WHEN WILL JESUS BRING THE PORK CHOPS?
HYPERIONCopyright © 2004 Comedy Concepts, Inc.
All right reserved.ISBN: 1-4013-0134-7
Chapter One A MODERN MAN
I'm a modern man, digital and smoke-free; a man for the millennium. A diversified, multi-cultural, post-modern deconstructionist; politically, anatomically and ecologically incorrect. I've been uplinked and downloaded, I've been inputted and outsourced. I know the upside of downsizing, I know the downside of upgrading. I'm a high-tech low-life. A cutting-edge, state-of-the-art, bi-coastal multi-tasker, and I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond. I'm new-wave, but I'm old-school; and my inner child is outward-bound. I'm a hot-wired, heat-seeking, warm-hearted cool customer; voice-activated and bio-degradable. I interface with my database; my database is in cyberspace; so I'm interactive, I'm hyperactive, and from time to time I'm radioactive. Behind the eight ball, ahead of the curve, ridin' the wave, dodgin' the bullet, pushin' the envelope. I'm on point, on task, on message, and off drugs. I've got no need for coke and speed; I've got no urge to binge and purge. I'm in the moment, on the edge, over the top, but under the radar. A high-concept, low-profile, medium-range ballistic missionary. A street-wise smart bomb. A top-gun bottom-feeder. I wear power ties, I tell power lies, I take power naps, I run victory laps. I'm a totally ongoing, big-foot, slam-dunk rainmaker with a pro-active outreach. A raging workaholic, a working rageaholic: out of rehab and in denial. I've got a personal trainer, a personal shopper, a personal assistant, and a personal agenda. You can't shut me up; you can't dumb me down. 'Cause I'm tireless, and I'm wireless. I'm an alpha-male on beta-blockers. I'm a non-believer, I'm an over-achiever; Laid-back and fashion-forward. Up-front, down-home; low-rent, high-maintenance. I'm super-sized, long-lasting, high-definition, fast-acting, oven-ready and built to last. A hands-on, footloose, knee-jerk head case; prematurely post-traumatic, and I have a love child who sends me hate-mail. But I'm feeling, I'm caring, I'm healing, I'm sharing. A supportive, bonding, nurturing primary-care giver. My output is down, but my income is up. I take a short position on the long bond, and my revenue stream has its own cash flow. I read junk mail, I eat junk food, I buy junk bonds, I watch trash sports. I'm gender-specific, capital-intensive, user-friendly and lactose-intolerant. I like rough sex; I like tough love. I use the f-word in my e-mail. And the software on my hard drive is hard-core-no soft porn. I bought a microwave at a mini-mall. I bought a mini-van at a mega-store. I eat fast food in the slow lane. I'm toll-free, bite-size, ready-to-wear, and I come in all sizes. A fully equipped, factory-authorized, hospital-tested, clinically proven, scientifically formulated medical miracle. I've been pre-washed, pre-cooked, pre-heated, pre-screened, pre-approved, pre-packaged, post-dated, freeze-dried, double-wrapped and vacuum-packed. And ... I have unlimited broadband capacity. I'm a rude dude, but I'm the real deal. Lean and mean. Cocked, locked and ready to rock; rough, tough and hard to bluff: I take it slow, I go with the flow; I ride with the tide, I've got glide in my stride. Drivin' and movin', sailin' and spinnin'; jivin' and groovin', wailin' and winnin'. I don't snooze, so I don't lose. I keep the pedal to the metal and the rubber on the road. I party hearty, and lunchtime is crunch time. I'm hangin' in, there ain't no doubt; and I'm hangin' tough. Over and out.
EUPHEMISMS: It's a Whole New Language
Euphemistic language turns up in many areas of American life in a variety of situations. Not all euphemisms are alike, but they have one thing in common: They obscure meaning rather than enhance it; they shade the truth. But they exist for various reasons.
Sometimes they simply replace a word that makes people uncomfortable. For instance, the terms white meat, dark meat and drumstick came into use because in Victorian times people didn't like to mention certain body parts. No one at the dinner table really wanted to hear Uncle Herbert say, "Never mind the thighs, Margaret, let me have one of those nice, juicy breasts." It would've made them uncomfortable.
