The Day is Done

Monday, February 20, 2006

Hyperbole Will Make you Laugh Until you Puke out a Lung...LOL!

Back when my brother Chris and I were cute little towheads...

...our mother introduced us to the concept of knock-knock jokes. Chris and I were enthralled with our mother's wit, timing, and overall delivery. As two ambitious and forward-thinking youngsters, my brother and I decided that to attain the social advancement and popularity that we so desperately craved, it would be advisable for us to employ knock-knock jokes. When things were getting too quiet, when the crowd was getting too dull, Chris and I displayed our newly acquired talent for humor.

Chris: Hey, Mom. Knock-knock.
Mom: Sigh. Who's there?
Chris: Banana.
Mom: Banana who?
Chris: Banana face!!!
Mom (aside): What have I created?

As you might expect but to our surprise, one day my mom put an end to all the knocking. I wanted to tell her a knock-knock joke, but she just glared at me and said, "Stop telling knock-knock jokes. They're not funny!" My brother and I were crushed. How could the foolproof formula of knock-knock jokes not induce laughter every time, especially given the fact that we were such cute kids?

Our young minds couldn't fathom what I can fathom now—namely, that certain comical techniques can be overused. Over the last few months, I've realized that this phenomenon is at work to epidemic proportions. Just watch an episode of Friends (if you can stomach it). The plots are not terribly clever and the lines are not terribly witty. It is nowhere near the caliber of Arrested Development, for instance. In large part, the show is "funny" because Joey's eyes get so huge when he realizes what he just drank or because Chandler convulses when he's grossed out by something. The actions and reactions of the characters are so over-the-top that people laugh.

This epidemic is also evident closer to home. Just read a humorous post on someone's blog. Notice the unrealistic descriptions, the extensive use of the caps lock key, and the frequent superlatives. Also, notice that these comical techniques are being applied to situations that, in and of themselves, aren't that funny.

Hyperbole has its place, but it's being overdone. It's time to use some of the other tools in the toolbox, if you know what I mean. Allow me to illustrate...

Irony: Hyperbole is used so much that it makes me want to eat my own cell phone! In one bite! [This is funny because I'm being hyperbolic about hyperbole. Get it? It's funny.]

Surprise: I was walking down the stre—BOO! [This is funny because you, the reader, are surprised by the abrupt appearance of "BOO" in the sentence. Admit it. You laughed.]

Physical comedy: I am typing this sentence with my toes. [This is funny because you are now picturing me sitting at my desk typing with my toes. Even I'm laughing at this one.]

The list goes on and on. I'd catalog more comedic techniques if I had the time, but I've got to call my mom and tell her this hilarious knock-knock joke.

Friday, February 17, 2006

The Universe Revolves Around this Guy

Biola University has an online network known as bubbs, which stands for Biola University Bulletin Board Service. Through bubbs, each student has the ability to create a resume, which amounts to a personal webpage. A few months ago, I encountered the most narcissistic bubbs resume I have ever seen. If I cared enough to give it more serious thought, I might conclude that it is the most narcissistic thing I’ve ever seen...period.

Anyway, the resume begins with a self-portrait. The drawing (which overflows with the artist’s passion and attention to detail towards...well...himself) is followed by one of many pithy quotations dripping with insight. Who is the artist quoting? You guessed it—himself.

But surely his quotations have to be about something other than him, right? Maybe they’re about wisdom or justice. Guess again, dear reader. The profundities that fall from the lips of this egotistical maniac are often about himself! For instance, the first of his many quotations reads as follows: “Some people spend their whole life trying to be someone. I've spent my whole life trying to be myself.”

Notice first the poor grammar in this nugget of wisdom. The transition from people (plural) to someone (singular) is both palpable and painful. Second, once you clear away the fog of affected erudition, realize that his quotation boils down to one of the most trite, overused sayings in pop-psychology: “Just be yourself.” Thanks, Confucius. Never heard that one before.

There are no two ways about it. This egotistical maniac must be stopped before he hurts any innocent bystanders or (heaven forbid) himself.

Following the self-portrait and quotation, you will find a psychological safari, in which the author contemplates the pressing questions in life, such as “So who am I?” The answers are just as intriguing. Consider this:

“Well, I'm not sure if I can really answer that question.
You see.....
Who I am is a rather complicated subject,
Especially since I'm not exactly sure who myself really is.
So if you want to get to know me,
Feel free to ask me to a meal.
I hear Denny's is a great place to eat.”

Wait a second. You’re telling me if I take you out to a restaurant, you’ll regale me with an elaborate explanation of the complicated subject matter that is you? How can I say “no”?

After propositioning his readers to take him out to a meal, the author thrills his audience even more with a list of personal details.

Then come more “quotes that have some umph.” Just when you think you’ve had far too much “umph” from this guy, he brings a tear to your eye and a quiver to your lips with moving statements, such as, “Sometimes it hurts to wait. And sometimes you have to wait because it hurts."

Sigh. The Sphinx must be so proud.

Some of you are probably sitting at your computer thinking to yourselves, “What if this guy finds this blog post? Won’t he be hurt?” Don’t worry, dear readers, for I have already considered this. Our author is so self-absorbed that I imagine he would go into throws of ecstasy to find that someone, other than himself, was writing about him.

By writing this post, I have undoubtedly secured myself the position of being this individual’s best (not to mention, only) friend.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A New Dawn

Good morning! Welcome to my brand new blog. I've realized that it's high time I start blogging again, so every other day (at least) you can expect a new post on The Day is Done.


(And if you're one of my blogging friends, please update your links.)