Jonesing on Jesting: Sometimes Gene Can't Help Himself
WASHINGTON -- To be a good columnist, one must recognize one's weaknesses, particularly any tendency to return too often to subjects with which the columnist -- but not necessarily the reader -- is fascinated. For the columnist, this is like confronting an addiction: You have to exhibit self-control. My problem is that events keep occurring to fuel my dependence. It's like God is tempting me.
Addiction threat: Making fun of big, ostentatious weddings. I know, it's old hat with me, and you're tired of it. So what if some brides tend to get a little crazy on their "special day" and spend inordinate amounts of money on ridiculously self-centered and frivolous things? What business is it of mine?
Thing that recently happened to feed my addiction: A company in France announced that it is offering a service to seed the clouds a week in advance, to wring all the water out of them, to make sure it does not rain on your wedding. It costs $150,000. Reportedly, they've got takers. Yes, this would mean that people who had weddings or other events the day or two before yours might get rain when they otherwise wouldn't have, but who cares about them? It's your special day.
Addiction threat: "Googlenopes." I am the discoverer and chief curator of this phenomenon, and for that reason I perhaps place a little more value on them than does the average person. A Googlenope is a phrase that does not return a single hit when entered in quotes into the Google search engine. "Queen Elizabeth's buttocks" was one of the first and remained a Googlenope until it appeared in my column. I confess I have gone to the Googlenope well quite a bit, particularly when I discover something that should be a Googlenope, but, stunningly, isn't. (These are called Googleyups.)
Thing that recently happened to feed my addiction: Mail. Readers are cruel to people like me, people who desperately need self-control. They keep writing in to nominate Googlenopes and Googleyups. One came not long ago, from a man named Glenn Farber. "There goes another Googlenope!" he wrote and jubilantly linked me to a story about, and I quote, "septuagenarian Jewish prostitutes." They live in Amsterdam. They are sisters. Their last name is "Fokken." HOW CAN I RESIST THAT GOOGLEYUP?
Addiction threat: Idiot conservative politicians. Yes, they are ridiculously easy to make fun of. I do it too often. I know that.
Thing that recently happened to feed my addiction: Republicans in Oklahoma voted to prevent schools from offering federally regulated Advanced Placement history classes on the grounds that such higher-level, sophisticated courses tended to include negative things about the United States. These classes ignore "American exceptionalism" by occasionally focusing on disagreeable things. In Colorado, conservative legislators have decided students should "only be taught lessons depicting American heritage in a positive light." The Vietnam War could be taught primarily as the inspiration for some fine rock 'n' roll!
Addiction threat: Gun nuts. I absolutely understand that I have elitist tendencies here. Firearms enthusiasts come from a different culture than I do, and I know that not every one of them is some sort of survivalist paranoiac who sees liberal conspiracies afoot everywhere and carries a gun in every pocket and orifice.
Thing that recently happened to feed my addiction: Woman accidentally shoots self in head while attempting to adjust secret gun holster mounted in her bra.
Unfortunate corollary to recent event: Turns out the woman was a Republican activist and an opponent of federally regulated curriculums in schools who had taken to social media to post advice from Modern Combat & Survival magazine on how to practice evasive driving tactics "to avoid getting swarmed and killed" in a race riot.
I swear I'll try harder.
Gene Weingarten can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @geneweingarten. Chat with him online Tuesday, March 31, at noon Eastern at www.washingtonpost.com.Copyright 2015 Washington Post Writers Group