An Exaggeration, an explanation, and Two Apologies


I’m sitting at the computer with a plate of salsa, cheese and Triscuits. Dinner has been served, and I was still feeling a bit snacky, so I grabbed a couple snackies. And yes, the autocorrect really wanted to make Triscuits into “tracksuits.”

It’s pretty much a non-blog day. I have little of consequence to share with you. It was a morning-to-mid afternoon workday, where I made drinks, and handed folks sandwiches, and filled the ice bin several times. Iced drinks sold like hotcakes today (it’s my blog – I can use a lousy simile whenever I want!) because it made it to 92°F (33°C) today. We never really got a springtime. It snowed a couple weeks ago, had 14 days of completely inoffensive weather, and yesterday we blasted into the era of Hot Friggin April.

I noticed somebody exaggerating today. They told someone something, and the warm weather stretched the fabric of their facts just a leeeetle bit. I didn’t say anything, just shook my head in resignation. It really annoys me. It’s a pet peeve, if you will, having somebody do that. It seems to just aggrandize their deeds just a little bit, propping up their maybe-fragile ego. Jerks.

Then, I realized, I do the same thing ALL the time. For example, I didn’t wait 2 hours for my kids. I waited 1. But I said 2, because I’m an insecure jerk with a fragile ego. My fragile jerkish ego says I only got 1/4 of the piece of chicken, when really I got a whole piece and I wasn’t really hungry in the first place. But exaggeration makes my story better, see?

I’m a pinhead. I try to avoid it. Before I know it, a lie (let’s call it what it is, folks) slips out, and I try to make myself look a teensy bit better, or more trodden upon, or harried. Maybe it’s to gain sympathy. Maybe it’s to make me seem “special,” if for just a second.

I also exaggerate when I’m joking. For example today, I told a friend that we should buy wax, and teeny combs, and join a Mustache Club together. We’d be mustache twins, I told her! She politely declined, insanity not having eaten away the better part of her judgment apparatus. A stupid joke, to say the least. But my point is, what is a joke, if not an exaggeration? Comics do this all the time. It’s a game of exaggeration, or embellishing the truth the entire time they’re on stage. But somehow it’s different.

The difference is in the verbal contract. All conversation is a “contract” between the speaker, and the recipient of that conversation. In a dialog, people take turns being the speaker, and the listener. Normal places and situations (like work, or church),  we expect truth, or the contract is broken. If the child in the back seat shouts “Mommy! I really have to go potty now!” and forces mother to pull over, the child had better pee (or at least make a good effort of it), or we know what’ll happen next. Broken contract? Bad news.

In comedy, the recipient expects to be fooled. Several times, all night. The funny comes when words are twisted, stories are ludicrous, and situations are untenable. Take, for example, the words of Steve Martin: “I slit this sheet; this sheet I slit / And on this slitted sheet I sit.” Say it five times fast. If you’re not laughing (or at least horrified), then please ask yourself why not? The words are twisted. The story it presents are ludicrous.  The possibilities are untenable.  Comedy gold! And he didn’t even need to wear an arrow through his head.

If I’ve exaggerated to you in the past, I’ve broken contract. I want to apologize to you for it. If I’ve done it while being funny, I hope it didn’t go over like the proverbial lead balloon. If I’ve come down on you when I’ve found you exaggerating, I’m sorry for my hypocritical attitude. I’m a pig. It’s what I’m good at, so I hope you can make allowances.

Nothing too profound today. Just a few exaggerations, an explanation, and an apology. Be well, folks.

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