Thursday, April 24, 2008

Blame it on the Rain

Blame it on the Rain
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2008

It's been a hard day, I said to my friend and curmudgeon-for-hire, Karl. It's Monday. I hate Mondays.

"Don't do that," Karl said.

Do what?

"Blame Monday for your woes. It's not Monday's fault you're having a bad day. It's yours." Karl plunked his beer on the bar. We were sitting in our favorite Scottish pub, holding forth with our thoughts on literature, current events, and whose turn it was to buy the next round.

Karl, what are you talking about? It's just an expression.

"Kid," -- I'm 40 years old, and he calls me Kid. I love this guy -- "Kid, it's a lazy way of blaming time for our woes. Things don't go well for us, we blame the day of the week. Make a small mental mistake, we blame it on the time of day."

Karl, I've heard you come up with some pretty weird ideas, but this is right up there with training monkeys to disarm bombs.

"Think about it, Kid, It's a new week, and your barista gives you the wrong change. What does she say? 'Oops, it's Monday,' as if her brain is only in second gear because she shut down over the weekend. Or a co-worker makes 10 photocopies of a blank piece of paper so she has some typing paper, but blames it on Friday, because her brain is overheating and in danger of seizing up." He re-plunked his beer.

We all make silly little mistakes. This is a way to laugh at ourselves.

"But why do we have to blame it on something outside our control? It's like Arthur Dent from 'The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.' When the Earth has been blown up, he says 'It must be Thursday. I never could get the hang of Thursdays.'"

So?

"So how do you blame a day of the week for an entire planet being blown up? It's not like this is something that happens to lots of people every Thursday."

I think that was the point of the joke. That something so mundane would explain something so. . . well, earth-shattering.

"Nice one, Kid. I'm glad one of us said it," Karl took another swig from his bottle, but it was empty. "And it goes to my point. How arrogant are we to believe even the most minor details of our lives are controlled by the passage of time? That the same force that shapes mountains and topples empires controls whether we can't make change for a buck?"

So? People do it all the time.

"That doesn't make it right," said Karl. "Monday doesn't care one whit whether they ran out of Funyuns in the vending machine. The calendar doesn't care if we don't think to get blank paper out of the paper tray."

But it gives people a way to laugh at their own goofs without saying, 'I'm a complete moron.' It's a way to acknowledge they did something dumb, but they don't have to feel dumb about it.

"So why can't they just acknowledge it some other way? Like saying 'oops,' or 'that was stupid.' Or my personal favorite, 'duh.'"

Because it still makes them feel dumb.

"And making 10 copies of blank paper doesn't?"

Well--

"You have to wonder what people did before we even had calendars? What did they say? 'I meant to give you four beaver pelts, not three. Sorry, it's a waning gibbous?'"

I think you're getting--

"'I just can't my mind on track during the new moon?'"

Karl, I think you're being a little cynical.

"Cynical? Just last week, I had some young lady say to me 'It's been one of those days. It's always one of those days.' And her tone when she said 'those days,' like it's the chronological equivalent of stepping in a dog turd. She couldn't have been more than 23, but she's already old enough to have 'those days' on a regular basis. She's the cynical one."

So you're saying every day is just a bed of roses in Karl's world?

"No, I'm not saying that at all."

Then what are you saying? That the blame should rest on Fate instead?

"No, I place the blame where it should be: completely on me. If I make a bonheaded decision, I put it down to my own boneheadedness. I don't try to pass it off on an unlucky day or that it's still early."

So you don't believe in luck?

"No, we make our own luck. Speaking of which, it's your luck to buy the next round."

No, I bought the last round. It's your turn.

"Oops, you're right. I must be getting forgetful in my old age."


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