I consolidated the stories about Fred.


...long live, Hill Blocks View. I miss writing. But the thought of one more round of "welcome backs", or obsessing over stats, or thinking of the clever response to a comment, or the obligation to read everyone else's blog... not so much. So I'll try and write. No pressure. If you feel the need to respond, you can email me. I like email. flipaul@yahoo.com

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sarcasm Meets Sanctimony.

By nature I am not a sarcastic person. I love to laugh, but I prefer bizarre nonsensical stuff like “The Jerk” or “Monty Python” to the caustic humor of “Seinfeld” or “The Office”. But we all joke around with our friends, and that often takes a sarcastic tone. The problem is that sarcasm doesn't translate well in the digital form, (I'm the first person to postulate this). This was demonstrated to me recently in a hilarious back and forth.
     First, some background on what led to the conversation. I have a buddy from the Marines Corps that I have stayed in touch with throughout the years. His family has always been in the restaurant biz, and when he got out, he opened up a little pub. He wanted to have a place where it was possible to have a conversation, so he didn't install any TV's. He figured if you wanted to watch TV you could stay at home. His wife of many years played a large part in him not being just another “bar”.
     Last year he was accused of being a front for a mafia money laundering operation. It was an utterly ridiculous accusation from a rival bar owner, but it floated out there for a couple of weeks. Most people didn't give it much credence, but I thought it was pretty funny for my buddy to be accused of something so egregious. So I decided to tease him about it. (That's what you do to a friend, right?)
     Now, I have spent many an hour inside the confines of the neighborhood sportsbar. I love a beer and watching one of my teams on a BIG TV. That being said, I enjoy meeting friends at my buddy's bar. It is a nice grownup place with good food and beer and fully clothed waitresses. I don't really want him to put in TV's, but I like to play the “Ugly American” whenever possible, so I texted him.

Me: For a million dollars you would think you could spring for a TV or two. Geeze.”
Funny, right?

Brian: I bought a restaurant in the heights, no $ for televisions”
The second restaurant is right near my house and I even helped a tiny bit, so I know this.

Me: “There is always an excuse. TV needs to come first. What about the children Brian?”
In what universe could this possibly be taken seriously?

Brian: “There are planters and fountains and stairs and bar stools and and other people to play with. What kind of negligent parent uses a tv to babysit their kids? This is June...
Wow,where did that come from? That's my friend's wife and either she is sarcastic at a whole other level than me or she is annoyingly sincere.

My first instinct is to apologize and say “I'm only kidding” But...
Come on, really?! OK, here.

Me: “The children. Nobody ever thinks about the children. The children are our future.”
And after that offering, I text:

Me: “You're not saying bar stools make better sitters than a TVs? That's just silly. Or are you saying that my kids can play in the fountain? Cause that's pretty cool.
It IS a pretty nice fountain, for what it's worth.

June: “I'm saying that our future will be dependent on mechanical pacifiers if we don't intervene and teach our children about the necessity of creating a healthy community through example. Which is why Brian O'Brians was created with no tv's. NO WHINING
Wha??? She is really taking this seriously. Probably wrote a thesis on the subject. I should really tell her I was joking. But can't reasonable people tell I was?
Here we go again. Am I being too subtle? Is that it?

Me: “You're not subscribing to the extreme notion I should spend time with my OWN children? Barbarian.
Laying it on thick.

June: “No, you have a wife. And I'm sure there are other adults (and probably children) capable of educating your children so you can watch tv.
Is she firing back with her own sarcasm? Ooh, and patronization also.

Me:...and drink. See? We're finally on the same page. Now about those TVs?
He shoots. He scores.

June: “Brian is giving that sportsbar idea some thought, 2 pacifiers at once... he will keep you posted.
Sarcasm met Sanctimony... and kicked it's ass.

     Isn't it funny how the people that know best how to raise kids don't have any of their own? Childless people are often so positive that if your kids watch TV they are morons and you are a child abuser. Let them have had a crazy day of screaming kids and hectic schedules and see if they still feel so indignant about letting little Johnny watch TV while they pick toys up off the floor or read an email. (Sometimes, while having a beer).
     For the record, both of my older kids watch more TV than they should. Both would play on the computer from now until doomsday if I let them. BUT they are both borderline gifted, and my wife and I read to them every night before bed (since birth). And yes, we occasionally even throw them outside. But what do I know? (See, did you catch that? That was Sarcasm.)