November 7, 2018 11:25:48 AM
The columnist, pouring flop sweat like Brett Grabanaugh at a #MeToo meeting, seizes the microphone stand like a drowning man clutching at another drowning man.
"But seriously, folks," he says. "How about that airline food? It tastes really bad.
"C'mon," the columnist snarls at the audience. "I laughed when you came in. Is this an audience or an oil painting?"
The drummer hits a rimshot. "Ba-Dum-Ching."
It's time to cue the stripper. In 2018 America, it's ALWAYS time to cue the stripper.
So, last week, I'm sitting in my living room, eating a ham and cheese Hot Pocket, and I get this idea for a column. Yes, I'm a member of the "elite out-of-touch media," and yes, I was eating a Hot Pocket in the living room. And somewhere between one end of the Hot Pocket and the other, just about the time the molten cheese inside burned my lower lip, I had an idea.
Column ideas are like bunnies. Seen from a distance, they are cute and fuzzy, and you want to take one home and pet it all the time. But if you get too close, that bunny runs into the strip of woods next to the 7-Eleven.
I got lucky. I grabbed this idea, and put it in the trunk of my car while I went into the 7-Eleven and bought some Hot Pockets. I took it out when I got home, and loved it and petted it until I had a newspaper column.
In the column, I perkily made fun of gun owners, about fashions in guns, about how the well-armed defender of The Constitution wouldn't be caught dead with a .357 magnum down at the gun range, not when the Colt .45 1911 automatic is all the rage.
Oh, it was a spritely little column, energetic as a fresh-caught bunny.
And then some fellow white man took some guns into a synagogue and shot a number of aging Jews. Given that no one young goes to the old mainline houses of worship any more, shooting up a synagogue is like shooting up a nursing home.
There are no jokes anymore, given that any horrible thing is likely to happen at any time here in America.
Ten years ago, a talented writer might have written an explosively comic novel about a leering, crooked, pus-mouthed anti-intellectual, city bumpkin who becomes president. It would have been funny as hell, too, funny like the Three Stooges were funny.
Of course, we elected that guy, so the joke is flatter than a room full of actresses who never met a plastic surgeon.
Humor depends in part on the unlikely. When was the last time you saw a priest, a minister and a rabbi walk into a bar?
If you do, tell them to take cover.