Friday, February 2, 2007

Achieve Happiness Through Immaturity

By Chuck McKay

Survey comes in the mail. “Please list major events or accomplishments since graduation. Tell us what you've been up to.”

In this situation you suddenly want to impress a bunch of strangers, people you haven't seen in ten years, and people you won't see for another ten years.

It's hard to do. Got a family? Big deal, even the biggest losers in the world can have kids with another loser. Making six figures? You pretentious snob. Traveled the world? Why don't you settle down and figure out what you want!

I solved the conundrum by reverting to my Personal Life Philosophy: never pass up an opportunity to stain a serious, good-faith effort with immature creativity.

My response looks like this:

1996: Took up ping-pong, placed second in imaginary New England Championships.
1997: Befriended a cow.
1998: Speeding ticket.
1999: Paroled.
2000: Answered the age old question, “How much sex can one man not have?”
2001: Mmmmm... chewable Tylenol.
2002: Purchased lawnmower.
2003: Confirmed Pythagorean Theorem.
2004: In bloodless coup, seized control of the government of Tennessee, demanded that they adopt English as their official language and stop pronouncing “milk” as “mealk,” decided Third-World politics was not for me, turned state back over to tacky Dolly-obsessed souvenir-hawking strip merchants.
2005: Saved a bunch of money on my car insurance by switching to unicycle.
2006: Used a stick to poke at dead thing in my yard.
2007: In devastating display of military might, reduced Lego city to a pile of rubble.

No feeling matches that of filling up you class reunion survey with so many impressive accomplishments that you have to start writing up the side of the page, in really tiny print, like a poorly-planned yearbook message.

Ugh. Don't even get me started about my yearbook.

“Dear Chet, You've been such a great friend these four years! Where did the time go? Seems like I barely got to know you [probably because you are an awkward, acne-infested pathetic stick figure with Rush Limbaugh's body odor]. Perhaps our paths will cross again some day. If you ever need a friend, give me a call [or stare at my cheering photo]. Sincerely, Trisha.”

As you can imagine, I didn't go to my class reunion. I probably missed out on some more opportunities for immature fun. But why stop with class reunions? My Personal Life Philosophy can help you impress complete strangers any time.

My grandfather loved to tell the story of how a telemarketer once offered him a terrific deal on a vacuum cleaner. “I'd love to have one,” he replied, “but it probably wouldn't do much good because our floors are made of dirt.”

The telemarketer, apparently well-trained despite his skull being filled with organic peanut butter, did not give up, and suggested perhaps the vacuum would make a great gift. “Nobody I know has time for cleaning, anyway,” my grandfather responded. “In fact, I haven't even been able to get down to the creek for a bath in three or four days!”

Some people, particularly my wife, would have you believe this kind of good-natured fun serves only to exploit others for a cheap laugh. Perhaps people don't appreciate me using them for my entertainment.

Am I too insensitive? I remember a cat I used to have in college named Yermom. I named the cat Yermom so I could say things like, “We need to make a vet appointment; Yermom is way overdue on her shots.”

Yermom did not seem to enjoy the humor. A few times I wondered if she knew how much fun we had at her expense, depressed because her name was a complete mockery. Then I realized she was a cat, and cats, like people, take themselves way too seriously. They prioritize avoiding embarrassment over being interesting or funny. It's sad.

When I moved out of my bachelor pad I had to give Yermom away, and I think she got renamed. I miss the cheap laughs. Sometimes they're the only ones I can afford.


676 words

No comments: