Irony, humanity’s dearest friend

While growing up, I’ve always wondered who this Murphy fellow was. I kept hearing about Murphy’s law, but I’ve never bothered to look into it. My irony bible was a large panel posted in my favorite Irish pub, with the title “Murphy’s Drinking Laws”, so you might notice when it was that I’ve actually started to understand the true perversity of the Universe.

They say the name comes from Ed Murphy, a development engineer from Wright Field Aircraft Lab, who felt the need to express his opinion about a technician’s incompetence regarding a malfunctioning strap transducer: “If there is any way to do it wrong, he will.” – well, at least that’s what George E. Nichols said in Arthur Bloch’s book, “Murphy’s Law and Other Reasons Why Things Go Wrong”, published in 1977. This is as close as anyone got to theorizing irony, through Murphy’s Law.

Seeing as I now sound smart enough to continue my rant about irony (thank you, Wikipedia), I can only say that if anyone was ever brave enough to compile an encyclopedia of cases where irony has played its part better than Jack Nicholson played Jack Torrance in “The Shining”, I’d probably earn a couple of pages in it, at least.

As much as we hate to admit it, anything that can go wrong is most likely to actually go wrong.

  “And this is just an hors d’oeuvres from life’s gigantic plate of irony.”

It’s not a reason to panic, though. Resigning ourselves with the potentially disastrous outcome is a much healthier way to cope with it, if it comes to pass. Like the guy in Alanis Morissette’s song: “And as the plane crashed down, he thought <<Well isn’t this nice…>>”. Humanity has its rich history of tasting irony’s bitter slaps on the face and it will continue to experience it because, well, we’re helpless before it.

Let’s go back to April 14th 1912. Yes, you know where I’m going with this. The largest ship of its time and its maiden voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. They called it “Unsinkable” (which brings me to this little ad that I just had to bring up, because I’m nasty), yet it went down with the grace of an elephant tiptoeing through a porcelain factory. One of the greatest tragedies of the 20th century is also a perfect illustration of irony, all because of an oversized icicle. But the whole “unsinkable ship sank on its first voyage” wasn’t the entire plate of “Oh yes it happened!”. It turns out that 14 years before the Titanic took its nose dive, Morgan Robertson published a novel called “Futility”, featuring a large-ass boat called “The Titan” that sank on the 15th of April. It featured three propellers, 3000 passengers, a small amount of lifeboats and the starboard collision with an iceberg while on its voyage from New York to England. The Titanic featured three propellers, around 2200 passengers, the same small amount of lifeboats and the starboard collision with an iceberg while on its voyage from England to New York.

  “Don’t worry, babe, there’s no way we’ll be THAT unfortunate! It was just a book!”

We can also go way back when the Romans practically ruled the world and say hello to Marcus Licinius Crassus, who got his own taste of irony. He was a renowned general with a shitload of money and gold, just enough to fund armies and invasions. His luck ran out and the Parthians defeated him. You’re probably wondering where this is going. Well, the Parthians knew their way around building and preserving empires, so when this guy decided to plunder their lands, they said “Hell, no!” and not only did they bring his armies down, they executed Crassus as punishment for his greed. They poured molten gold down his throat.

  “Judging by the look on his face, I think he saw it coming.”

I’m pretty sure that millions of people have perished and will continue to do so under irony’s tender touch. Some of the most famous deaths include Hans Steininger, the guy with the longest beard in the world, who got caught in a fire, tripped on his beard, broke his neck and died; Bobby Leach kicked some serious ass as a famous daredevil, having managed to even navigate the Niagara Falls, but then he slipped on a banana peel, broke his leg and later died of gangrene; let’s not forget Franz Reichelt, the lunatic who was convinced that his tailored “pre-Batman” costume would help him fly off the Eiffel Tower, yet the cameras only managed to record him plunging towards his own death; Marie Curie won a Nobel Prize for her theory on radioactivity but she also won a deadly case of aplastic anemia that proved irony right, once again. I could go on forever but I’m pretty sure I’ve brought you down enough.

 “Or maybe not.”

Most of you know who Steve Irwin was. I’m also pretty sure that most of you, like me, grew up watching him on Animal Planet as he wrestled with crocodiles while laughing in the camera and telling us not to try this at home. Our most dangerous approach to his kind of action were probably the backyard lizards that left us their tails as souvenirs, so we loved Steve Irwin and some of us dreamed of growing up to be just like him. I remember my dad telling me that this guy was nuts and that one day, one of those crocs would be the end of him. I would like to take this moment and say “In your face, dad!”. Most of us probably thought the same thing, that a crocodile would be the end of Steve Irwin, while some of us secretly hoped that he’d live to be 80 going on 100. Until that blasted stingray decided to call it a night and end him. A stingray. Not a brown snake (which is just one of the many poisonous things that one can find in Steve’s homeland), not an alligator or angry crocodile, but a stingray.

  “Though they shouldn’t be underestimated, stingrays rarely attack. Otherwise this photo would be slightly different.”

For as long as we can remember, man has laughed in the face of irony and got bitchslapped every time. Haven’t you noticed that whenever you’re late, the red light tends to be all “in-your-face”? Or that it starts raining only after you take your car out all sparkly and shiny from the car wash? Or how a truck drives through a puddle and turns you into a Dalmatian only when you put on those cool white clothes for the interview of your life?

