It seems to me that one of the best indicators of this nation’s moral decay is the reprehensible nonsense that passes for humor nowadays.
When I was a boy, people didn’t have time for humor. We were too busy wiping the smirk off Hitler’s face to concern ourselves with mindless tittering and idle guffaws. For us, laughter was like shoe laces or smallpox vaccines – nice to have but not a luxury most of us could afford.
And when we did indulge ourselves in some mindless comic diversion we sought out decent, civilized humorists – men who told knock-knock jokes and lamented their wives outrageous spending and disappointing attempts to make pot roast. Men who peppered us with puns and poked fun at the foibles of nagging mothers-in-laws and the dangers of shady foreigners.
Our comics didn’t denigrate our country’s values – they embodied them.
These days though it seems that every flinty reprobate with a dirty mind and a misanthropic axe to grind is parading across the screen of my Magnavox clutching at his genitals, telling off-color jokes and carrying on a like raving fool on a day pass from a home for the criminally profane.
You never heard Bud Abbot calling President Roosevelt a “douchebag” or poking fun at the Lindbergh baby. You never heard Jack Benny talk about smoking amphetamines or “bumpin’ uglies” with the Andrews Sisters. Those men had class – and they understood that if they crossed a line we’d beat them senseless with a sack of righteous indignation faster than you could say Fatty Arbuckle or The First Amendment.
There are no “take my wife” jokes or innocent jabs at those rascally drink-loving Irish anymore. Every degenerate quipster these days has to crack wise about social inequality, political scandal, the female anatomy and every other issue my generation spent years suppressing, denying and working tirelessly to ignore. They’re subversive, they’re crude and they’re undoing our social fabric one HBO special at a time.
If you ask me we’re on a path to damnation – and if we don’t change our comedic stripes soon and return to the simple pleasures of double entendres, amusing pratfalls and adeptly censored one-liners it won’t be long before we get our just desserts and are spending an eternity sitting through an never-ending “open mic night” in the Lenny Bruce Lounge of the Holiday Inn in Hell.
Picking up where I left off before Christmas and proving once again that an old man can flog a theme within an inch of its life – some suggestions that would vastly improve our quality of life in 2012.
A Customer Service Renaissance
It used to be that if your television broke down you could call up the CEO of Magnavox directly and 3 days later a man in a smart blazer and jaunty bowtie would show up at your door with a replacement, an apology and a firm handshake.
But those days are long gone. Try to return a defective waffle iron these day and you either end up climbing some damned phone tree or dealing with idiotic counter help who just shrug their shoulders, snap their gum and send you to speak to “Chaz”, the 18-year old store manager with a pierced lip, pained expression and all the decision-making authority of an Edwardian stable boy.
Advances in Cryogenics
But not for the benefit of the elderly. Rather, I’d suggest we flash freeze young people, stuff them away in a meat locker somewhere and refrain from defrosting them until either I’ve died or someone has come up with a cure for dumbassery and sass mouth – whichever comes first.
The Return of Punctuation
I’m the first to admit I don’t always use my colon correctly but at least I make an effort to include punctuation when I write. These damned young people miss more periods than Michelle Duggar for Christ’s sake. Just once I’d like to read a comment from some irate young person that I could understand without use of a crack cocaine decoder ring.
More Choice in Creamed Food
I like the wheat and enjoy the corn but it’s time someone stepped things up a bit and broke out the cream of liver, creamed pork loin and cream of digestive biscuit.
Teen Beat Magazine
I’m not referring to teeny-bopper fodder full of dream date contests, I’m talking about hard-hitting photo-journalism with a focus on miscreant ear-boxing, hide-tanning and good old fashioned tongue-lashings.
Issue one: Joe Jonas gets his ass kicked.
Face facts, most young people can’t name more than 3 of the existing commandments and have broken the remainder before they’re out of training pants.
It would appear that if we’re serious about providing even the most basic moral compass to this generation we’re going to need to toss convention out the window and come up with new, easy to read commandments that come complete with winky faces, misspelled words and which all end in LOL (Laugh out Lord).
Things like “Thou Shal knot Fail. lol”
Limiting Displays of Public Affection
An old man can’t ride the city bus these days without being confronted by damned young people slobbering all over each other and making every one around them feel like an extra on a low rent pornographic movie set.
