Genius and the Art of Symbol-Reading.
The Irony Gods have smiled on my entire life. Each morning, I awaken to a world filled with subtle bits of humor. You know the ones of which I speak. That misplaced pronoun that suddenly makes a news article that much more titilating or the Ice Cream truck driving through a business district filled with Cube Farms. Moments like that make life enjoyable for me. Unfortunately for the rest of the world, they’re left out.
One of the ironies of life is that I was graced with an intellect. I read constantly, fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. When I decided to read Candide, I did so in French, even though my French was not that good. When I began reading The Canturbury Tales, I read them in the original middle English. Nevermind that I didn’t know squat about middle English. I learned.
I have an IQ higher than many, 165 on the open scale. I read three languages. I can make a computer do anything I wish and can design graphics or recreate them from scratch. I repair my own car, I write books, journalistic articles, and academic pieces about the nature of other people’s books and I do so in a timeframe so quick that I’ve yet to have an editor that wasn’t stunned with my ability to be the ‘go to’ guy in a pinch. I know about computer hacking (though I’ve never hacked so much as my own hair, much less a computer), and political speeches are just in my blood. I can design, layout, construct and install a sign in your choice of materials. I run a tight ship at a restaurant, have managed a deli, have been the senior sales person for a major regional ISP and have covered the President of the United States–standing with the White House Press Corps. And in each of the events above I saw the irony in life.
Driving down the highway, I noticed a billboard. One of those tall, advertising-agency monstrosities with two separate display spaces–each the size of a decent home. The top was for a retirement community. An elderly woman, supposedly with Alzheimer’s, smiled benevolently upon those motorists caught in traffic. Immediately below her was an advertisement for a Kawasaki motorcycle–flanked by a beautiful, curvy, and incredibly hot blonde who, if she was a day older than 19, I’ll slap my mother. The irony I saw? It was more of a voiceover I heard. “I used to look like this! Look at me now!” the old woman was chuckling down.
A few minutes later, as I was doing my best to check out of Hell-Mart, I saw this girl. She was young. Maybe 15, standing with her mother at the checkout. She was pretty, but not stunningly so. But what caught my eye was what she was *wearing*. A muscle shirt that looked like it had been two sizes too small before getting accidentally washed in hot water and a pair of jersey shorts–the ones that look like tee-shirt boxers turned inside out? After the initial moment of “what I wouldn’t give to be that age and know what I know now” passed, I remembered that *I* have a kid that is fast approaching that age. The Parental Gene kicked in and I wanted to smack her mother. But I resisted the urge to commit simple battery and remained in my line. Walking out a few minutes later, the Irony Gods rewarded my patience. The girl was walking out in front of me, turned away, and that’s when I saw what was so tragically screenprinted across her ass: “Virgin Islands.” Not for long, dressed like that, I thought to myself.
I tell you all of this because my gift for finding Irony is not without its Buddhist sense of cosmic Balance. Like a brutal reminder of the Yin and Yang, I am cursed with the inability to read my gas gauge. Yes. I ran out of Gas today on the way home. And as if the simple fact that I failed to comprehend the meaning of the needle pointing at the little yellow “e” wasn’t enough, my car died–right in front of one of my professor’s houses. But oh no…I’ve had WAY too much irony in life and the Gods just made up for it. You see, I was stopped at a traffic light half a block from their house. And as I sat there, listening to Fleetwood Mac’s instructions to Don’t Stop Thinkin’ about Tomorrow, I looked down, saw the gauge, and thought to myself “Self, we need to stop for gas at the Citgo just up the road here.” At that very instant, the light turned green, I pressed the accelerator, moved forward ten feet and my car promptly died.