More than once in the last week I have heard people say “Well, to be perfectly honest,…” and then some kind of backhanded insult telling me I shouldn’t wear stripes and polka dots together. Fashion fascists.
It was the first part of the sentence that got me thinking (mostly because I was on a chocolate danish sugar high). Why do we even say ‘to be perfectly honest’? The implications for human society are staggering. Ok, to be perfectly honest, that last sentence was hyperbole multiplied by a billion.
It’s a curious turn of speech, “to be perfectly honest” since it implies most of the time we as gum-flapping, bi-pedal bags of genetic material are being dishonest. A lot. And that means there’s a whole lot of lying going on. Which leads to mayhem. As well as electing mentally ill leaders to our respective corrupted democracies.
Without any scientific proof, or even an online degree in scientific proofery (it’s a real degree, I swear) I honestly believe we like being lied to so we don’t have to deal with any more stress than we already do. Oh sure, we get upset when we find out we have been lied to, but we have built in many layers of psychological protection to deal with all the dishonesty that is daily life.
It’s not just humans who lie, animals do it too, but for different reasons, like not wanting to get eaten. Many an animal will change its skin color or pattern so the larger thing with teeth doesn’t eat it. But it’s a form of a lie, mostly for self-preservation.
Humans need self-preservation skills, and being perfectly honest is not one that is conducive to making money on the stock market, having a successful marriage or getting elected to any position from dog catcher to president. Being perfectly honest in marriage and politics especially is a recipe for disaster.
Can you imagine telling your significant other he/she/it/they/thy/them looks like a dishevelled sack of discarded toilet tissue when they show you that article of clothing they bought online thinking it would make them look younger/thinner/cooler/hipper when in reality they really look like a dishevelled sack of discarded toilet tissue? Me neither.
Lying & Human Organs
If you ask any random passers-by if they would be willing to commit an act of charity that would save a life, most of them would probably say yes, providing you didn’t ask the aforementioned passers-by while they were in the changing room at the Victoria’s Secret store (Yes, I am obeying the court order, all right!)
Now if you asked those same passers-by if they have signed their organ donor cards, most of them would say yes and be lying to you. The second they think they’d have to give up a brain, a kidney, or a nipple – posthumously – they’d hide their heads in shame knowing they want to keep their organs.
Same goes for money-making. If someone said you could earn millions of dollars selling your kidney, you’d say No way! But if the question were you could earn millions of dollars selling somebody ele’s kidney, particularly that of your boss, you’d say “where’s the scalpel?” Now that to me is being perfectly honest.
On a side note, I skilfully slid in the human organs reference because it’s in the comic that no one reads, and I have a pretty odd idea how to work it into the next issue. It’ll be a doozy. Trust me, I am being perfectly honest here.
Note to people 55 and younger: This ramble has nothing to do with Snoop Dogg, the artist/musician/dope-fiend. Although, if it did, I'd probably get one or two more readers.
To snoop, to pry into the private affairs of others, especially by prowling about, seems to be how to make a living these days. And what a living I might add. The snoops at Facebook, within the Russian government, the NSA, CIA, China, Google, Windows, Amazon and its Alexa, Huawei, and, wait, did I mention China? Yeah, they all make a very handsome living snooping on what you do, where you are, were or will be, when you do it, with whom, how you do it, and most times they can guess why. They snoop on your blood type, underwear size and the last time you shaved your armpits. Should you be scared? Maybe, but you’d be better off becoming one of them.
The snoop state (I could have said surveillance state, but snoop state fits more easily on a t-shirt) requires a huge amount of humans to make it work. Massive amounts of human flesh are needed to make all this happen. You’ve got:
people watching millions of screens while they snoop
people making cameras and software to snoop on people
people installing all those cameras and snoop-ware
people manufacturing signs saying “Under Surveillance”
people to read your texts and listen to record your phone calls
people to serve danish, coffee and sandwiches to the people watching millions of screens and reading all those texts
people cleaning the filthy screens and crumb-filled desks from the screen watchers who chose to get their sandwiches on crispy baguette or lightly over-toasted wholewheat bread
people to manage all those people watching millions of screens and give them performance reviews depending on how effectively they snooped in the name of snooping
and lastly, all the people being snooped upon (wouldn’t it be great if the snoopee got paid for being snooped upon)
Effectively you need many troops to snoop.