Public displays of affection should be limited to married couples and extend no further than the use of inoffensive terms of endearment, subtle elbow squeezing and occasional hand-holding.
It’s high time we brought back good old fashioned jobs like costermongers, spittleman, wheeltappers, pettifoggers, pig jobbers, quarrel pickers and knock knobblers.
American Barbershop Idol
Surely to God we’ve exhausted this nation’s supply of caterwauling nancy boys and are ready to bring some damned decent singing back to the national stage. Four part harmonies plus straw boaters equals toe-tapping, good clean family fun.
And I don’t mean swearing. I mean putting pen to paper. They may be able to text 80 words a minute but ask them write a sentence longhand and it comes out looking like something a chimp would produce with a pointed stick and mitt full of mashed blackberries.
The Power of Positive Gumption
All this new age, positive-thinking hokum smacks me as being the worst kind of bumph since Clark Stanley sold his first bottle of snake oil elixir back in 1893.
Positive thinking as a means to an end is like the American Dream – it’s fine in theory but really only helpful to those with good genes, rich families and access to a decent education. For everyone else – it’s sleight of hand and empty platitudes.
For 2012, instead of folks assuming they can set their life right with little more than a combination of visualizations, affirmations and positive mental brainwaves, I’d like to see people attempting to set reasonable goals and then achieving them through a combination of hard work, determination and the power of positive gumption.
Enjoy your New Year’s Eve but keep the damned noise down. I’ll be in bed by 9:30.
A senior citizen’s Christmas wish list for all of mankind…
Iprods (available in 15,000 volt, 25,000 volt and 50,000 volt versions)
It’s about time someone combined the genius of walking sticks with the ingenuity of cattle prods to create a handy device for shocking oblivious young people who are stomping around leashed to their mp3 players and knocking down old people like god damned bowling pins.
Large Print Traffic Signs
I do a lot of driving and its damned frustrating when I can’t make out whether a sign says “one way”, “freeway” or “pedestrian crosswalk.” If it weren’t for giant red octagons I wouldn’t have a clue when I’m supposed to hit the brakes.
If you expect me to merge, exit or watch for children make signs big enough that a man can read the damned things.
Raising the Minimum Age of Doctors
Doctors are supposed to be sage old men with white hair, pot bellies and a black bag packed full of pills. The last Doctor I saw was about to give me a prostrate exam but the damned street lights came on and he had to go home.
It’s ridiculous. If someone is going to manhandling my nether regions I’d at least like them to be shaving regularly and have seen a woman naked outside of the confines of their examining room.
A GOP Debate that is Watchable
…and does more than just confirm their collective belief that there’s no such thing as evolution.
Scrapping the Food and Drug Administration
It’s time to toss health regulations out the window and let eating be the literal and figurative crap shoot God intended it to be.
Not only would it save money but it’s a good first step in slimming down damned young people too. After all, folks tend to be more cautious in their food consumption if there is a 30 per cent chance that what you’re eating contains enough Salmonella to kill an African Bush Elephant. And there is nothing like a good case of the collywobbles to help people develop a healthy respect for food and to encourage them to leave a little something other than just tongue marks on their dinner plate.
I’m sick of amusement parks pandering to children and believe the time is ripe for old folks to get their due. Forget the damned rolly-coasters, deep-fried turkey legs and overpriced gift shops, let’s set up a nice park full of slow moving trains, shaded benches, Betty Boop mascots and decent diversions like whack-a-teen, taffy pulling and bumper walkers.
Limits to Personal Freedom
In my day, freedom of speech was a figure of speech, not an open invitation to flash-mobbing, wiki-leaking, unruly occupying or anti-social nose-thumbing.
People need to stop hiding behind the skirt of civil liberties and read between the damned lines. Freedom of assembly was meant to protect the rights of groups like the Freemasons, the Elks Lodge and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, not the South Dakota Chapter of Anarchy International.
Advances in Artificial Intelligence
Only because the real thing is in such woefully short supply.
Coming Next…An old Man’s Hopes for 2012.
The problem with young people today is that they’re too damned soft.
In my day, young people were tough, damn it. We were gristly, sinewy and hard as nails. My generation was forged in a furnace of fiery parents, sweltering outhouses, creamed chip beef and the type of childhood diseases that either killed you or put some damned hair on your chest.
