Bill Evgvall is one of my favorite comics. He has a great shtick that is brilliantly simple: Wouldn’t it be convenient if all the stupid people in this world just held a sign to tip you off that the person standing in front of you was mentally deficient?” His routine then goes on to list a number of stupid things people do with his famous tag line: “Here’s your sign”
I wish I had thought of that. I’d be on tour somewhere in Smileyberg Kansas tonight chugging down cheep domestic beer and eating a plate of cheese sticks for dinner.
The reason why it is so great of an idea is because you will never run short of material. People are always doing crazy things. Stupid things, airheaded, dimwitted, witless, pinheaded, senseless, lame brained, boobish, asinine, dippity-doppity and otherwise daft things to themselves and other people. (see my previous blog about Gobledygook and some of my favorite words, btw )
I once read about a man from Seattle who fell on to some economic hard times and found a way to save some money on ever increasing oil prices by siphoning off gasoline. He figured motor homes would be the perfect target because they sat parked for long periods of time in between use and the owners would not notice an empty tank. He had two problems though: 1) The owners did notice him outside their house in the middle of the night and called the police. 2) He snaked his hose down the wrong pipe and was caught pumping out a tank full of sewage by mistake: www.littlechicagoreview.com/pages/full_story/full_story?content_instance_id=12479598
I had a professor in college who spent most of his adult life as a missionary in foreign countries. He had a great line about the United States. He said that we are the only county in the world that is on a mission to make our nation “Idiot Proof” Even idiots are welcome here and can get along like normal people.
Now, I’ve spent some time stomping around this world and I would correct him in one respect. I think it is a symptom of the Western World in general, not just the United States. My friends in England have signs all over the subway to “Mind the Gap” Really? Do we need to be reminded to watch out for the small space between the platform and the subway car?
On the other hand it is a brilliant marketing slogan and I just had to buy a souvenir tee shirt in London with a big blue circle that said “Mind The Gap” Of course, I came back home to the States and everyone thought it was a dirty tee shirt. Once I was asked to leave a fancy restaurant for wearing indecent apparel. I have no idea what that manager thought it meant…and I don’t really want to know.
Writers are not immune to mistakes, although these are not usually the result of us being idiots as much as it is caused by an odd neurological phenomenon where our brains are locked into seeing things from one point of view and are unable to see how it looks from an independent perspective.
Too bad. That “John Doe” stiff who came in over the weekend might have pulled through until this lunitic started shooting up the place. Can you be charged with 17 accounts of Homicide Corpus?
(This is the part of my blog that Jay Leno would call “Headlines”…yep…wish I had come up with that one too. I’d be on tour this weekend in Nipinnawassee California sipping on Cabernet Sauvignon and learning to like Caviar. They just love laughing at all of us hicks in ‘fly-over country’ as they put it…you know, the 46 states in between California and New York)
I think my favorite headline goof recently came from a sports page:
I just can’t imagine a real sports-jock journalist missing this one. The title even comes with a classic butt shot and all.
Criminals always give endless fodder for humor. Like the would be thief from Ypsilanti Michigan who tried to rob a Burger King at 8:50 AM. (Who comes up with the names of these cities, I wonder? Ypsilanti? Nipinnawassee? Smileyberg!) However, the frightened crew member informed the man that he could not open the cash register without an order.
So the man ordered a small onion ring.
The Crew member shook his head and said that Onion Rings were not available for breakfast, but the Jack in the Box across the street serves lunch all day.
The thief became flustered, but said he understood and left.
He was arrested a few minutes later standing in line at Jack in the Box.
Now, not every criminal is stupid. Some are pretty smart. There is one scam I’ve heard of in Australia that has such a unique approach, authorities are not sure how to shut them down. Technically they don’t seem to be doing anything illegal.
The scam goes something like this: A company takes out an add in newspapers and the internet claiming to be able to supply imported hard core pornography at unbelievably low prices. The company claims to care about their privacy and so only accepts personal checks. Customers willingly agree and send in their money.
After a few days, the company then sends out an automated response and explains that they recognize their actions could be considered illegal and they do not wish to be prosecuted. Like good law abiding citizens, they refund the order to the buyer in the form of a company check.
Where is the scam you ask? Well, if you want to stand in line at your bank and cash a check cut by “The Anal Sex and Fetish Perversion Company” be my guest. Most people do not and the checks remain largely uncashed.
Speaking of stupid things, I’m going to have to end this blog now. My two-year old daughter just dumped a jar of jelly in her hair.
“Why did you do that,” I asked her.
“Daddy, I smell good!”