My humor gland has been underperforming lately. I feel slow. I blame the news in - not that I wish to single out any particular United State, but - this one. We as a species are conditioned to expect our excitement from the news in the form of car crashes, beached sea cows, Pokémon card tournaments, sea cows crashing their cars because they were too busy playing Pokémon cards, etc. Yet nary* a day goes by that we don’t pick up our newspaper** and instead encounter pickin’s along the lines of this little number:
HUNKACHUNKABUNK (AP) – A small furry animal died Tuesday in an apparent vehicular homicide. Investigators are calling this an “in-state event,” seeing as it happened in the state, but also one with “international implications,” seeing as, in the words of Hunkachunkabunk Chief of Police F. Buzz “Biff” Fliddle, “there was a bag of ‘Mexican Fiesta’-variety chips in the vehicle.”
No, scratch that. I’m lying. Obviously, I don’t even READ the news here, or else I would understand that the people of this state can hardly be expected to concern themselves with their wildlife when attempts are being made on the lives of: their desserts.
RESIDENTS CALL PROPOSED DONUT TAX
“CRULLER AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT”
*in unrelated bus crash
Of course, I really have no business picking on any one state in this regard. This I have learned thanks to my current job at the ice cream store, where every summer travelers from around the globe gather to cast off their cultural disparities in order to devote themselves to the common goal of shoving each other out of the way so they can gomp down massive amounts of ice cream really fast:
ME (brightly): Hi, sir! What can I g–
ME: Sir, you just inhaled the entire vat of Butter Fudge Aneurysm and everything in its wake, including the wall clock.
MY CO-WORKER (looking around suspiciously): Wasn’t Ashley just here?
Yes, we are a planet of dessert-lovers. Still I would venture to say that my current state of residence is a mite more fixated on this sphere than, say, my former state of residence, Florida, where citizens held a deep and abiding interest in cute dead things, and if there was a news article about cute dead things, then by God we were going tokeep hearing about cute dead things. Here I am recalling a particular day in the second grade, on which we did “Current Events.” This was a ritual that took place on a regular basis, in which each of us second-graders would bring an article from the local paper to read and discuss, thereby serving the sound educational purpose of allowing the teacher to retreat into the bathroom with her bag of confectioner’s sugar. In retrospect, Current Events was an unusual choice for a class pastime, seeing as most of us were essentially illiterate, though come to think of it, this would have made for great fun a few years later (“Intern Gives President a Bw… Bwo… B…”). But no, this was in 1995, when the selections for the week consisted of these two stories:
• Baby sea turtles run over on Beach Road
• Orville Redenbacher dead
At least, that was what you could tell from what 24 second-graders brought in, with 17 of the more sadistic kids choosing the turtles (complete with color photograph***) and the rest going for Orville Redenbacher. The rules for Current Events were that everybody had to read their articles aloud in full so the teacher could finish all her sugar, which meant that by the time she was done, pretty much the entire sea turtle species had been wiped out, plus Orville Redenbacher had died seven times.
This reminiscence has led me, numerous (1) times, to wonder what sort of Current Eventing youths get up to nowadays, especially in this state. What do they do? Do 24 kids get up and, one after another, present on the donut tax? Let me stress again that we do have other news stories here; it’s just that the layout of the local newspapers makes some items harder to find than others, as in:
Latest on donut tax – A1-A6
Revered popcorn figure dies – C4
Asteroid to obliterate Earth at 4:33 P.M. today – J7
But if we cannot take it upon ourselves to dig deep into the news pages, how can we ever expect to bring to light further gems like the one on my bulletin board, about the Portland man who called the L.L. Bean catalog to place an order, only to find that the catalog, having misprinted its phone number by one digit, had inadvertently printed the number for a phone sex line:
PHONE SEX PROFESSIONAL: What are you wearing?
L.L. BEAN CUSTOMER: Uh…
PSP (getting hot): Is it a parka?
PSP (getting really hot): Does it feature a densely woven nylon shell and insulated zip-off hood, not to mention a liner of breathable waterproof Gore-Tex????!!!
So let this be a lesson to you, youth of today: NEVER RELENT in your search for worthy news. Persist, persist, persist to the end of time in your quest for news items that will climb every mountain, ford every stream, move every bowel until finally we have no idea what we are talking about. This is nothing less than our duty as functioning, contributing, trash-taking-outing, Butter Fudge Aneurysm-consuming members of society. HOW MANY REVERED POPCORN FIGURES MUST PERISH BEFORE WE LEARN??
Whoops. Sorry there. Guess I’m a little tense. Breathe in. Breathe out. Maybe all I need is to simmer down, to kick back with a good book and a nice vat of Hunkachunkabunk. Sounds like a plan. Ideally I should do it before 4:33 P.M. rolls around, consid...WHUMP
*Old English, meaning "nary."
**In my case, the This State Times.
***They looked kind of like Girl Scout cookies, only without the evil.
©2008, Nicola McEldowney
The Snark Ascending