Today is International Jealousy is Cool Day. I dare you to go leave a comment and tell us what makes you jealous.


[From the Institute Vault....I was thinking about writing on Irony, and explaining "Galvony" to you all, which I haven't talked about in some time. Then I remembered I'd written about it. Took me almost twenty minutes to find in the vault. Turns out I wrote about it over 6 years ago! Feels like a lifetime. Here is that original column, with any 2007 comments in RED.]

#46 Fighting the Losing Battle

When I was in college, there was this hideous evil building where we were fed gruel and the like. Everyone called it the Caf, short for cafeteria, except for one guy. He thought we should class up the joint and was forever making appeals to rename the Caf the Dining Commons. Of course, the poor guy was fighting a losing battle.

That is how I feel sometimes, too. I have some issues that I feel strongly about, but I just cannot seem to get anyone on my side. I mention some to you, loyal readers, in hopes of picking up a few converts for the fight.

Why do we say “head over heels”? Our heads are always over our heels. If things are turned around (as the term implies), then should not it be “heels over head”? [I have no idea why this bothered me. I was an angry kid.]

Why do we celebrate birthdays? If we break the word down, it means day of birth. That only happens once. The French, and Light knows I have no love lost for them, actually have it right here. The celebrate L’anniversaire, the anniversary. We should too. [I actually used to be against celebrating birthdays PERIOD, no matter what you called them. I've since come around and now celebrate two of them!]

When you call someone on the phone, I think etiquette should be to introduce yourself before asking for your party. However, I can live with “Is Stephanie there?” What I cannot live with is someone who calls up and says, “Who’s this?” Hey, buddy, you called me. Who are you? [I still loathe these people. If someone calls me and asks who I am without identifying themselves I get royally pissed off. My mother explained that it's because my father and I can sound alike on the phone, which might be true, but still: identify yourself first, then ask. How hard is that?]

Yo, servers of the world: when I ask you what is good at your restaurant, tell me something. People that answer with “everything” are not usually trusted. If I wanted that kind of recommendation, I would just close my eyes and point. You work there, so give me an opinion. [If you're not willing to enthusiastically endorse something you're implicitly saying the restaurant sucks and so should your tip.]

The word retarded has two uses: the slowing process in baking (like to keep bread from rising), and someone who is mentally handicapped. Neither should be a put down. I am tired of people using this term to make fun of their friends. People used to say “gay” as a put-down, and that is not much better. Now this one is popular. Let us be a little creative here, huh folks? [I was way ahead of my time on this one, as retarded has become the fault word. I'm not politically correct by any means, but retarded people are mentally inferior for reasons they have nothing to do with. So, not only are we using their condition as a put-down, which isn't too cool, but we are semiotically saying that the person we are calling retarded isn't responsible for his/her stupidity, which is the exact opposite of what we're going for. I may have to install a blue-ribbon committee to come up with a new word.]

Quit making fun of Michael Jackson. I know he is weird, but he is not a pervert. Those allegations were made by a family to extort money from him. They were proven utterly false. Unfortunately, in our society, to be accused is to be tarnished guilty. That’s another thing I hate, but I guess you guys cannot help me with that. [Okay, so this one looks silly now. However, I still maintain that this guy's biggest flaw is that he has no common sense or anyone around him to tell him what things look like and how he could be taken advantage of. I honestly think Michael is so naive that it just doesn't occur to him that people will accuse him of doing anything wrong. You know, if you think about it: is there a bigger waste of unbelievable talent in the 20th Century than what happened to Michael? This man was a god for a time, and now just a punchline. So sad.]

Why do we have cents? They are practically useless. We should bump everything up to the nearest nickel. This would save time and money. And while we are at it, quit being lazy and start using those dollar coins. Paper money lasts less than two years on average, but coins last virtually forever. What do you say? [Down with the penny!]

My final losing battle is one I will fight to my death. Here is an example. Last December, at the end of the hotly contested Presidential war, I heard a TV reporter say that Supreme Court Justice David Souter had given the decisive vote to Bush, which was ironic because Souter had been appointed by Bush’s father.

Ironic? IRONIC? People, this could not have been further from ironic. If Souter had given the final vote to Gore, that would come close to irony. Every day I hear the words irony and ironic misused. People do not know what the word means. Something is ironic if the actual meaning is the opposite of the intended meaning. It helps if the person the irony is happening to is unaware.

To top it all off, a few years ago, this chick wrote a song called “Isn’t it Ironic” that did not contain ONE SINGLE IRONY!

Instead of just bitching here, I do have a solution. If something is a little more than coincidence, but not ironic, call it semironic. The next level up is galvonic. Galvonic would be that which is more than coincidence, but less than irony. It might be significant if we thought about it, but it is not that important, so we call it galvonic and move on. I made that word up; so don’t try to parse the word.

If something is beyond ironic, you could call it beyonic. Two more, and then I will leave you alone: A coincidence that involves irony could be called an ironcidence. Last but not first, you have heard of sardonic (which means derisive or sneering). Could we then say that someone who was spending their time whining about things they could not change would be involved in Sardony? [Any of you writers who use the word "Galvony" in the next 30 days get 49 cool points from me and a sexual favor to be named later. Thanks for strolling down memory lane with me.]

Forever fighting the losing battle,

June 9, 2001

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