We’ve established that it takes a lot of people and time and effort to snoop upon entire countries, masses of consumers and those rotten non-conforming dissidents, who probably have unkempt hair and an untucked shirt. Like me. Uh-oh.
Often I have wondered, while munching on a chocolate danish, what do all these employees of the snooping world discuss at lunch (apart from why I eat so many danishes)?
They know all the mundane aspects of our lives, they read our texts, eavesdrop on our calls, spy on our writings, and rifle through our garbage. No wait, that was the raccoon in our backyard. Still, what do these snoopers talk about at work? Maybe it’s about Prince William cheating on Kate?
But given the rampant paranoia of the deep state (Russia, if you’re still listening) and the actual destruction of privacy we have all permitted either knowingly (Google) or unknowingly (Facebook, China, etc.), my recommendation is to go watch Jeopardy or Game of Thrones while your TV watches you back.
I know, I know. Across the globe, from dictatorships to liberal democracies, from autocracies to plutocracies with some oligarchies mixed in, from republics to theocracies, leaders and their followers are angrily wondering why I haven’t published a comic in so long. (Coincidentally, I have received words of thanks from the Dalai Lama and the Nobel committee for NOT having published anything for a while. Something about the reduction in profanity having a beneficial impact on societal health. I say screw those muffin fondlers!)
It’s because I had to buy batteries.
Let me explain with a wildly tangential segue that could well indicate moderate to severe brain damage on my part. Or at least rapidly shrinking parietal lobes.
Dictatorships generally aren’t usually a good thing, what with all the repression and such, yet they tend to get things done somewhat more expeditiously, shall we say. Just look at China and Emperor Xi Jinping and how he and China have made tremendous economic, military and technological strides in the past decade. That is if you can gloss over the re-education camps filled with learning and torture, the big brother state that makes ‘1984’ look like 1929, land confiscations, the environmental damage and crushing dissent with a Made-In-China steel-toed boot.
As they say, sometimes you’ve got to break some eggs (or was that legs?) to make an omelette. A very powerful, paranoid, bloody, oppressive omelette.
Another example of a (near) dictatorship would be the Trump regime and its ability to pass laws and create policy that some would say are good for business, and some would say are bad for democracy, and utterly destructive to the environment (kind of like China, no?).
Sure, he was elected semi-lawfully, if you discount that minor Russia connection and influence campaign to subvert democracy. Yet, he and his demonic and mimetic minions are trying to come to grips with a free press that just refuses to be enamoured with his venal and penile approach to ego and power.
He said he’d cut taxes, and he did, so now you can ignore the reality of spine-crushing economic disparity AND oxygen-crushing climate change with your tax refund and buy a killer home entertainment system including a 200-inch TV with 4K picture quality, surround sound and a pair of VR goggles while Rome burns.
Heck, if you’re rich enough to live in a gated compound with armed guards, preferably not in a state that will be submerged when the sea levels rise, who gives a rat’s patootie? And if the sea levels do rise, you’re probably rich enough to own a yacht!
So how does the aforementioned form of governmental authority relate to my recent effort to purchase batteries as I stated at the top of this column?
I recently spent the better part of 25 minutes in a store trying to figure out which batteries I needed for a device I use for drawing. The sweat-filled frustration I endured rifling through 17 different kinds of batteries in opaque and slippery packaging led to a blood pressure spike coupled with pronounced and audible profanity before giving up and storming out defeated.
In the time it took to find, compare, and lift my glasses to read the fine print about 1 micron away from my failing, tired eyes, I thought to myself, Wouldn’t life be great if I were the Almighty Battery Czar who could single-handedly dictate there be only one singular size of battery for every dang electronic device out there??
No different shapes, or thicknesses or finishes. No stupid packaging and definitely no chance of having to buy a pack of 600 of them to get the best price. One battery size for flashlights, toys, hand-held label makers, smoke alarms, clocks, vibrators, portable juicers, novelty bras that light up, electric pencil sharpeners, smartphones, and of course xylophones (they have a wonderful ring to them).
