Monday, April 21, 2008
As you know, many people look for advice from talented writers who have fallen on hard times. I can think of several examples, but I don't want to ruin the fun you might have figuring out names. Who has embraced life more than the practitioner of such a worthy profession? He or she has given up the pursuit of a career, money, success, or a hot boyfriend, in exchange for the moral clarity that comes with pretending to know everything. Oh, and I am occasionally given a bowl of soup at the shelter. So what pearl of wisdom do I have to enlighten your day, to bring sunshine into a life darkened by the blackest ignorance? Today, I will teach you how to avoid looking silly during an argument.
How did I discover the secrets that one must possess in order to attain the highly distinguished position I currently occupy? Amazingly, the process is quite simple. An advice columnist must go out amongst the people. Only there can one get a feel for what is right and wrong in the world. I feel at times like Dianne Fossey observing the silverbacked gorilla in its native habitat. Luckily for me, I have not yet been raped and murdered by savage Rwandans.
Viewing the flaws and foibles of the these pathetic humans allows me to attain knowledge of their behavior, which I can then dispense as advice. Let me tell you now of Sunday's expedition into human society, which was a particularly enlightening one. I promised knowledge and like the milkmen of an older era, I will deliver. Follow me, and we shall endeavour to get our learn on.
This particular day was a sun-splashed Sunday spent in Greenville, South Carolina. I was pretending to play tennis with my friend Lisa, but in reality I was observing the human interaction that was taking place in the park surrounding us. Suddenly, the staccato burst of pointlessness that accompanies the incoherent babbling of an angry bitch emerged from the picnic area in front the courts. The young lady's equal in mental incompetency, her presumed redneck boyfriend, answered with a shouted retort. Normally this kind of public brouhaha would bring a shiver to me pirate bones (the author is not actually in fact a buccaneer, unless by this you mean butt pirate - Editor's note) since I am not a big fan of loud, angry confrontations. Instead, the situation brought me and my friend near to tears with laughter. What was the fatal flaw that caused us to lose respect for the serious tone of their dispute? Both were wearing tiny conical hats, the kind you would wear during the birthday party of a three year old child.
You understand, of course, how this would diminish any respect one would have for anything these loonies said. Imagine if Martin Luther King, Jr. had given his famous speech on the Washington Mall while wearing a such a small hat. Obviously it would have set the Civil Rights movement back decades and his famous speech would be ridiculed as the ramblings of a lunatic. Abraham Lincoln made it big despite his stovepipe hat, but the 1860s are known in the fashion world as the 1970s of the 19th century, so one can forgive him his blunder, he was merely a man of his time. No one would have respected the much-feared Henry VIII (the guy from the Tudors show for you historically inept folks) if he had worn a Burger King crown instead of the crowned jewels. [Henry also wore the largest codpiece I have ever seen, which is exhibited at the Tower of London. A codpiece, for those who don't know, is kind of like a jockstrap for a knight, meant to give extra protection to the real jewels. Wearing one this size was comparable to a modern man driving a Hummer. You get the feeling he is trying to make up for shortcomings in other areas].
If you can manage to forgive the historical diatribe, I will return to the belabored point. Clearly, it is impossible to take anyone seriously when wearing a silly hat. The Jews of Israel proved to be a formidable military force, but the Arabs kept attacking them because of those funny-looking yarmulkes they wear. I could go on and on and probably already have, but I think my point is made. If you want respect - drop the inane headwear before beginning your argument - you will thank me for it.