And at the same time, for the same reason, belly became stomach. But even stomach sounded too intimate, so they began saying tummy. It's actually a bit sad.
I first became aware of euphemisms when I was nine years old. I was in the living room with my mother and my aunt Lil when I mentioned that Lil had a mole on her face. My mother was quick to point out that Lil didn't have a mole, she had a beauty mark.
That confused me because, looking at Lil, the beauty mark didn't seem to be working. And it confused me further, because my uncle John also had a brown thing on his face, and it was clearly not a beauty mark. And so on that day, I discovered that on some people what appeared to be moles were actually beauty marks. And as it turned out, they were the same people whose laugh lines looked a lot like crow's-feet.
By the way, that whole beauty-mark scare worked so well that some women routinely began using eyebrow pencils to apply fake beauty marks-a "fake mole" being something no self-respecting woman would ever think of giving herself. Somehow, I can't imagine Elizabeth Taylor turning to Joan Crawford and saying, "Lend me your eyebrow pencil, Joanie, I'm gonna put a fake mole on my face."
By the way, it was only a few years after the Aunt Lil incident that I took comfort in the fact that some people apparently thought my ugly pimples were nothing more than minor skin blemishes.
Another role euphemisms play is to simply put a better face on things, to dress up existing phrases that sound too negative. Nonprofit became not-for-profit, because nonprofit sounded too much as though someone didn't know what they were doing. Not-for-profit makes it clear that there was never any intention of making a profit in the first place.
But some words that are euphemized aren't even vaguely negative, they're merely considered too ordinary. For that reason, many things that used to be free are now complimentary. Asking the hotel clerk if the newspapers are free makes you sound like a mooch, but "Are the newspapers complimentary?" allows you to retain some small bit of dignity. This is the reason some hotels offer their guests complimentary continental breakfasts, while others give their customers free doughnuts.
If you're one who would enjoy a closer look at euphemisms, you'll find a number of sections in the book that will interest you. I broke the euphemisms into segments, because they play such a large and varied role in American speech. And I call it The New Language, because it's certainly new to me; I know I didn't grow up with it. And that's my larger point: that it's gotten worse over time. There were probably a few early signs I noticed, but I knew the problem was getting serious when I began to hear ordinary people refer to ideas as concepts.
More to come.
STIFF UPPER LIP, YOU KNOW
Imagine two different commercial airliners taking long, fatal plunges directly into the ground from high altitudes. One is a British Airways plane filled with staid English diplomats and upper-class landed gentry. The other plane is Alitalia, filled with uneducated Sicilian, Greek and Turkish peasants. As the two planes dive toward certain destruction, which one do you think will have the louder screaming and the more colorful praying, cursing and blasphemy? You get one guess. Hint: It isn't the British plane.
Eye Blaster: Get One Now
Are your eyes dry and itchy? It's possible you may have dry, itchy eyes. Don't take a chance. Call now for Eye Blaster, a special, self-powered unit that blasts hot, refreshing steam directly into the eyes to relieve symptoms fast. Just plug in the Eye Blaster and wait forty-five minutes for full heat and steam pressure to build up. Then blast the scalding hot steam directly into your eyes for thirty to forty minutes. Submerge your head immediately in ice water for fifteen minutes, then repeat the steam treatment. Repeat these steps seven times and then take a breather. Do not use more than fifteen times in one twenty-four-hour period. Children under five should not use Eye Blaster unsupervised. When using on pets, tie pet to a chair before blasting. Safe for old people. Doctor approved, but not eye doctors. Call now.
HAND ME MY PURSE
Boxing is an activity in which each of two men, by delivering a series of repeated, sharp blows to the head, attempts to render the other senseless, leaving him lying on the floor, unable to act rationally, defend himself or even stand up. If one of the two men is knocked down and beaten into an only partially blank and helpless mental state, the other is made to stand aside and the contest is halted momentarily, while the damaged man regains just enough strength to stand up and have the beating continue-to the point where he is again lying on the floor, this time completely immobile and functionless. Afterward, the two men embrace in a display of good sportsmanship.
REMEMBER YOUR UNCLE JOHN?