And One Battery Shall Rule Them All…
As the great battery dictator, I would decree there be a choice between rechargeable and single-use batteries, thus displaying my, uh, magnanimousness or magnanimocity or magnanimity. Whatever.
Furthermore, the packaging would be greatly simplified by just having them in a huge bucket near the checkout lane at any store. You could buy them individually, like steaks, or in handfulls, like, uh, steaks.
Think of all the energy savings in (my) profanity-laced tirades alone! No more hunting through the shelves at stores looking for just the right size only to find you need to buy the 100-pack that of course isn’t on sale. The benefit in reduced blood pressure alone would be worth it for a battery dictator to be hoisted into power.
It turns out in the end that I didn’t need new batteries after all. The device works with a USB connection too. But the idea of becoming a battery potentate was kind of cool.
I can say this won’t be the most uplifting post I have ever tapped on a keyboard, mostly fuelled by chicken soup and residual chocolate danish.
Too much death from guns and hurricanes lately. Some of it man-made, some of it “natural” disasters. It’s clear that it’s “too soon” to have any discussions about gun control, you know, while people are being slaughtered by law-abiding gun-owning citizens. Heaven forbid.
Having the power of life and death over others is pretty heavy-duty, and not exercising that power is not as hard as you’d think if you have half a brain. Obviously there are a lot of people with not even half a brain, which might explain how these gun nuts can get their hands on a literal (not figurative) arsenal of weapons and then use them for target practice on the worst offenders known to humanity – innocent people.
It seems they needed killing because… well, there was no reason they needed killing. The vast majority of people do not need killing. Some do. Hitler needed killing. People who are trafficking humans need killing. Drug lords need killing. People who believe that killing will make them “one with god” or who call others “infidels” don’t need killing. But maybe they need life in the electric chair on a medium current.
But most of us don’t need death and killing. There’s too much death. Or there are too many people having babies. Too much sexual potency that I am clearly not a part of. I wouldn’t know what that is anymore. Perhaps it’s a question of these sick people feeling a) very important, or b) very impotent. These words sure sound similar, but there is just a minor difference. I’d wager to say it’s option ‘b’ more likely. So take a damn Cialis or Viagra and stop killing people with your “cocked” weapons.
The Question and Answer
Does this surfeit of population and double-surfeit of guns mean we need more death? Probably not.
My solution: Everyone should forcibly given an Internet connection, a subscription to Netflix and Amazon Prime, and then forced to watch every TV show out there until their brains are mush. And unending supplies of chocolate or cinnamon danish, with maybe some mild, brown bean coffee.
I told you this wasn’t the happiest post I have ever made.
Dateline: A June eve, colder than late October, my TV is now tuned to animation so I can ignore reality.
The ECT Plan
Another mass shooting, another terrorist attack, another reason there should be widespread, reckless, rampant use of electro-shock therapy.
Shock therapy is a grossly misunderstood and maligned tool for social equilibrium and lesson-imparting. Sadly, electro convulsive therapy (ECT), or ‘buzzing the brain goo” to the layman, has been given a bad rap in movies and the press as a way to “solve” difficult psychological issues such as aggravated fruit fondling, underground gerbil hurling competitions, spouse nagging and as a crowd control method at pop music concerts riddled with hormone-laden youth.
I say ECT could be used to settle the upcoming American election. Why you ask? Of course you’re not asking, because no one is reading this rant, except for the 4 incarcerated inmates at the Super Max Prison for Wayward Yoga Teachers. The “downward dog” takes on new meaning in that joint. But I digress.
ECT for You and Me
Let’s face it. Anyone who willingly votes for Donald J. Trump, be they male or female, young or old, rich or poor, tall or short, fat or slim, has essentially shown themselves to be in need of ECT-realignment of the cranial matter. I don’t mean it to be a punishment either. It’s required to restore some form of mental calm and synaptic equilibrium that is apparently sorely lacking in the country that somehow is responsible for the “infomercial”, yet gave us such gems as rock ’n roll and the blues.
