I can’t begin to tell you how unfunny I’ve felt lately.
Maybe it’s all those recent natural disasters, or the disaster of my checkbook, or maybe I haven’t been getting enough potassium in my diet. Most likely it’s the annual blues that hit me every year in October, when I realize the days ahead involve the words “colder”, “snow”, and “fall Christmas sale”. Whatever it is, I’ve been moping around in an unpleasant state of mind, which is not conducive to inventing a humor column.
So I pulled out a file marked “column ideas”, in which I keep old news clippings and other information I can steal – ahem – gain ideas from. To give you an idea of how disorganized my life is, the first clipping contained an article in which Saddam Hussein predicted that anyone who attacks Iraq will fail. That would make it more than a few days old.
Saddam made the comments during a celebration of the end of the Iraq-Iran war, while thousands of armed volunteers marched through the streets of Baghdad.
Under his rule, people “volunteered” because they didn’t want their families tortured to death.
Saddam had kicked UN arms inspectors out of the country, one of the latest of the string of UN resolutions he broke. Refusing the arms inspections was one of many incidents that led many to believe Iraq had restarted their weapons programs, which helped lead directly to the invasion of Iraq. This brings me to the conclusion that he either knew he was going to get kicked out, and wanted to embarrass America as one last nose-thumbing at the rest of the world, or he was really, really stupid.
Considering Saddam still insists he’s in charge of Iraq, I’d go for choice number 2.
Okay, that article made me feel a little better. But directly below that was one about how two laptop computers, one holding classified information, came up missing from U.S. Central Command in Florida. This is where military planners were coordinating the war in Afghanistan.
We’re at war, and there isn’t enough security to keep track of a military computer? Have they checked for Saddams’s weapons of mass destruction at a U.S. base?
I perused more clippings, to discover the story of two dozen people on a boat trip, who had to strip and be decontaminated after someone dumped a mysterious liquid on them from an overhead bridge. The liquid was determined to be, and I quote, “stale human urine”.
I had no idea urine could become stale. I mean … is it ever fresh?
That brought me down a little. What kind of person would empty a portable toilet onto a boat load of people out for a pleasure cruise? Saddam was elsewhere at the time.
Then there was the story of a Boston surgeon who abandoned his anesthetized patient on the operating table and left the hospital … so he could run an errand to the bank.
This is incomprehensible. I can’t bear to leave the kitchen when I’m boiling water. Seriously, this guy needs punishment – somebody should spray him with his patient’s urine.
Meanwhile, a woman with 13 items tried to go through a 12 items or fewer checkout lane in Massachusetts, and got beaten up for it. Another woman got into line behind her, told the woman she didn’t know how to count, then swore at her. When our intrepid shopper was walking home, the other woman, who I will call PMS Lady, followed her in a car, then got out and started beating her up. PMS Lady was tracked down by her license plate and charged, but didn’t show up at her initial court hearing, and so was arrested again.
PMS Lady explained she was just defending herself when she screamed and cussed and beat up the woman who had one extra item in the express lane.
Look, I get just as annoyed as anyone else when people flaunt the rules – taking 13 items through the express, driving slow in the fast lane, and so on. But this reaction is like punishing a losing athlete by torturing him half to death, which – by the way – Saddam liked to do.
Speaking of connections, I see PMS Lady and the runaway surgeon are both from the same state. Maybe the judge should hand the surgeon 13 items and a scalpel, then send PMS Lady into the line behind them, and see who gets punished first.
Speaking of judges, a judge in Michigan was hearing a court case in which a woman complained that her estranged husband had violated a restraining order. When the man and woman gave conflicting stories about what really happened, the judge ordered them handcuffed together in a holding cell “until somebody decides that they’re going to not lie to the court”.
Well. The lawyers were just horrified. But you know what? I like that judge. It reminds me of when kids used to be sent to their room to think about what you’ve done. We need more people to stop acting like children and start thinking like reasonable people. Maybe PMS Lady, and Saddam, and the military guys who can’t keep track of their top-secret material, and the busy surgeon, and the pee people, all need a great big honkin’ time out. Not in today’s kid’s room, with the telephone and TV and stereo and computer, but in a place more like kid’s rooms were, back when being sent there meant something.
Give ‘em a book. Or better yet, the Good Book, where maybe they could pick up some golden rules.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s too late to treat adults that way, but I still think the judge had the right idea. If we went back to requiring adults to act like adults, maybe I’d find something in the paper more cheerful to write about, and I’d be able to handle winter better. But I gave up counting on reasonable people – and mild winters -- a long, long time ago.