Tuesday, September 3, 2013

"We haven't had any irony here since about, uh, '83, when I was the only practitioner of it."

One of a writer's greatest tools is a full understanding, and appreciation for, irony.  It helps you develop twists, it provides insight into the humor and tragedy of life, and exercises your ability to observe, process, and apply what you are experiencing to your craft.

Yesterday I was reminded that I live in the south - something easy to forget in the hustle and bustle of built up northern Virginia.  I was driving back to my house in my 4x4 pick-up truck with #1 who had just finished a yard and garden project for an elder acquaintance of ours.  We had the radio on - the last bit of a top 500 countdown celebrating the end of summer (I had been stuck in line at the grocery store SO long that I heard two Heart songs separated by 11 places...) when a commercial came on that caused both of to look at each other and remark, "Is this for real?"

The ad was for a service that would help you make your own gun.  It assured us that it was both legal and easy.  The website was named about thirty times but I don't remember it now.  I'm not exactly old, but I've been around.  I've heard ads for Dexitrim (the original Red Bull), ads for Doan's pills which, while allegedly for back pain, turned out were really for menstrual cramps, and even one summer back to back playing of ads for O.V. and OB - they were literally both on at the same time for months.  (One was a beer, the other a feminine product - the slogans and jingles were very, very close.)  Am I the only one who thought that was really odd?

Anyway, despite all of that experience, I'd never heard an ad for making your own gun before.  Not even as part of a Nynex Yellow Pages campaign.  [Just got interrupted by the arrival of my train, the man exiting the station in front of me was wearing an "I (heart) Zombies" id lanyard.]  There's a rabbit trail with the zombie thing - they're the new "flying saucer" of our culture.

So what does any of this have to do with irony?  Nothing.  See?  That's the irony.  I started by talking about how important something was and then didn’t actually say anything about it.  Of course, to satirize the masses - please don't be offended - I could literally point out the irony of building your own gun to fend off the impending zombie apocalypse.  But I don't have time, I need to fill up my 4x4 again.

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