Now before you say “you’re a lefty pink loving Hilary fan” — I say thee nay. I also think all her supporters should be subject to group ECT, preferably in an ankle-deep pool with 5000 piranha. They too are a little too fervent, especially those Bernie booster contingent whose idealism and dedication to the cause of fairness make my stomach turn and a little bit of acid reflux happens. Too much strident do-gooderism before breakfast is a little like having only dry whole wheat toast with low fat yogurt for breakfast — every day. And we know where that hellish scenario leads to: people wearing Birkenstocks with black socks, a definite sign of the apocalypse. The only way that is rectified is double ECT doses.
So where does that leave us? Give up on democracy? Well, not at the municipal level. But at the federal level, I should be made benevolent leader for about 6 months with a team of Hawaiian surfer maidens as my staff, ready to zap anyone with an ECT if they so much as question my desire for beef or pork ribs.
Here’s my plan to fix everything:
Ensure that all people across the country have unlimited bagels and chocolate and cinnamon danish to eat ever day. And we’d even make allowances for gluten-free danish until we could find an island to move the gluten-intolerant to. Not Hawaii. That’s for me.
We move the US armed forces, every last one of them, to the Britain where they take over the island and stop the British from telling everyone what’s “proper spelling” and remove all the journalists and tabloid owners that make a living reporting off the Royal Family and place them all on the St. Kilda Island in the Outer Hebrides. Win-win for all of humanity.
While everyone is still groggy from the post-ECT zap, we move everyone who wants to own a gun or hunts with a bow and arrow to the southern half of the country. Everyone who wants gun control and government mandated hugging and kisses we move them to the northern half. Each group gets access to the west and east coasts on weekends. Then we have the millions of illegal Mexican immigrants dig a deep trench about 100 miles wide, spanning from east to west, fill it with water and man-eating alligators and sea mines, so no one has any great desire to cross.
I figure the northern lefties will all hug and sing Kumbaya while the folks in the south will fire off their arms in sheer joy like it’s an Afghani wedding.
My guess is the people in the south will quickly kill each other because heat makes you do stupid things (see Middle East for reference), thus thinning the population, while the people in the north will nag each other to death with political correctness and too much health food and regulation, thus thinning their population, too.
When both sides of the divide are severely weakened after too much fried food in the south and too much organic buffalo cheese in the north, then we put them back together, hold an election and see if they have learned anything.
Chances are they won’t have learned a thing, but it would be a great social experiment. Especially since I don’t live there.
Oh and we lock Hilary and Donald in a closet, both naked, for 48 hours and see who comes out alive, because I don’t want to do any more comics about this buffoon. I need new material.
Driving home this evening in my creaky, achy minivan, trying not to notice the criminally exorbitant price of gasoline in my fair city, I heard on the radio that the national bureau of statistics had calculated that the rate of violent crimes in the country had dropped to its lowest point since 1991. Well, I thought, that is a pretty good sign of a society that is not totally going into the porcelain crap collector.
Yet that was followed by a more sobering fact that non-violent crimes had indeed increased in number and frequency, and showed a mild yet consistent trend upward. What made the report truly interesting and surreal was something I hadn’t really considered as a crime statistic before.
A Little Extra Death
Let’s differentiate between non-violent crimes, such as fraud, property damage, identity theft, excessive fruit fondling, and the violent ones, like breaking-and-entering (which sounds vaguely sexual), robbery, Pope-pestering, rabbi-rousing, wearing a pink polo shirt with checkered slacks, manslaughter, murder and pet-kicking.
But we now we have a new category of crimes being counted: terrorism. Just think, blowing up people and places is considered a crime that’s counted among the stats now. When I was growing up writing your name in pee in the snow was considered a violent act. Especially if you misspelled your name or only used lower case letters. Now it’s the ideologically-driven, indiscriminate murder of civilians that police have to count. Like they don’t have enough paperwork to do and African-Americans to physically abuse, now they have to deal with terrorists when they file a report.
