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This is no game


Mullytt
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This is no game. You might think this is a game, but, trust me, this is no game.

 

This is not something where rock beats scissors or paper covers rock or rock wraps itself up in paper and gives itself as a present to scissors. This isn’t anything like that. Or where paper types something on itself and sues scissors.

 

This isn’t something where you yell “Bingo!” and then it turns out you don’t have bingo after all, and what are the rules again? This isn’t that, my friend.

 

This isn’t something where you roll the dice and move your battleship around a board and land on a hotel and act like your battleship is having sex with the hotel.

 

This isn’t tiddlywinks, where you flip your tiddly over another player’s tiddly and an old man winks at you because he thought it was a good move. This isn’t that at all.

 

This isn’t something where you sink a birdie or hit a badminton birdie or do anything at all with birdies. Look, just forget birdies, O.K.?

 

Maybe you think this is all one big joke, like the farmer with the beautiful but promiscuous daughter. But what they don’t tell you is the farmer became so depressed that he eventually took his own life.

 

This is not some brightly colored, sugarcoated piece of candy that you can brush the ants off of and pop in your mouth.

 

This is not playtime or make-believe. This is real. It’s as real as a beggar squatting by the side of the road, begging, and then you realize, Uh-oh, he’s not begging.

 

This is as real as a baby deer calling out for his mother. But his mother won’t be coming home anytime soon, because she is drunk in a bar somewhere.

 

It’s as real as a mummy who still thinks he’s inside a pyramid, but he’s actually in a museum in Ohio.

 

This is not something where you can dress your kid up like a hobo and send him out trick-or-treating, because, first of all, your kid’s twenty-three, and, secondly, he really is a hobo.

 

All of this probably sounds oldfashioned and “square” to you. But if loving your wife, your country, your cats, your girlfriend, your girlfriend’s sister, and your girlfriend’s sister’s cat is “square,” then so be it.

 

You go skipping and prancing through life, skipping through a field of dandelions. But what you don’t see is that on each dandelion is a bee, and on each bee is an ant, and the ant is biting the bee and the bee is biting the flower, and if that shocks you then I’m sorry.

 

You have never had to struggle to put food on the table, let alone put food on a plate and try to balance it on a spoon until it gets to your mouth.

 

 

You will never know what it’s like to work on a farm until your hands are raw, just so people can have fresh marijuana. Or what it’s like to go to a factory and put in eight long hours and then go home and realize that you went to the wrong factory.

 

I don’t hate you; I pity you. You will never appreciate the magnificent beauty of a double rainbow, or the plainness of a regular rainbow.

 

You will never grasp the quiet joy of holding your own baby, or the quiet comedy of handing him back to his “father.”

 

I used to be like you. I would put my napkin in my lap, instead of folding it into a little tent over my plate, like I do now, with a door for the fork to go in.

 

I would go to parties and laugh—and laugh and laugh—every time somebody said something, in case it was supposed to be funny. I would walk in someplace and slap down a five-dollar bill and say, “Give me all you got,” and not even know what they had there. And whenever I found two of anything I would hold them up to my head like antlers, and then pretend that one “antler” fell off.

 

I went waltzing along, not caring where I stepped or if the other person even wanted to waltz.

 

Food seemed to taste better back then. Potatoes were more potatoey, and turnips less turnippy.

 

But then something happened, something that would make me understand that this is no game. I was walking past a building and I saw a man standing high up on a ledge. “Jump! Jump!” I started yelling. What happened next would haunt me for the rest of my days: the man came down from the building and beat the living daylights out of me. Ever since then, I’ve realized that this is no game.

 

Maybe one day it will be a game again. Maybe you’ll be able to run up and kick a pumpkin without people asking why you did that and if you’re going to pay for it.

 

Perhaps one day the Indian will put down his tomahawk and the white man will put down his gun, and the white man will pick up his gun again because, Ha-ha, sucker.

 

One day we’ll just sit by the fire, chew some tobacky, toast some marshmackies, and maybe strum a tune on the ole guitacky.

 

And maybe one day we’ll tip our hats to the mockingbird, not out of fear but out of friendliness.

 

If there’s one single idea I’d like you to take away from this, it is: This is no game. The other thing I’d like you to think about is, could I borrow five hundred dollars?

 

-Jack Handy

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/01/0...s?currentPage=1

Edited by Mullytt

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Jack Handy had another article in the New Yorker a few weeksa go that was pretty good. If I can find it, I'll post it.

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Things tend to even out. Religion, some people say, has caused wars and fighting. Yes, but it’s also boring to sit through a church service, so it evens out. One moment you’re depressed because your doctor tells you that you have alcoholism. But then you cheer up when you go home and find a hidden bottle of vodka you had forgotten about.

 

Things are evening out all the time, if you take time to notice, like I do. Let’s say you want a big cupcake, with lots of icing, so you go buy one and eat it. But then you realize, I don’t have the cupcake anymore. Or maybe you take a bite of salsa that’s labelled “HOT,” and it doesn’t seem that hot, but then about a second later it seems really hot.

 

You might hear that some guy you know is having a party, so you call him up, but he says there’s no party. But then you call back, using a different voice, and suddenly there is a party.

 

One day, you ask people to take a look at a skin rash you have. Then, a few days later, you’re looking at their rashes. You send someone a death threat and then, mysteriously, the police come to your house and threaten you.

 

Maybe you find a nice flat pebble on a riverbank, and when you pick it up and throw it it skips across the water several times. But then the next pebble you can’t even pry loose because, what is this, glue mud? You notice an ant drifting away on a leaf in the water. Then you look up to see your aunt drifting away in a rowboat.

 

Eventually, I believe, everything evens out. Long ago, an asteroid hit our planet and killed our dinosaurs. But, in the future, maybe we’ll go to another planet and kill their dinosaurs.

 

Even in the afterlife things probably even out, although I can’t imagine how.

 

Still don’t believe that things even out? Try this simple test: flip a coin, over and over again, calling out “Heads!” or “Tails!” after each flip. Half the time people will ask you to please stop.

 

Once you realize that things even out, it’s like a light being turned on in your head, then being turned off, then being turned to “dim.”

 

Probably the perfect example of things evening out happened to me just last month. I was walking to the post office to mail a death threat. It was a beautiful day. I was happily singing away in my super-loud singing voice. I didn’t step on any chewing gum, like I usually do, and when I threw my gum down it didn’t stick to my fingertips. As I rounded the corner, there was a bum begging for change. I was feeling pretty good, so I gave him a five-dollar bill. At first I tried to make him do a little dance for the five dollars, but he wouldn’t do it, so I gave him the five dollars anyway.

 

Not long after that, I was reading the paper, and there was a picture of the bum. He had won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry! He had a little bigger nose and straighter teeth, but I’m pretty sure it was him. So, my five dollars had made him change his ways and become a chemistry guy.

 

A few days later, I was walking by the corner again, and there was the bum, back begging. So, things had evened out. He had gotten the Nobel Prize, but now he was a bum again. I asked him for the five dollars back, but he started saying weird stuff that I guess was chemistry formulas or something.

 

I told my friend Don the story, but he said it wasn’t an example of things evening out so much as just a stupid story. That’s interesting, Don, because you saying that evens out what I said to your mother that time.

 

I have a lot of stories about things evening out, but I think the one about the Nobel Prize-winning bum is the best. I’d say it would take about three of my other stories to even out that one. ♦

 

 

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