it must be to ride a motorcycle! You get to wave to other passing motorcyclists as if you belong to the same club….We as minivan drivers decided that we wanted to be part of a cool club like that too.”
At this point, it got a little strange (a word which is also part of my personal definition of hilarious). Mark and his friends spent a full hour laughing hysterically, after many liters of conversational lubricant, no doubt, and invented the rules and regulations for membership in their club of renegade, counter-culture minivan drivers.
The most important aspect is the official minivan hand gesture, which gang members flash to each other as they pass by on the road. It’s a quick three-part gesture. First, the minivan driver sticks his or her left arm out the window and points three fingers downward, signifying the letter “M.” Next, the hand is raised upward with two fingers in a “V.” Finally, the “thumbs up” sign is given. The unmistakable message is: Mini. Van. Yeah!
Mark assures me this gesture can be done smoothly and confidently with a little practice, so the kids in the back seats will think their parents are only semi-dork-like rather than full blown dorks. I’m sure local chapters of this wild and crazy gang soon will spring up all over the country.
Just to clarify a few things, so this newspaper is not accused again of supporting drinking and driving, Mark and his friends were on a camping trip when this conversation occurred. After laughing together well into the night, they crawled into their tents and slept. They did not saddle up their rumbling minivans and ride off to terrorize unsuspecting citizens. (Camping? Ugh! See last week’s column.)
All I can say, folks, is if you see this wild bunch roaring down the street, step aside. You never know what gang members will do next, especially gang members known as “khakis with attitude.”
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