The process of preparing these columns consists of spending way too much time on the internet looking at news stories and bookmarking them, in the off chance I might use them when I actually sit down to write. And then, usually, not using them.
I have something like 10,000 bookmarks in my bookmarks folder. At least a couple thousand of those link to unused news stories in just the past year. It would be a crying shame to throw them all out.
I can’t forever deep-six a story with the headline, “After 2 years, family realizes the pet dog they raised is a bear.” I mean, there’s a major reason I bookmarked that in the first place. Who doesn’t want to know someone in the world adopted a black bear thinking it was a Tibetan mastiff puppy? Doesn’t it make you feel good to know that? I feel better about myself and my own life decisions knowing I’m not those people and I’m not currently attempting to keep a full-grown black bear entertained with a game of fetch.
I’m pretty sure I did, in fact, use “Semi filled with 40,000 pounds of chicken feathers overturns on I-5,” pretty much for the same sort of reason: There but for the grace of 20 tons of chicken feathers and keys to a semitruck go I, but I didn’t. Turns out I am blessed, after all. I used it in a column, along with “You’ll Never Believe All The Things Made Out Of Chicken Feathers.”
Last year, The Wall Street Journal asked the headline question, “Do We Still Need to Believe in Hell?” prompted by some discussion in theological circles of remarks from Pope Francis. I wanted to carry that further, to ask things like, “What would be something better to believe in than hell?” or “I believe in quinoa and kale tacos, so I guess I don’t need to believe in hell.” But I couldn’t read the whole article because I don’t subscribe to the Journal, so I dropped it.
Last month, I bookmarked “The Universe Is Made of Tiny Bubbles Containing Mini-Universes, Scientists Say.” What an uplifting title.
Who remembers that game where you add “in my pants” to everything and see how it turns out? “The Universe Is Made of Tiny Bubbles Containing Mini-Universes, in my pants.” Not bad.
Here’s another one from BBC News: “Rats taught to drive tiny cars to lower their stress levels.” The story behind this was a study in which “researchers” had some rats, so they decided to make little plastic cars for them and teach the rats to drive the tiny cars. And the rats did and liked driving and got good at it. And the researchers kept researching and looked at the chemical composition of the rats’ droppings, as scientists do, and, lo, they learned the rats were happier. In fact, they had high levels of dehydro-[the what?]-epiandrosterone, so, like, they were doped up. So happy were they, they didn’t need food rewards to drive any more. They did it for the hoots and hollers.
There’s got to be a lesson in all that. Something to do with the taxes on car tabs, I’m thinking.
Look at all these humans around us who are zoned out and blissful, driving their little cars everywhere and loving it, like they are perpetually high on dehydro- something -sterones in their pants. You can’t get them to get out of their little cars.
Tim Eyman gets that. Tim Eyman is a man who understands what it means to want. He sees an office chair; he wants an office chair. He sees a governorship; he wants a governorship. He wants cheap cars he can drive by himself and not have to sit next to some other slouch using public transportation, even though that public transportation is actually thousands of dollars cheaper per user than the car, even after you take away the car tab tax. There’s no comparison. He wants it anyway. It’s got to be the dehydrogenated super-drosterones he’s on.
But it doesn’t work. It works in the context of a lab experiment, but if mass transit fails and all those commuters go back to driving cars, the roads will fill up and nobody will go anywhere, and Timmy won’t get what he wants after all.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at drwes (at) realchangenews (dot) org
Read the full Nov. 27 - Dec. 3, 2019, issue.
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