Thursday, September 2, 2010

Laugh, You Big Frikkin' Idiot

When I started writing these things a couple of years ago, my first post was sort of an explanation of this blog's name, Being the Comedian.  I just re-read that post, decided it sucked ass, and deleted it.  It wasn't a bad explanation, and it wasn't really incorrect, but it wasn't right, either.  So today, I'm going to do it right.

"Once you figure out what a joke everything is, being The Comedian's the only thing that makes sense."  

It's a line from Watchmen -- certainly one of the greatest graphic novels (it's not a comic book so fuck right off) ever published, and perhaps one of the greatest stories ever published.  If you haven't read it, then I guess I'll still be your friend -- but I won't respect you quite as much, and I might pee a little bit on your toilet seat the next time I'm at your house.  And I'll teach your kid to swear.  Not regular swearing, either -- the bad kind.  The kind I use when I see really ugly chicks with their boyfriends while I'm eating alone at Burger King.

Keeping it simple, Watchmen is about a group of superheroes who are not super in anyway -- no radioactive spiders bit them, and they didn't come from a far away planet so they could wear tights and have Nicholas Cage name his kid after them.  Picture a world where the authorities bring in system-sanctioned superheroes to take care of the bad guys......then picture the types of people who would be attracted to that work.  Yeah, some of them are going to be power-dicks.

Enter The Comedian, played by one Jeffrey Dean Morgan.

Pictured here, looking like he wants to (naughty verb) the ever-loving life out of me.

The Comedian plays a huge role in the entire story, but I'm not going to give it away here.  I still hold on to the hope that one day the government will be overthrown by nerds, and our new Nerd Lords will make reading Watchmen mandatory under threat of razor blade wedgies with vinegar chasers, so I don't want to wreck the ending for you.  The Comedian does some seriously dark shit.  He's needlessly violent, terribly cruel, and just overall kind of a great big douche sometimes.  He's also totally aware of how the world really works, and what he has to do to survive in it.  I don't mean physically survive (that's easy -- he just kills the hell out of things,) but rather, how to not go crazy in a world that seems hell-bent on turning our brains into festering maggot pies.  It's all in that one line: 

"Once you figure out what a joke everything is, being The Comedian's the only thing that makes sense." 

This is taking on a slightly serious tone.  Quick, look at this:

I didn't make this, so it's a complete coincidence this dog shares a name with one of my friends.  Srsly.
Throwing in that picture of Jeff the Farting Dog kind of makes my point: When shit gets bad, you need to laugh or you will eventually go bat-fucking-shit-fucking-insane.  I'm not saying you should lol at funerals (the blonde guy reading this right now going "Hey, bitch -- I do that!" gets a pass since it's involuntary in his case) but you can't let every bad thing settle into your head.  You have to go at it like you would if a fly landed in not-yet-set Jell-o, so you picked the fly out real fast, let the Jell-o set, and then fed it to your friends without telling them about the fly.  (That never happened, friends.  You can still eat Jell-o if I give it to you.  I'd pass on pudding, though, what with the whole "If a fly few into pudding, I wouldn't be able to see it and you'd likely end up eating it" thing.)  So, in this tedious metaphor, the Jell-o is your brain, the fly is something shitty that happened, and your finger is The Funny.  Gotta jam The Funny into the shitty to keep your friends from eating brains with flies in them.  Or something.  I don't know.  I'm lost.

Think of the worst thing you have ever seen or heard or read about on TV, on the radio, or in a newspaper.  Now think of the most tasteless comment that could ever be made about that thing.  I guarantee that when that story happened, somewhere in some newsroom in some part of the world, a reporter said that comment.  Out loud.  To other people.  And they all laughed.  Not because they're heartless, soulless baby-smashers, but because when a good chunk of your day involves stories about what Mr. McWelfare did to his three kids when he got mad at his wife for not handing him his beer with the label facing toward him the way the damn bitch knows she's supposed to, you have to laugh.  If you let every bad story just sit in the room and poison the air all around you, if you let it get in and process, if you let yourself start to feel what the people it happened to might have felt, it takes hold of you from the inside and squeezes every bit of joy out of you until all you want to do is cry.

So we're apparently going with an "Idiot Dogs" theme today to break up the tedium and depression.  Cool.
Listen, fucked-up shit is going to happen to all of us.  It happens to me, and sometimes (too often) I let it bug the hell out of me.  Can't be helped sometimes.  But more and more, when I feel like throwing flaming turds at who/whatever has tried to destroy my life on any given day, I force myself to stop and think about what The Comedian said:

"Once you figure out what a joke everything is, being The Comedian's the only thing that makes sense."  

I don't mean a joke like "Ha ha!  I have herpes!"  I mean the not-funny kind of joke.  Like, "I have herpes.  What a fucking joke."  Then you take that joke, and you make it funny by sneaking up on and kissing your enemies when you're in the middle of an outbreak and your mouth is covered in oozing pustules.  (Note: I do not have herpes.  I'm only using herpes as an example.  Please do not tell people I have herpes.  Also, if you're not sure how to spell 'pustules' and you decide to Google it, make sure you're on the regular Google page, and the Google Image page.  *shudder*)

That example is a wee bit extreme (and sick and demented and riddled with illegality and pus) but you get the idea, I think.  There are things you will never be able to laugh at, but there are a lot more that you don't realize you can laugh at.  Have compassion, but try not to hurt too much -- for yourself, or anyone else.  Care about what's going on in the world, but don't anoint yourself Bearer of All Burdens Far and Wide.  Cry or swear or punch the wall when something threatens to ruin your day, and then look up a picture of a dog who's about to find out why you shouldn't bite everything that comes near your face.


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