Curtis Dahlgren
An anti-antidisestablishmentarianist goes into a bar
By Curtis Dahlgren
December 18, 2016

"The world is a comedy to those who think, a tragedy to those that feel." – Earl of Orford (1776) [for those who missed it, this is adapted from my July 17, 205 column]

IT'S FUNNY BUT you seldom see a man of the cloth go into a saloon. I wonder why? He could probably fellowship with some of his parishioners and wine-bibbers. But I guess you have to be careful what you say in a saloon these days. One wrong word and some people go postal, if I can say that one. I know a man who almost got into a bar fight for saying, "It sure is nice to see more black kids playing baseball these days." I had no idea that the word 'baseball' could almost cause an stroke. It's funny but I guess times really have changed. But I wonder if even the word change has changed too? Our own Supreme Court says that words don't necessarily mean what we always thought they meant. Well, excuse me! Some people may be wound a bit too tight. Where are the Jeffersons now that we need them (the ones on TV)?

It's funny but even comedians are avoiding college campi these days. Tough audience. The students aren't offended by cuss words; they just don't think anyone should be laughing when America is so full of xenophobia and genderism like never before, which reminds me of a joke:

A newly graduated preacher got called to a small town on the high plains. The parishioners were on the "mature" side and he had to perform quite a few funerals (the first word in funeral isn't "fun"). Finally he got to do a wedding. H did just fine until he got to "You may now kiss the . . whatever." Then, out of sheer habit, he says, "The congregation may now come forward to view the remains." Did I mention it was a gay wedding? OOPS. Did I just misspeak? Oh well – Media Matters doesn't matter.

It's funny but just one word can set them off too – even though words supposedly don't mean what they used to mean. By the way, hidden in the title of this column is the word "arian" (sic), but just for the record, I'm not a crook or a white supremacist. In fact, I'm beginning to get a downright inferiority complex about the subject. I'm also getting tired of hearing my grandmother called a right-wing extremist. Aren't you? Somewhere it is written, honor your mother and grandmother, "ain't" it? When I was in kindergarten, that was about the only forbidden word, back in the 40s. My teacher hated the word. Was she therefore a "hater"? These days one can't even say "Nature abhors a vacuum" without being labeled a hater.

Speaking of words, that's all that I'll be able to leave behind. I couldn't have kids, but that's a crap shoot. "Babies are the dice of destiny," and sometimes you end up with a nut. Take Hitler, please. His mom kept telling him, "You don't have to lift your arm every time you go to the bathroom, you know." But he didn't listen. Albert Einstein's mom kept saying, "You think you're so smart." But he didn't listen. Now almost everyone and his neighbors are getting the bomb.

Henny Youngman's mom kept saying, "You think you're funny, don't you young man?" He didn't listen, but it's funny; Henny probably did the most good for you guys and the human race. OOPS. I had a boss who always said "It's a good day for the race." When he got a funny look, he'd say, "The human race" – but you can't say that anymore. Too color-blind. Not enough diversity! And you guys is a sexist term these days. Verboten!

Anyway, people just take themselves too seriously! I didn't mean to get into politics, but the silly season is just beginning. Where is Art Buchwald now that we need him? By the way, I heard that the Redskins are being forced to change their mascot. It's going to be Mr. Potato Head, and they're threatening to move to Boise if Washington doesn't get off their backs. You have to laugh or cry, and sometimes both. BTW, Billy Sunday, the man who never tried to shut Chicago down, once said that we should so live our lives that we can leave behind something other than a eulogy at a funeral or an obituary in the newspaper, which reminds of a joke:

There were two brothers, Ole and Tony. They didn't look like brothers, but they had the same godfather. They were "somewhat involved" with the Chicago mob. Even mobsters have standards, and when Ole died, Tony offered the preacher $50,000 if he would say in the eulogy that Ole was a saint. The preacher said he didn't know if he could honestly say that, so Tony says he'd make it $100.000. The preacher says: "I'll think about it." He was afraid it was an offer he couldn't refuse, so at the funeral he gave a very nice sermon and wound it down to the conclusion, which was:

"Some people think that Ole had issues, but compared to his brother Tony, he was a saint." I think it was his last funeral. The congregation came forward to carry him out. Hope this isn't my last column, but you never know, you know. "I do not choose to run" or leave any time soon, but if the time comes I may have to pre-write my own eulogy – one version for the people who like me, one version for the people who don't, and one version for those who are kind of on the fence.

One lady said to me, "It's a good thing I like you Curt, or you'd be dead" Faint praise they call it, but I understand. We all have higher expectations than we get, even mobsters. Some people just have no sense of humor. What this country needs is $1 gasoline and a first lady who leaves the school lunches alone, and a bit more humor (trump trump Iran).

There's an old Native saying – I don't say Native "American" because they're stealing that from Amerigo Vespucci – "If the very old will remember, the very young will listen." I'm not THAT old, but my goal is to leave behind some worthwhile words (and hope the words don't "change"!). At the moment, if I wanted to leave some good advice for young people, I would say "Never marry the girl who was the captain of her school debate team!" OOPS – Is it still okay to say girl? And is any debate still allowed? BTW, I never said all these lines are original; all I said was, "It's funny, but – . " There was a speech in the news. This anti-antidisestablishmentarianist went into a bar and said:

"You consider yourselves a reasonable and just people . . Still, when you speak of us, you can do so only to denounce us as reptiles, or, at best, as no better than outlaws. You will speak to pirates or murderers, but not to 'Black Republicans.' Now, can you, or not, be prevailed upon to pause and to consider whether this is quite just to us, or even to yourselves?" [That speech was at Cooper Institute in February 1860, but it could have been the day before yesterday, eh?]

P.S. Given the fake news from the dead tree papers, here's an ode to conventional wisdom and "settled science" (as Louie Armstrong might put it)

What a wunnerful worl' it musta been – when things were evolving "gradually";

When fish couldn't swim and birds couldn't fly

When gophers couldn't dig and neither could the badger,

When a chicken laid an egg but couldn't hatch 'er;

When the giraffe couldn't reach the tree and the elephant's trunk couldn't reach the ground in the garden;

When there were no flowers for the bee, no hole for the mole; beg pardon, but

Which came first, the mouth or the a-hole?

Which came first, the arm or the leg, the chicken or the egg, and -

Why did the ape lose the ability to climb? It must have been a disgrace to the race, rhyme or no rhyme.

PPS: I hope that that's blasphemy to science, because – as they say themselves – "All great truths began as blasphemy." Whatever, the sun came up again this morning and the seas aren't rising. What a wunnerful world (cold, but very interesting)!

Note: a possible "fitting" New York Times headline -

"Gore makes appeal to Trump; polar vortex follows"

As usual.

© Curtis Dahlgren


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
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Curtis Dahlgren

Curtis Dahlgren is semi-retired in southern Wisconsin, and is the author of "Massey-Harris 101." His career has had some rough similarities to one of his favorite writers, Ferrar Fenton... (more)


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