We had to be hard – conditions demanded it. There was no room for mollycoddling and teenaged slackassery. We couldn’t lie around in our underpants all day levelling up in Donkey Kong and text messaging our idiot friends. We were too busy rendering sheep fat, toting ice blocks and extracting our own teeth for that kind of foolishness. Our “down time” was getting dressed up in flour sack suits and attending the funerals of siblings who had died of dust pneumonia.
But these young people today? They’re marshmallows. And the similarity extends beyond their squishy plumpness and incredible lack of taste. Most have never done a lick of honest work and wouldn’t recognized a calloused palm if you clapped them across the ear with one.
They don’t understand what it means to sacrifice or to go without. For them, sacrifice is eating an unfrosted pop tart, fornicating with an unflavored condom or settling for less than an unlimited phone plan. Take away their cushy duvets, parental fawning and Junior Shopper credit cards and they wouldn’t last 5 damned minutes in the cold hard world.
And they’re emotionally soft too. Call a young person a worthless ninnyhammer and he’ll whinge, cry and fold up like a house of cards just to prove you right. Criticism’s considered some form of abuse instead of what it’s supposed to be – a practical assessment of your obvious limitations and some damned motivation to prove me wrong.
Face facts, this country is deep in the toilet and one flush away from becoming “Runningdoghai” the 23rd Province of the People’s Republic of China. If we ever want to return our nation to its former glory we need to stop raising a generation of spongy cry-babies and get back to work on hardening our resolve, our bodies and our minds.
They’re too damned soft. That’s the problem with young people today.
Until recently I had been blissfully unaware of the fact that Mattel had released a Barbie doll that comes replete with tattoos.
Assuming that we have now finally and firmly driven a stake through the heart of common decency, and given that the holiday season is upon us, the old folks at Donco are pleased to pick up where Mattel left off and introduce our new and updated line of classic children’s toys.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder G.I. Joe
Now with scars that you can’t see!
The hotly anticipated P.T.S.D. G.I. Joe will get a hero’s welcome when your young son finds him waiting under the Christmas tree this year.
This all plastic, combat-seasoned G.I. Joe comes complete with a kung fu grip, debilitating flashbacks, repetitive night terrors and a replica Bowie knife.
Your children will have hours of fun and learn valuable problem-solving skills as they help a real American hero reintegrate into civilian life and navigate an indifferent health care system in search of treatment for his substance abuse, occupational instability and generalized anxiety.
Monopoly (Occupy Version)
Forget building houses, amassing wealth and constructing hotels – in this special edition version of the classic board game you simply plonk your token down on Boardwalk, wave a placard and then wait patiently for someone to change the rules of the game.
A popular time-waster that is 99% guaranteed to provide months of non-stop, polarizing entertainment.
Mr. Heavily Pierced-Potato Head
Adorn this spud with studs!
In addition to the standard eyes and ears, this lovable classic comes complete with a wide assortment of hoops, bolts, flesh tunnels, barbells and plugs. Create countless variations and endless atrocities as you adorn your favourite starchy tuber with genital piercings, nose studs and good old fashioned nipple rings.
(Coming soon; Mrs. Pot Head and the always amusing Mr. Couch Potato Head)
Easy Bake Meth Lab
Say goodbye to cookies and cakes. The cool girls know that the real money is in home-based drug production.
Ephedrine and light bulb not included.
View Master 3-D (Now with Porn)
It’s a peepshow for the pre-pubescent.
An entry level depravity for young people who aren’t quite ready to have their google security settings changed to “deviant,” the View Master 3-D is guaranteed to desensitize even the most naive sprog in your household.
Using brightly colored stereograms, the View Master provides a guided introduction to the world of mainstream pornography through of the adventures of sexually curious cartoon chipmunks Jose and Charlene.
Nicotine Patch Kids
It’s never too early to teach youngsters how to kick the addictions they’re bound to pick up once high school rolls around and these novelty dolls are the perfect gateway to adulthood.
Made of coarse yellow burlap, these interactive play things gain weight, grow irritable and cough up phlegm when patted gently on the back. Each comes complete with a 6 month supply of decreasing dosage intradermal nicotine patches, carrot sticks and one menthol cigarette in a sealed glass case to assist with an inevitable relapse.
Also in this line: “Jack-Daniels-in-the-Box” and “Bennie Babies.”
Hoarder Ken Doll
The perfect companion to tramp stamp Barbie, this Ken is a modern man with a decent job, a dirty secret and OCD.
