Originally scheduled for Thursday, July 21.
The Book wants me to piss on it. Seriously. To see if I’m pregnant.
When I was in high school, one of the local (and by “local” I mean “Dallas”) radio stations — 97.1 “The Eagle” — had a pair of late-evening DJs: Kramer and Twitch.
I didn’t listen to the Eagle much — it was a “hard rock” station at the time, and that wasn’t/isn’t really my thing — but I listened to Kramer and Twitch’s show at least once, because I remember a prank call they made on the air.
I don’t remember all the details — I remember almost none of the details, actually, about the call or about where I was driving from or towards at the time — so I can’t give the joke a proper setup. The punchline, though, is that they got some random dude to piss all over his dining room table.
Seriously. I think they pretended to be from the CDC, or some such place, and convinced the guy that he might have contracted some disease or other; they needed him to piss on a flat surface, like a table, I think so that they could ask him questions about color and consistency? Like I said, the details are fuzzy. The punchline, though, that’s gold.
I don’t know why that bit of radio tomfoolery has stuck with me so long — crazy dudes call a guy on the air and talk him into pissing all over his own table — but it has, and it was the first thing that came into my mind when I saw this task. So I knew, you see, that when someone or something asks you to piss in a nonstandard place — a place you’re not comfortable pissing — you’re probably being trolled.
I pissed on the Book anyway, obviously. Why the hell not?
“Find out by writing down everything you say. Highlight your wittiest phrases.”
Even my wittiest off-the-cuff moments are not that witty — and on those rare occasions when I stun my audience (myself included) with a flash of rhetorical, punning brilliance, merely writing down the one thing I said would not do the moment justice.
Context is important: no matter how funny the punchline, it’s not funny at all without the setup, and impromptu punchlines — bons mots — are the hardest to recreate, because nobody’s really paying enough attention to the setup to reconstruct it after the fact.
Most wit doesn’t keep. Some of it does, of course — none of mine, but that of wittier folks — but what wit does keep is kept in writing, and wit that is written down is embellished and refined in the writing. Something like that.
The small amount of conversational wittiness I do have is in my taciturnity — because brevity is the soul of wit — and so I’m going to spend the rest of this post recounting the parts of my conversations today when I could have said something, and didn’t:
Day 176 was “Free Pet Day” — I was tasked with creating a vague-enough-to-fit-lots-of-animals “lost pet” flyer, posting it around town, and thereby acquiring a pet that someone else lost.
I don’t need another pet: we have two dogs, and soon we’ll have a cat, once it gets big enough to fend off the dogs. So rather than creating a sort-of-convincing flyer, I went with a variation of the Have you seen this dog? / I have now joke. I printed up 20 or so of the flyers, and was going to post them up in a local park that has a walking/running path. I kept putting it off, because it’s hot out all the time, and I could never get up and moving early enough that I wouldn’t break a sweat just walking outside.
And then, yesterday, our dogs ran away.
This isn’t the first time: they escape periodically, run around for a bit, and then come back — and usually we notice they’re gone almost immediately, and go get them. Yesterday, though, even though we knew they’d escaped pretty soon after the fact, they had disappeared by the time we (well, Lorna and the kids) went out looking for them.
They didn’t wander back in a timely manner. We called the pound; no luck. Late in the afternoon, I put up “lost dog” flyers; no calls, yet. We’re hoping that someone took them in, and will see one of the flyers soon, and then we’ll have our dogs back. If they don’t ever come back to us, we’ll just tell ourselves that they found a different good home, and are happy.
And we’ll have a cat, at least.
…stupid fucking dogs.
The Book’s hypothesis is that treating a significant other like shit will keep your relationship fresh and vibrant, and recommends trying it out for a day.
I’ve been using this strategy for nearly a decade, and my marriage is
better than as good as it’s ever been. I think the phrase my wife says to me most is “you’re an asshole” – so I must be doing something right.
I spent our honeymoon drunk and belligerent. I left our passports and plane tickets in our hotel room, and we didn’t figure it out until we were nearly to the airport. We retrieved the passports and tickets, but missed our flight, couldn’t get on another one until five the next morning, and had to hang out in the airport for 18 hours – 18 hours I spent drunk and belligerent.
A few months later, I got drunk, smoked some pot, fell in the mud, and cried uncontrollably for hours. I may have thrown up in her car. I also had the audacity to complain about my hangover the next day, and made my long-suffering wife cook me breakfast – sausage and hashbrowns, coffee and orange juice, cheesecake.
While she was pregnant with our first child, I took a weeklong road trip with some friends. Didn’t tell her about it – I guess she might have been mad, but we never talked about it. I came home, and we acted like nothing had happened. We call that our “lost week” – or we would, if we ever talked about it.
I was completely useless when that kid was born. Lorna didn’t sleep much those first few months – hey, that’s what happens when you have a baby, right? – but I still got eight hours a night. And naps. And I changed no diapers, and washed no dishes, and did no laundry. And I was drunk and weepy a lot.
There was that year I didn’t really talk to her. That’s still the norm, really – I’ve said about a dozen words to her today, maybe, which is about average. She talks to me a lot, of course, but I try to make it clear that I’m not listening. She keeps talking, but a resigned sadness comes into her eyes. I love that; she’s so sexy when she’s given up all hope of happiness.
I’m condescending, short-tempered, lazy, shiftless, shirtless, unhelpful, and I break dishes on purpose so I don’t have to wash them.
My wife’s response to all this?
“I will fucking kill you.”
…see you all tomorrow, then.
Holy flying fish fuckers, seriously? “Express my views?” Views about what? And why?
Look, I have no views. No opinions whatsoever. I have nothing to express, to anyone, about anything, for any reason, ever. I am completely neutral. I’m so neutral I make Switzerland look like the opinionated blowhard uncle nobody wants to sit next to at Thanksgiving. I would make a joke about how I’m more neutral than neutrons, but, honestly, I don’t understand neutrons enough to pull it off.
Obviously that’s not true. About having no views, I mean – I really couldn’t come up with an “I’m more neutral than a neutron” joke. I have lots of views, but I prefer not to express them – especially on the internet. There’s not much in the way of context, there’s no room for nuance, and text is completely toneless: irony, sarcasm, mock-seriousness, actual seriousness – they all sound the same on the internet.
You want some views? No, you don’t, not really, but here they are anyway. And they’re all steaming piles of horse-shit.
- “A book should be constructed like a watch and sold like a sausage.”
- “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.”
- “Nature violates its own kingdoms! Kings shave themselves!”
- “I should to Plashy too, but time will not permit.”
- “A sandwich can kill you.”
- “Eventually technology will reach the point where this conversation makes perfect sense.”
- “I just threw some bassoon on this muthafucka.”
- “Who is the best at space? Riker.”
- “I gave no shits, because I’m dead.”
- “Obviously a strongly elongated penis is the solution.”
- “Saturation Matching.”
See? Expressing your views is a complete waste of everyone’s time, and nobody should do it. Ever. Under any circumstances. I think my list proves that.
This is a picture of squirrels fighting; your opinions are invalid.
The Book is referring to telekinesis, specifically: “Today try lifting an object with your mind.”
I grew up with Star Wars – of course I’ve tried to do this. It never worked. Of course, I never tried that hard; it doesn’t look like much fun, doing a one-handed handstand in a swamp with an old green dude sitting on your foot, spouting mystical nonsense while you’re trying to move rocks with your mind. While upside down. In a swamp.
There’s a joke about telekinesis, which isn’t very funny because it’s didactic. It’s infinitely variable, but it goes something like this: The joke-er says to the jokees, “Do you think I can lift/move that [object] with the power of my mind?” The jokees respond; the content of their response is unimportant. The joke-er then walks to the [object] and picks it up. The power of the mind, working through the limbs. Hilarious!
No, it’s not really that funny. I warned you, though.
The reason the joke works – and it works, even if it’s not funny – is that we are still operating under the influence of Plato, for whom the body was nothing, and the soul/mind everything. For Plato, the physical world was unreal, because it was changing and corruptible – and while most of us accept the reality of the things around us, there is still a tendency to separate the “mind” from the “body” (and to privilege the former), as though our minds weren’t lumps of high-cholesterol meat.
We’re made of meat, people. We think with meat, we put our thoughts into action with meat. Those of you who are waiting for the Singularity will probably disagree with me, but I think the meat is essential to our humanity. I don’t mean to suggest that someone with an artificial joint or a prosthetic limb is somehow less human – but at some point, one becomes more machine than man, and certainly a human brain in a mechanical body is something other than human.
Your brain and your body aren’t two separate things: they’re all part of the same piece of meat. Embrace it; go out and move something with the power of your meat-mind. And if you use that joke, don’t tell anyone you learned it from me.