Etymology and Cheap Segues
Interestingly, the etymology of the word idiot is Greek: idiōtēs (“person lacking professional skill”, “a private citizen”, “individual” – if that last descriptor is true, then we’re all idiots. Seems about right).
More critical to this fractured, late-night rambling, I thank the literary gods for that etymological deus-ex-machina because I had no clue how I could segue in the next paragraph from crime to the Greek tragedy occurring in Europe, and the subject of this inane comic some of you read when questioning whether you want to continue living or not. (Coincidentally, in a recent Reuters poll it was revealed that the expressed desire to commit suicide and/or vomit after reading my blog/comic has stayed steady between 99-100% among my loyal readers.)
Actually, come to think of it, now that my sugar levels are spiking, if we are speaking of true crimes and true idiots, Greece’s inhabitants and especially its politicians, and most of Europe fall under those descriptors.
Corruption Matched Only By Idiocy
Marvelling at the complicated corruption and financial extortion and ineptitude that is Europe and a bankrupt Greece, one has to wonder who is the bigger idiot, Greece or Germany, the bankroller of the EU.
If we had to define Greek attitudes toward paying taxes, acceptance of bribery monies, nepotism and backroom deals, we could generalize and say they wilfully and knowingly committed fiscal self-fornication for many a decade. When they entered the Euro Zone, they now had a rich Onkel to bail them out.
So when the proverbial περιττώματα hit the fan, some German banking sucker would fork over some cash at exorbitant and usurious rates figuring Greece was good for the dough. Little did those fat, corrupt German bankers know that the Greek skill and penchant for pissing away the money of others was comparable to that of drunkard on heavy diuretics at an ouzo factory. (Btw – I love hurtful national stereotypes. They make writing this crap much easier.)
Simple, Idiotic Answers to Complex Questions
Now that we have all watched this criminal Greek tragedy while Iran was negotiating a sweet deal to continue funding terrorism and simultaneously build a nuclear bomb pretty much unfettered, a simple yet moronic solution presents itself in this episode of the comic once referred to by Pope Francis as “the devil’s dung.”
Bomb everything, pave it over and put up a Wal-Mart. Violent, arbitrary, Neanderthilic and a wholly unnecessary overreaction? Sure. But so are Fox News and shopping at Wal-Mart on a Saturday.
No, I say we follow the simple, direct, armed approach. It has specific, measurable and attainable goals, as was taught to me in management classes. Which I mostly faked my way through as I was playing with my phone.
If the literate among you are reading this, it means the therapy hasn’t worked properly. But read on in any case.
The great Greek philosopher Heraclides, a student of Plato and a man known to like his ouzo cold and his lamb kabobs hot, gave us the insightful quote “The only constant is change.” Some say he was a great thinker, others say he was a genius.
He was an idiot.
Heavy Research Into Gender Reassignment
After much clinical research in an unlicensed basement apartment below a tattoo parlor, which itself was below street level, as well as heavy number-crunching from numbers I randomly came up with when I fell asleep on my key board, the ultimate, dare I say Platonic truth is that change really isn’t the only constant. Stupidity is. Let’s examine the evidence.
While I was in the hospital today with my father, as he recovered from being sliced open and butterflied like a 77-year old package of recently boiled Coorsh or Schwartz’s smoked meat so they could restore his porous, crooked spine to a state that could support his Dilaudid-filled body again, we talked about what would be his next operation. I suggested instead of his knee or his personality, maybe a gender reassignment operation. Then it dawned on me — why the heck do we call it “gender reassignment” when “sex change” was a perfectly apt description?
The words “gender reassignment” sound like a kind of operation where the doctors would reassign his sexual bits to different parts of his body. Maybe they’d put his penis on forehead? His testicles could go underneath his armpits? That would be quite the reassignment. But had I used the now passé “sex change operation” I would have been calling it what is it. I fell prey to being stupid and using something abstract to describe something concrete.
So why does this qualify as stupidity? First of all, my father would make a very ugly woman if he would have a sex change operation. He doesn’t have the legs for it, he gets 5 o’clock shadow, and he can barely walk in flat shoes let alone anything with a heel. But I digress.
