Saturday, August 22, 2009

Is there another word for synonym?

George Carlin always asked the most important questions, didn’t he? Now that he’s gone, who is left to tell us what to question? Watching TV last night in our adjacent recliners, it occurred to me that some people never figure out the mission statement of their lives. If the crucial challenge of our life is never put into terms we can understand, we could end up bouncing around on the pool table of life in whatever direction the other balls push us, and watching banal TV shows in our adjacent lazyboy/girl recliners.

Then again, such people often have the optimism that is the reward of living the unexamined life. Such people tend to think that it’s a good thing, for example, that smokers are less likely to die of age-related causes, without looking past that good news. Also, when these people have an original thought, you have to admit it’s original. For example, Britney Spears actually said this: “I don't really have time to sit down and write. But when I think of a melody, I call up my answering machine and sing it, so I won't forget it.” Pure genius.

The mission statement of my life could be: lather, rinse, drink, repeat. That other mission-statement-challenged people happen frequently to be tiresome, goes without saying. Then again, if I had a time machine, I’d probably use it to go back to the beginning of this sentence.

So, last night, during the commercials between reruns of Scrubs, I began to formulate my Rules for Conversation Interruptus:

1. When I try to explain something, interrupt midway to ask the very question being answered.
2. When I resume an interrupted sentence by beginning “As I may have mentioned recently…” interrupt at this point to say “You don’t have to get all mad about it and whatnot”
3. Break the silence at the point it is becoming somewhat sinister by pointing at something banal and observing how interesting it is. Extra points for not making sense and/or having passed the object being pointed at traveling at 40 mph, making it impossible for conversational partner to see the object. Extra, extra points for talking over another speaker and waving your pointy finger too close to the other speaker’s face.
4. When I have uttered a simple sentence (e.g. cats have whiskers) pause thoughtfully and ask, “what?” and then interrupt after the first two words are repeated.
5. Repeat a statement by the other person verbatim, but intoning it as a question, e.g. Cats have whiskers?
6. Whatever else you do, never listen unless something is repeated at least twice.
7. Gesturing to the undefined aether in front of the speaker – is that someone I should know? Or, is he somebody famous?

1 comment:

Martha in Michigan said...

"The optimism that is the reward of living the unexamined life"—oh, is that why I'm a congenital pessimist, because I think too much? That's nice. Easier to live with than just being a knee-jerk nattering nabob of negativism. You may even be right. Certainly, I will tuck this away in my little pocket of suicide-prevention strategies. (Boy, I suck at metaphors.)