Barry Smith: Irrelativity
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
You’ve seen those stickers in the back windows of Ford pickup trucks – an evil, grinning cartoon Calvin urinating on a Chevy insignia. Or vice versa. They’ve been around for a while, so I’m not pretending this is news.
Yet each time I see one I’m mystified. Do people REALLY care that much about whether their truck is a Ford or a Chevy? Really? Really? REALLY? REALLY!?
And that’s pretty much all I have to say about that topic …
Every time I see one of these stickers I think, “That would be a great column to write someday. I could spend 700 words pondering why someone would care enough about their pickup make to put a sticker in their window. I’ll compare it to similar phenomena, like PC vs. Mac. I can make funny analogies, weave in some entertaining what-if scenarios, interject a personal, relevant anecdote then tie the whole think up neatly with a succinct, brilliant pun.”
But when I sit down to write that column, as I’ve done many, many times, I can only get as far as what you just read – writing “really” many times, each with a different punctuation/capitalization combo. Then I’m stumped.
This is an idea I need to let go. A premise that will never be a jumping-off point to a cohesive bit of opinion page entertainment. Even if I take it as far as writing “rEaLly!?!?!?” Which I’m not above doing.
But instead I’m going to drop it. I’m going to delete this so-called “idea” from my “Columns To Write” file, and move it instead into my “Columns I’ll Never Write” file, which just happens to be the same file, today at least, as the “Column To Write Today” file.
It kinda transcends what you think you know about physics, huh? Let’s get started.
COLUMNS I’LL NEVER WRITE
I’ve written columns about things I’ve learned from various family members: my grandfather’s colorful rural sayings, my grandmother’s financial advice, my father’s unintentionally comical (and often rhyming) aphorisms. My mother passed away when I was barely a teenager, so I didn’t get the benefit of her wisdom, and the only two bits of advice I can remember from her are “You can get glad in the same drawers you got mad in,” and “Never drink from anything that somebody may have peed in.”
Not to say that these pearls haven’t carried me successfully through life, but, you know – one can only ponder the idea of drawer-changing and its relation to mood for so long. About half as long as I already have, to be exact.
Farewell wisdom. I barely knew you.
“Punk Band Reunion Tour”
I was never in a punk band in college. Never even came close. But I could have been. If, you know, EVERYTHING had been different.
I though it would be funny to write a column about how I COULD have been in a punk band, and that I could now be embarking on a reunion tour. It would be a great opportunity to make up a funny band name as well as a bunch of funny songs. I started writing this column and quickly realized that it wasn’t even funny to write a sentence about this idea, much less a whole column. Besides, how am I ever going to come up with a better band name than “Pillsbury Hardcore,” which is somebody else’s actual punk band?
Never. Didn’t. Won’t.
Here’s what I jotted down in a computer file titled “Bildooka.”
“Where did it go, and why did it come back while I was in the midst of something non-penis-related, as if there really is such a thing.”
Let me translate – I was washing dishes one night when I suddenly remembered one of the nicknames we used to have for our “John Thomas” when we were kids. “Bildooka.” What a great word, right? But for some reason this word had been lost to me, almost like it never existed. Then, for no reason at all, it popped into my head. Bildooka! How could I have forgotten such a great word? Where was it stored for all those years? And why did it choose to return now? Well, obviously because I need to write about it, about how fickle memory can be, about the nature of selective recall, AND about all the similar childhood words I do remember, like “tallywhacker” and “tiggle-wiggle.”
What a great idea for a column, right? Right? RIGHT? RIGHT!?
(Next time: Columns I’ve already written, but don’t let that stop me from writing again.)
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