Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Year's Eve, a Time to Reflect... in Bar Mirrors

Last year, my New Year’s Eve resolution was to learn how to fly. When that didn’t happen I was so upset with myself that I started hitting others. Then I read somewhere that people who break their New Year’s Eve resolutions often do so because they set unattainable goals. So this year I simply want to hover a bit.

Of course, every New Year’s Eve I promise myself that I’m going to stop making New Year’s Eve resolutions in the first place. But by the next December 31st I’ve forgotten, make another "no more resolutions" resolution, and then realize I’ve inadvertently broken last year's "no resolution" resolution.

Now there are some people I wish would really try hard to stick to their resolutions. Those who are familiar with my political beliefs know that I’m mostly against murder (unless the person is really asking for it). So serial killers, it would be great if you would say to yourself, “This year I’m going to stop serial killing.” (And prostitutes in Tijuana might say, “I’m going to stop charging so much, falsely advertising that I’m a woman, and stealing Nathan’s kidneys.”)

Of course most people don’t have the imagination to fly or to stop killing so their New Year’s resolutions tend to be a bit more pedestrian-- like the promise to lose weight. Or sometimes their resolutions are actually pedestrian-- like the pledge to stop jaywalking. These are perfectly admirable goals. (By the way, I’ve found that the best way to lose weight is to not get pregnant in the first place, but, if you do, having the baby will shed some pounds.)

If one stops and thinks about it, New Year’s Eve is pretty silly to begin with. Did you know that Earth wasn’t actually born on January 1st? Historians think it was probably some time in the spring. So while we celebrate New Year’s on January 1st, it’s actually a pretty arbitrary date that just so happens to be at the beginning of the year.

So this year, besides vigorously flapping my arms every morning, I’m going to try and stop taking myself so hilariously. I’ve really got to get a little more serious if I ever want to have this baby and lose some weight. (This may help with the hovering as well.) I’m also 1,443,223 stamps away from completing my stamp collection, so I’ve got that to worry about. And all they keep doing is coming out with new stamps!

But let’s not forget the true meaning of New Year’s Eve-- pretending to know the words to “Auld Lang Syne.”

Of course, the very best thing about New Year’s Eve is that after having to care about everyone else all Christmas, New Year’s is all about you. It’s the time to stop giving and start taking. I have no qualms about asking my loved ones to return the gifts I gave them for Christmas. (So, Dad, Mom, I’m going to need those Arby’s coupons back.) Remember, New Year’s is the time to horde and indulge until you vomit. So let’s have a great New Year’s and celebrate the fact that we don’t have to be charitable until next Holiday Season!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Anatomy of a Funny Blog

At cocktail parties people often ask me why I’m so funny. It’s odd really, as I’ve never in my life said a word to these people. Now, they never explicitly state that I’m funny, but usually disguise their curiosity by using euphemisms like “weird” or “strange.” I know they really mean “funny.” And since they have no idea who I am, I just assume they are referring to my blog.

If these people were to follow up with a question other than “Did you actually receive an invitation to this party?” they would probably ask how it is that I write such hilarious posts. Unfortunately, the police often show up before I have a chance to divulge my secrets. But as an early Christmas gift to my loyal readers, I will share with you the secrets of funny blog writing.

Delivering good comedy is very much like delivering a child, it’s stressful, it’s messy, and once it comes out you’ll swear it looks vaguely Asian. I usually sit down in front of the computer with no idea what to write, so I just start typing. Eventually, I’ll start forming words, and after a few hours I’ve written enough words to paste into sentences. It takes another four to six hours to write a hilarious sentence. I don’t know when or where this sentence will occur, but my dog shot five people last week. Whoa! There it is! Notice how I took the word “sniff” and turned it into “shot?” That, dear readers, is where comedy writing comes from--- words that almost sound alike.

As many of you know, there’s no way my dog could actually shoot someone because he has no fingers. This is another rule of comedy writing: dogs with no fingers are hilarious. Now take that same dog and give him some fingers. That’s not funny, is it? It’s kind of creepy, and if middle-aged men who collect Disney figurines have taught us anything, it’s that creepy and funny are two very different things.

Now let’s come up with another funny sentence, because a funny blog needs more than one: Christina Aguilera smells like hot dogs. This is funny because it’s true, and I know this because I used to live in Pittsburgh and heard from everybody that she really smells like hot dogs. Or at least I heard from people who went to high school with Christina Aguilera. Or those people heard it from people who really did go to high school with her. And I’m pretty sure she went to school in Pittsburgh, but it may have been somewhere outside Pittsburgh, but it was close enough to lend some validity to the rumor that she smells like hot dogs.

Which brings me to the next rule of comedy: don’t over explain your joke. And also: it’s okay to make fun of people’s disabilities if they are famous and smell like foodstuffs.

So let’s recap the secrets to writing a funny blog:

1. If you’re in a public place within earshot and talking about a cocktail party, I’m just going to assume that everyone’s invited whether I know you or not.

2. I was obviously normal enough to get through the front door without anyone saying anything, so why was my presence an issue when I was just standing in the corner next to the bowl of nut mix?

3. If those women didn’t want me ogling their breasts then they wouldn’t have worn those kinds of shirts.

Now, with a whole lot of luck and a pinch of skill maybe you too can write a funny blog! Good luck!