Stupidity rears its ugly head not just in medical descriptions, and more prevalent of late, idiots on the Internet trying to commit stunts of bravery and stupidity in the name of fame (or infamy). Through a form of vocabulary abuse and trickery, us North Americans let ourselves be abused by the various marketing departments into buying crap because of how we name it. The biggest idiocy perpetrated is the word “artisanal” being attached to any product to make it seem more unique, more handcrafted. And to be able to charge 20% more for nothing.
Abuse of Art
Artisanal bread? Well, it could be hand-crafted by some bread fetishist who failed out of fine arts. Artisanal jams, jellies, fruit, cheeses, meats – maybe, but it’s a stretch. How much artistic handcrafting goes into meat, I ask you? Is the salami you bought beveled and shellacked in such a way as to elicit the word “craftsmanship” or are you looking for something salty, fatty and garlicky that goes well on rye bread with some mustard when you’re at the meat counter of the deli?
Lately I have seen “artisanal” attached to items that I don’t think genuinely qualify as being passionately created by a skilled craftsman (or craftswoman). For example, they attached artisanal to the following: men’s undershirts, power tools, condoms, paper, tampons, hand towels, aluminum foil, and I think I saw “artisanal iPhone” somewhere recently, although I could be mistaken.
I think this could all be summed up by examining the word artisanal itself If you look at its constituent components, it reads “Art Is Anal” which I think we could all agree upon after at least five or six shots of ouzo is pretty ass-backwards and yet tellingly creative of me. Furthermore, if we return to our original statement from Heraclides, an ancient Greek guy, who most likely hung around the boys locker room rubbing his hands in glee like a perverted Benny Hill character, we can see where the “anal” part of “artisanal” comes from. On a tangentially related note, my therapist cousin pointed out to me some time ago that this word is made of “the” and “rapist.” She aid it, not me.
That, my dear readers, and those who pretend to read to avoid discussing banal subjects with their significant other over breakfast, was a truly artisanal use of language. I think I will burn in hell for this post.
Smitten like a sex kitten,
Bartelby T. Scrivener-Druker upon Tyne, Just South of the River Thames Near Yon Burning Garbage Fire
To you the readers who are forced to read this as part of your plea bargain,
Recently, there has been a lot of discussion about health issues in the family. Who’s got it, who doesn’t, who’s flaunting it and who knows nothing about it. Turns out some of us in the family are more into health issues than others. Why, even I, the junk food eating guru to the stars, have embraced a device to help me monitor my physical activity (it keeps sending me a message saying I’ll be dead soon if I don’t stop watching TV), as well as my sleep patterns and duration of said sleep (which are, respectively, dangerously erratic and woefully short).
Am I relying on technology to help me? No, it’s just a toy I can use to talk about at non-existent parties I never get invited to. But it has come in handy on those when I did do exercise or managed more than 4 consecutive hours of sleep without “the night terrors.” Yet this toy is merely an external device to help me look at things differently. It takes knowledge to be able to make choices that better me and my health, and you have to be careful about what people tell you is good for you.
5 Death Foods – No Bacon Cheeseburgers However
Most recently I was informed there are 5 things I should avoid eating to live a healthier life. Oddly, they skipped over the bacon cheeseburgers, so I am good with that. However, one of them was strawberries. Apparently, due to the high usage of pesticides and their residues, we shouldn’t eat that many of them. Which got me to thinking (because of too much caffeine and free time, really). I concluded I would be remiss – nay, dare I say,negligent and irresponsible to NOT feed strawberries to my children.
I see it this way. Rasputin long ago knew that by ingesting small amounts of poisons, he could build up an tolerance to them thus leading a long and fruitful life without fear of dying from the hemlock-laced vodka handed to him by his enemies. Look how well that worked for him. He now has his own Wikipedia entry!
By illogical extension, I would be a responsible parent if I let my kids have all the strawberries they could ever eat, thus giving them the chance to build up this tolerance to these poisons. Kind of like increasing your alcohol tolerance when you were university. By the end of your first semester, you could drink a keg of beer and only have a mild hangover.
