Barry Smith: The Big Idea File
I call it the Big Idea File, which is a bit misleading.It’s the place on my computer where I log all the thoughts that I write down during the day in hopes that they will at some point be developed into a full-length column, short story, novel, screenplay, religious tract, whatever.When I say “will at some point be developed” I mean just that. I secretly believe that I’ll reopen the file and scroll down to where I’ve typed “Red necrophilia” and it will have magically grown to a length where it is ready to be submitted to the New Yorker.So, the Ideas aren’t always that Big, and they often aren’t even Ideas, but overheard quotes that I thought sounded profound at the time. It is, however, kept in a File, so calling it the “Big Idea File” is at least 33 percent accurate.From time to time (today, for instance) I like to poke through these “Ideas” and list them here for you. It’s fun for me, and “entertaining” for you, so today is really turning out to be one of those win-win days, isn’t it?The Big Idea FileThey say that the key to a good life is to live each day as if it were your last. But I can’t see the practicality of going around saying, “Hey, I’m dying tomorrow. Wanna have sex?” Abattoir and Costello.Dagoja Vu – The odd feeling that you have met this Italian before.The happy, well adjusted non-tragic genius usually goes unnoticed. And so what?The 4 Housewives of the Apocalypse.”It’s hard to assume that its appeal is simply a function of how old you were.” This isn’t really a Big Idea, just a handy little sentence I keep pasted on my computer desktop to constantly remind me of the difference between “its” and “it’s.”The only way to win is to accept that there is no competition. Then you can kick some ass.”You know you’ve made it when your pants are on display in a museum.” – Overheard quote while looking at Jimi Hendrix’s pants in a museum.Stinkronicity: The coincidence of bad smells that seem related but are not obviously caused one by the other.An idea that appears at least four times in the File, in four different forms, so I thought I had better move it along once and for all: “People who have had near-death experiences (NDEs, in case I decide to mention it again) report a newfound zest for life. “So, why not make a pill that takes you right to the brink of death, right to the point where you are traveling down the well-lit tunnel, then brings you back, slightly rattled but nonetheless happy and appreciative forevermore? Also, it should promote hair growth in men.”If you are traveling to France, you can get all sorts of E-Z French cassettes to listen to before you go. When traveling to another part of the USA, it is important to speak the “language.” For example, if you are going to Missouri, is that small body of water a “creek” or a “crick?” Solution: Dialects On Tape. Ya’ll.Overheard quote: “I don’t feel bad about eating chickens because they aren’t very smart.”Overheard quote that I wrote down but have completely forgotten the context in which I heard it: “Why are the figs so close to Kevin’s feet?”Response from the music distributor, after I tried to convince him what a good business move it would be to represent my comedy CD: “Even if we put it in the stores, who’s gonna buy it?” Ohhh, Mister Bottom Line.”Yes, but would ‘temporal anachronism’ be redundant?” I actually said that once. Out loud. While others were listening. And yes, I was stoned at the time.Overheard quote: “I play Ms. Pacman everywhere I go. I have high scores in Tel Aviv and Cairo. I have never known how to drive. I am 35.””You do and you’ll clean it up, too!” This is what my grandfather would say whenever he heard someone speaking a language other than American. While thumbing through the dictionary looking for a specific word, does everyone call out odd, non-related, seemingly interesting words as they approach their target? Like if you are looking for “orangutan,” do you feel the need to also read aloud, “ooze,” “opium,” and “oral herpes?” Do you do this? Please tell me you do, too.Quote directed at me: “You wanna be black, I know that. I went through a phase like that when I was about your age.”
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