Thursday, April 7, 2016

"Tipping My Hat To My Betters"

(Though not entirely gracefully, as there is a small part of me that is unalterably competitive.  Okay.  Having penned up the embarrassing part in brackets, I am now free to forge pure-heartedly ahead.)

What I am talking about are not necessarily funny but always deeply insightful observations that cover the terrain in question so completely there is no use to say anything else about the matter.  Ever.  You simply proceed to other concerns.  Because that one is done-zoh.

I have not kept a list – because I did not know I would be writing this – but I am certain that the ultimate litany, even in my own mental library, is considerably longer. Anyway, here’s what I’ve got today.  Call it a sampling more than a compendium. 

I invite you to appreciate the workmanship.

Let’s start with Jon Stewart (or a writer who put these words in Stewart’s mouth and he chose wisely to accommodate them.)

You probably know this one. 

Years ago, Stewart was a guest on CNN’s Crossfire, a televised mud-fight posing as political conversation, which Stewart used as representation of cable news in general when he said about Crossfire and its incendiarily adversarial ilk,

“You’re hurting America.”

When I have attempted to write illuminatingly about cable news, it is never far from my mind that that ground has been comprehensively covered in seven already delivered syllables:

“You’re hurting America.”

Over and out.

Comedian Mel Brooks is also an essential include-ee on this compilation of unimprovable commentary.

Want to talk about rampant xenophobia and the intractable “Us Versus Them” mentality?  I don’t know how much better you can do than Mel’s “Two Thousand Year-Old Man” lustily singing his people’s primordial “National Anthem” that went,

“Let ‘em all go to hell except Cave Seventy-Eight…”

The idea for this post originally came to me after seeing the quoting of a headline from the satirical newspaper The Onion concerning the Gun Rights Advocates’ insistence that regulations cannot inhibit our regular shooting sprees that read:

“‘No Way to Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens.”  

(I hate to admit this, so once again I am doing it in brackets.  After marveling breathlessly at that line, my immediate next thought was, “Why didn’t I think of that?  Making this post informational but confessional as well, unburdening me in two directions at the same time.  Ahhhhh.)

The last one comes from the late writer-commentator David Rakoff who upon hearing that his left arm would have to be amputated to combat spreading cancer wondered,

“If they take off my left arm, how will I know when I am having a heart attack?”

That one made me laugh and cry at the same time, for two completely different reasons.  The line is hilarious and unimaginably heroic. 

I am excluding “Famous Last Words”, which may be apocryphal (“Famous Last Words I Wish I Had Said But I Was Too Busy Struggling For Life.”)  Or they may have been written earlier and held in reserve, so as to depart with a memorable aphorism. 

“How’s this? ‘Dying is easy…  until it’s your turn.’  Wait, I can do better than that.” 

I do not trust “Famous Last Words”.  Though I am not beyond noodling around with my own.  (Unmentioned today, for fear of hastening the inevitable.)

Final Thought:  Human beings came up with those magnificent lines.  I am a human being.  Venn Diagram:  I am capable of coming up with one myself.

In the meantime…

I’ll just keep bangin’ away.

Feel free to offer similar examples of your own.  Not necessarily ones you personally made up.  (Although if you did, I’d have to be jealous of you too.  End of invidious brackets yammering.)


JED said...

One that makes me laugh, even though it is absurd is, "It's amazing how many people who are born on third base think they hit a triple."

John Buch said...

Back in my working years, I would never end my participation in any meeting with the phrase, "I have a final thought."