Furthermore, it would be wrong of me as a parent to deny them the preservative-laden junk food I eat if I want them to live a long time. Is there a risk of cancer? Well, sure, but I could just as easily get hit by a car being driven by a cancer patient fleeing his chemotherapy on the way to eating a bacon cheeseburger. See how logical it all is?
I would still insist my kids eat veggies and other healthy options (also probably covered in dirt and bugs and pesticides) but there has to be balance. They need a good self-defense against the evil-doers of the fruit world.
Speaking of self-defense, why is fencing still an Olympic sport? I think there are maybe 26 people in the world who still do it, and frankly, I am not sure what societal benefits it brings. Wrestling makes sense. We need that sport for homo-erotic entertainment and it comes in handy when your child runs away from you and won’t take his or her medicine. The decathlon also makes sense to keep. I often have to run distances to avoid the police. Frequently, I want to toss a javelin at people I don’t like, so I should be prepared for that discipline. But fencing?
The 4 Truths
First of all, they have masks, so no one can poke an eye out. Mega-Sissies. No one wears a mask when fly fishing and you can easily poke an eye out there.
Second, they wear masks (yes, I’m repeating myself, but I am struggling for material to write), and they taught me in management school, never wear a mask unless it’s Halloween, you have an unhealthy fetish for 17th century French garb and you’re going the ball that evening, or conversely, you’re firing someone and they might spit in your face.
Third, they are all in white, which increases dry cleaning bills – especially if they manage to draw blood (although with those sissy epee thingies that look like they could use some Viagra, I can’t see how). Or if they’re eating a sausage with mustard and sauerkraut before the match. The percoehtylene needed to clean that would be astronomical! The damage to the environment from the dry cleaning alone should ban the sport.
Banking On Fencing, Are We?
Lastly, when am I allowed to use fencing in daily life? I can’t use it at the bank because they have this thing about wearing a mask in a financial institution. Doesn’t work at the passport office because I’ll lose my place in line if I parry a thrust from some one cutting in line and I lose my footing on the carpet. I can’t use it at work as it’s considered a menacing management technique in meetings and during performance reviews. And let’s not talk about the bedroom! If I say I am “wielding a sword-like device” one more time, I’ll be on the couch again.
What does all this have to do with anything? Without a healthy self-defense, we’re left only with self-offense. That, my friends, makes even less sense that the crap I wrote above.
Unflinchingly, undyingly and ungainly yours,
To my fondest adherents (mostly they are incarcerated),
So much is made of laws and customs and social morays, how without them it would be anarchy, chaos, or like shopping at Walmart on a Saturday morning when the grannies and families are out for bargains at the cost of someone else’s blood. I am not sure we really heed these laws and customs, or even “best practices” (there’s a load of crapola if I ever heard one). Bear with me while I bare down on the imagined argument I am about to lay out (figuratively, of course, because if I were to lay it out literally, it would involve using a lot of paper or white sheets and a movie projector and I don’t have a permit for that).
A common refrain I think I hear in my family as we either age or have sinus infections is “that’s how wars are started.” This refers quite simply to one party having misheard the other and a minor argument has ensued or shouting. Or the shouting is needed to repair the miscommunication because we’re all deaf or listening to something way too loud on our respective i-devices that Mr. Jobs gave us before he the cold finger of vegetarian death claimed him.
My point being miscommunication and mishearings are often at the heart of what’s wrong with the world (that’s not counting religious or political zealots, both of whom seem to like raising taxes). Oh sure, there have been some horrible occurrences in the past when the message was loud and clear (yes, I’m referring to Hitler, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Apartheid, Joe Stalin, Chairman Mao, or the owners of many sports teams).
Yet so much death and violence and ugliness could have been spared had we all just listened to each other, or turned on our hearing aids.