Now living in the dilapidated Camper Van, Hoarder Ken comes complete with 600 pounds of old newspaper, countless boxes of active swim wear, a wide range of animal feces and enough inner shame to keep your young ones enthralled and appalled for weeks at a time.
Coming next from Donco: “Haggardy Ann” (the gin-swilling housewife), “The Real Game of Life” and “Barrel of Monkeys on my Back.”
Old people keep lists. It’s what we do.
Lists keep us organized, productive and help us to remember things when our memory starts to fade. They also keep us organized.
In addition to the standard “grocery list”, “to-do list” and “neighbors that may be communist sympathizers list” that you’d find in any decent American household, I maintain over 200 other active lists at any given time.
Here are a few samples:
List of Formal and Informal Grudges
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a wonderful conversation with a dear old friend only to remember an hour and a half later that I hate their damned guts.
Sometimes it’s difficult to keep track of eight decades worth of historical slights, family transgressions and trivial personal vendettas. So, in order to keep my enemies straight and my grudges straighter – I make sure to write them all down.
Words I Need to Look Up List
I get a fair amount of moronic email from damned young people and most are full of words I’ve never heard of. So, in an effort to determine if these pups are being polite, disrespectful or just chowder-headed shortstacks* I like to look them all up. (Besides, I’m a wordophile or lingophile or whatever the damned term is for someone who enjoys words.)
Tonight I need to look up “pornocchio”, “doppelbangers” and the very offensive sounding “demi lovato.”
*See list of derogatory terms for young people
Signs of the Apocalypse List
I like to stay one trot ahead of the four horsemen so I keep a detailed list of signs that the world is about to come crashing to an end. Based on my current list of portents: “global economic crisis”, “wide scale artificial hip recalls” and “Piers Morgan five nights a week on CNN”, I’m confident we should be meeting our maker sometime before next Arbor Day.
List of Symptoms to Review with My Physician
At my age keeping track of all your aches, pains and suspicious moles can be a damned grind. But with this list, I simply jot down any unexplained bout of vertigo or unusual gland swelling and hand it to my family doctor for review and diagnosis at my next scheduled check-up.
(I’m anxious to see what he makes of my current list which includes: sunken eyes, enlarged spleen, swollen breasts, violent nose bleeds and rice-water stools. Based my research, I believe I may have either cholera, endometriosis or a dinopeptic germ.)
Don’s Bucket List
This has nothing to do with asinine dreams of climbing Everest, playing professional Jai Alai or trading smooches with Angela Lansbury – I’m referring to a list of actual buckets I would be interested in purchasing. At the moment, I have my eye on a rather dandy yellow Rubbermaid Mop Bucket with detachable wheels and a 3-gallon water capacity.
List of Relatives Currently out of Favor
(I’m actually scrapping this one for a list of relatives currently in favour. It should be significantly shorter and much easier to maintain.)
List of People I have Outlived
Nothing gives an old man more pleasure that outliving his closest friends and contemporaries. Sitting down with a glass of ovaltine, a red pen and the obituary page is one of the highlights of my day.
It’s also a form of validation. I may not have been as successful as Seymour Hodge or been able to beat him on the golf course – but on the back nine of life I have him by six strokes (and one massive coronary).
This is one part of my “death triology” which comprises the “list of people I have outlived,” the “list of people I intend to outlive” and the “list of teen pop stars whose careers I intend to outlive.”
List of Suspicious Licence Plates
I’m convinced that the house across the street is either an Al Qaeda terror cell, a grow op, an unlicensed day care centre or a combination of the three. In an effort to assist law enforcement I’ve placed binoculars by my front window and recorded the licence plates of over 600 vehicles that I don’t recognize and which have no damned business being on my street.
Derogatory Terms for Young People List
Just because I can’t call them “damned young people” all of the time.
Current terms include “chowder-headed shortstacks”, “slack-jawed nincompoops”, “gormless peckerheads”, “panty-waisted dimwits”, “braying jackasses”, “tweet-farting morons”, “drug-addled poindexters”, “pinheaded dullards”, “Fubsy layabouts”, “whinging sandbaggers”, “baggy-panted miscreants”, “incorrigible whippersnappers” and the always popular “feral assclowns.”
I rotate the last list fairly regularly, so if you have any recommendations, please feel free to pass them on.