Hi Billy. I'm Uncle John. I came up to say goodnight. You remember your Uncle John, don't you? You remember the time I took you down to the beach and we set the hot dog stand on fire and three people died? Wasn't that fun? Remember runnin' away from the police? And how we hid in the sewer and Uncle John got poo-poo all over him? And he wiped it on your coat? You remember? And then I took you to the bar and got drank and vomited on the jukebox? And sparks started flyin' out of the jukebox and a fire started? And all the people were screamin'? Remember that? Remember the screamin'? And the ambulances? Wasn't that fun?
And do you remember that other time? The time I took you to the circus? The lion got loose and ate a monkey? Wasn't that fun? And they had to kill the lion? And the monkeys got real sad, so they had to kill the monkeys, too? Wasn't that fun? And then the man fell off the trapeze and smashed into the ground, and they had to kill him? And all the other trapeze people got real sad and they had to kill them too? Hah? Wasn't that fun?
Why are you cryin', Billy? Please don't cry. If you stop cryin', I'll take you to the rodeo. Wouldn't that be fun? Maybe someone will get trampled, or gored. They've got horsies and cows, too, you know. Maybe they'll have to kill a horsie. Or a cow. And if they kill a cow, maybe we'll get to eat him in a hamburger. Wouldn't that be fun? Please don't cry.
Remember the time you fell outta my car? Remember, you were lookin' out the window, and we went around a corner real fast to keep from hittin' that lady? And you went flyin' out the window and hit the pole, head first? And the doctor had to sew your head up with a big needle? I've got a boat now, Billy. You wanna go out on my boat? I promise I'll be careful. Are you asleep yet? Billy? Please stop cryin'.
COUNT THE SUPERFLUOUS REDUNDANT PLEONASTIC TAUTOLOGIES
My fellow countrymen, I speak to you as coequals, knowing you are deserving of the honest truth. And let me warn you in advance, my subject matter concerns a serious crisis caused by an event in my past history: the execution-style killing of a security guard on a delivery truck. At that particular point in time, I found myself in a deep depression, making mental errors which seemed as though they might threaten my future plans. I am not over-exaggerating.
I needed a new beginning, so I decided to pay a social visit to a personal friend with whom I share the same mutual objectives and who is one of the most unique individuals I have ever personally met. The end result was an unexpected surprise. When I reiterated again to her the fact that I needed a fresh start, she said I was exactly right; and, as an added plus, she came up with a final solution that was absolutely perfect.
Based on her past experience, she felt we needed to join together in a common bond for a combined total of twenty-four hours a day, in order to find some new initiatives. What a novel innovation! And, as an extra bonus she presented me with the free gift of a tuna fish. Right away I noticed an immediate positive improvement. And although my recovery is not totally complete, the sum total is I feel much better now knowing I am not uniquely alone.
THE CONTROL FREAKS
Hello. We're the ones who control your lives. We make the decisions that affect all of you. Isn't it interesting to know that those who run your lives would have the nerve to tell you about it in this manner? Suffer, you fools. We know everything you do, and we know where you go. What do you think the cameras are for? And the global-positioning satellites? And the Social Security numbers? You belong to us. And it can't be changed. Sign your petitions, walk your picket lines, bring your lawsuits, cast your votes, and write those stupid letters to whomever you please; you won't change a thing. Because we control your lives. And we have plans for you. Go back to sleep.
THEY CAME FROM OUT OF THE SKY
I find it discouraging-and a bit depressing-when I notice the unequal treatment afforded by the media to UFO believers on the one hand, and on the other, to those who believe in an invisible supreme being who inhabits the sky. Especially as the latter belief applies to the whole Jesus-Messiah-Son-of-God fable.
You may have noticed that, in the media, UFO believers are usually referred to as buffs, a term used to diminish and marginalize them by relegating them to the ranks of hobbyists and mere enthusiasts. They are made to seem like kooks and quaint dingbats who have the nerve to believe that, in an observable universe of trillions upon trillions of stars, and most likely many hundreds of billions of potentially inhabitable planets, some of those planets may have produced life-forms capable of doing things that we can't do.
On the other hand those who believe in an eternal, all-powerful being, a being who demands to be loved and adored unconditionally and who punishes and rewards according to his whims are thought to be worthy, upright, credible people. This, in spite of the large numbers of believers who are clearly close-minded fanatics.