Well, I’ve had my own share of ironic moments. My favorite part is when I spend months looking for a job, and when I finally find one (that is probably not exactly what I wanted but, hey, it’s better than nothing) contracts start pouring in like I’m the most precious asset on this side of the globe. Every time that I’ve said “This time, it will be better!” it was always the same. Or worse. We’re all experiencing the bittersweet twists of irony. It’s by our side 24/7, just waiting for one of us to defy it, to say “Heck, what can go wrong?”.

Don’t ever ask that. Don’t ever think that nothing can go wrong but also don’t ever let yourself be brought down by the idea that anything can go wrong. We are not invincible and every single action that we perform is recorded with an opposite outcome in irony’s memory, just waiting to be used against us whenever we wish to defy it.

It’s not like I’m being a pessimist here. I don’t believe in the “If anything can go wrong, it will go wrong” theory. I do, however, believe that if anything can go wrong, well, it might just go wrong. It might not make much sense to you, but I’m just trying to be an optimist without pissing irony off, so ambiguous statements are required. It might be spying on us this right now. Shhhh.

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What a wonderful world…

A couple of weeks ago I was wondering if the planet was giving off some hints about its own thoughts on retirement and eventually death. With Charlie Sheen gone off the rails, dramatic weather changes, the earthquake in New Zealand, the rebellion in Egypt and Tunisia and so on and so forth. That’s what I get for watching news: a slight sense that the world is about to end. I decided to stop watching the news because my positive energy is directly under the influence of what I see and hear. I live in a quiet town where the worst criminals this year were two seventeen year olds caught with blunts and fresh weed in their pockets. They even intended to sell those, can you imagine? Whew! So watching the news under these conditions makes my life more dramatic than it should actually be.

Well it all went downhill after that particular week and I finally saw what the planet’s retirement gold watch was: Japan. Oh yes, the “rock’n’roll” that went down on the island even shifted the Earth on its axis, given the physical relocation of Japan by about eight feet. I can’t even begin to imagine what went down there – although the news, live footage and photos made it pretty clear. Something big hit the fan there and nobody ducked. Add a teaspoon full of damaged nuclear plants and there you have  it: a front row ticket at a real life disaster movie.

“Pfff, this is like soooooo yesterday.”

Add to that an entire military operation in Libya that is based on a U.N. sanction and implemented by a country with a rich history of attacking Arab countries. In order to avoid the “You bastards are out for oil again” the United States clearly specified that they were only enforcing a U.N. established No-Fly zone in order to protect civilians against their bloodthirsty dictator. They are only ASSISTING European countries in their struggle to protect the Libyans from a megalomaniac who keeps telling himself and the rest of the world that his people are happy and they love him. Somehow the thousands of innocent men, women and children killed over the past month are clear proof that his people love him. So we’ve got countries walking on egg shells while trying not to turn this whole mess into a hunt-for-oil newspaper headline while the people of Libya try to take back their country. In the meantime the U.S. continue to simply “help” the U.N. coalition – the first round of over 100 Tomahawk missiles came in handy, next to the 2 missiles fired by the U.K.

“That’s 98! How many did the British launch?”

“One.”

“It’s gonna be a landslide…”

 

I personally don’t blame them. Whether it is or it isn’t help based on personal interest, somebody needs to take the mad man off his throne. What amuses me is the constant clench between fact and official statements. “We are NOT trying to bring down Gaddafi and his forces, we’re simply trying to protect the civilians.” – I don’t know if this one came out before or after they bombed Gaddafi’s residential building, but I’m pretty sure the missile wasn’t equipped with a civilian-protection shield. The bitch went off and BOOM in what is now basically a military shelter. While Gaddafi rambles on national TV and his men set a house on fire, kill the people inside and then blame it on the “bastard imperialist crusaders from that blasted U.N. coalition”… we sit comfortably in our chairs and wonder how this entire episode of “North Africa 90210” will end.

North Africa 90210 – Season 1. Donna’s uncle, the one she never talks about.

The European Union is pretty pissed off about this. While France and the U.K. take it out on Libya directly, Italy is left with a very unpleasant alternative: they’re the closest to Libya and they’re the ones who get the wonderful opportunity to shelter all those people that fled from a boiling country. Thousands of them left without homes and jobs now look for new beginnings in a country that is already seriously struggling with unemployment and what seem to be the after effects of a so-called global crisis. Italy’s stuck with the daycare while the rest of the European Union doesn’t even want to hear about it – you can now start to imagine a six year old with his hands on his ears going “Lalalalalalalalalalalalalaaaaaaa – can’t hear you – Lalalalalalalalalalalalalaaaaaa”.

The E.U.

I feel sorry for Obama, though. He was already left with cleaning up the mess left behind by the “other” administration, two wars and a shattering economy of a once most-powerful country. Everybody’s pointing fingers at him for his lack of experience, but so far no one has managed to come up with better solutions. In fact, the ones pointing fingers have recently taken advantage of a loophole to strip teachers (and not only) of bargaining rights, thus pissing thousands of people off. Yes, Wisconsin, yes. You might say I’m not in much of a position to express opinions about this whole mess but, guess what, I come from a country that is still under the control of crackheads and fat bastards that are sucking off the people like stinky ticks. That is a country whose former president stated officially that he earned no more than a boutique salesman. Somehow that fails to fly.

And this is how a boutique salesman rolls, bitchiz!

I’ve seen the “screw-the-teachers” scheme before, I’m not surprised and the final result will be an extra point to the democrats in the elections. Nobody wants a douchebag for a president. Not twice anyway. Oh wait… forget that one.

Just sit back and relax, there’s so much more to come. It’s only March and I’m still curious if April Fools Day will earn itself a new meaning this year.

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