Let’s suppose for a minute that the story of Moses getting the word of God on Mt. Sinai actually happened. There are people out there on the globe who scoff at this story, others who believe it wholeheartedly, and many, many somewhere in Mongolia fondling an ox, or on a beach resort in Bali too blasted from the hedonistic hellishness from the night before to really give a rat’s ass about this. But let’s take this as a basis for Western culture’s biggest misunderstanding: The 10 commandments
I contend without any formal training or guidance, and possibly with one glass 10-year old of port too many and 23 nights too few of proper sleep that if we posit that Moses did receive the commandments lo those many weeks ago, he must have misunderstood something. If Hollywood is to be believed, when Moses was up there on the Mount, there was thunder, lightning, a burning shrub (most likely from the lightning, or maybe God tossed a lit cigarette uncaringly out of a cloud – smoking was much more acceptable back then).
It would follow logically that Moses, who by that time must have been dehydrated from climbing Mount Sinai without a Sherpa guide or oxygen tanks and a North Face jacket, was a little dizzy and maybe took down the commandments by shorthand and couldn’t read them afterward. Or more likely, in state of not having had a coffee on the Mount, misheard what God said due to early morning grumpiness. Or he went deaf from all the thunder and shouting and had to read God’s lips.
My theory is that “Thou shalt not steal” was really “Thou shalt not eat veal” given that, unless it’s cooked properly, preferably with garlic and lemon, it’s not one of my favorite meats. Especially if it’s overdone. Furthermore, I have a funny feeling when God said “Thou shalt not kill” I think God really said “Thou shalt not spill.” Let’s look at the facts.
Humans kill all day, every day, for good reasons, for no reasons, for money, sex, fame, women, sports cars, for accidental rollator theft at the old peoples’ home, not to mention because of boredom in South American, Russian and Asian dictatorships. If that commandment in particular were meant to be heeded, we’re doing a pretty crappy job of it. Frankly, if we killed more, and more selectively (I’m talking to you Mr. Neighbor’s Cat Who Craps On My Lawn Just Before I Go To Mow It, and Subsequently Step In Its Droppings) world over-population wouldn’t be such a hot topic at the dinner table, right after “Can we order Chinese instead of having leftovers?”
If my theory is right, and “Thou shalt not kill” was a typo or miscommunication, and should have really been “Thou shalt not spill”, it would explain why my father would throw us death looks at the dinner table when we were kids and we knocked some liquid over. I think dad wanted to kill us then. Furthermore, have you noticed how bent out of shape people get when they spill milk? They cry over it! Even though we have developed a coping mechanism in the English language to deal with that fact. We tell people not to cry over it. Easy.
To underscore my point further, what happens when there’s a chemical spill somewhere? Everyone goes nuts, the media are all over it, some environmental lawyer with poor grooming habits is on every talk show and the victims of the spill are helped and cared for. Yet, when a politician runs over someone after an all-nighter with a hooker, no one bats an eyelash. But spill hot coffee on a dictator’s lap when he’s planning an assassination and there will be hell to pay.
It’s quite clear to me now that the 10 commandments should really be renamed to the “10 best practices”, because if they were true commandments, and there were real consequences with eating poorly prepared veal, there would be some kind of bad-ass payback in the form of locusts or reality shows being banned from television. Furthermore, if you believe in a god, he or she or it is a pretty hands-off manager, and not in the good way. You get your marching orders from some lower-level manager, then god is off who knows where playing golf or at a bar in the Caribbean with the top salesmen, and when it’s time to give feedback on your performance, you’re usually dead. So what good is a bonus then?
I won’t even get into “Remember the Sabbath Day” – I am sure it was “Remember to take a bath every day.” Those ancient Israelites must have stunk after being in the desert and sweating and fornicating. The least they could have done was wash their privates and armpits. But no, Moses had to go and take a perfectly good commandment on hygiene and he made up the word “Sabbath” just to confuse the vitamin and water-depleted freed slaves so he’d have a day off to watch football. There went millennia of good hygiene and the birth of smelly Frenchmen.
What does any of this have to do with the latest installment of Stanko & Tibor, the illustrated dialectical Karl Marx once used as a beer coaster when he was hitting on the busty waitress at Das Bierhaus? Not much except that try as we might, communications will be missed thus leading to wars, and killing will go on unabated, and sadly it won’t be that cat that is forever in my backyard dropping fecal reminders.
Master Plumber and Part-time Electrician
Zsolt “The Volt” Tesla-Druker