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i, ronic

November 11, 2015

Hi, my name is Bo Mandoe, and I’m an ironic.

I have been addicted to irony for some time now. I started using it at an early age, and though I don’t recall the very first moment I can tell you with certainty that it was under the supervision of my maternal grandfather, William ‘Billy Boy’ Caminker.

Grandpa was always telling me to do silly things like shake a tower, and when I’d call him on his jokes he’d tell me to go lump in a jake. He had a certain twinkle in his eye when he made a pun, like he got more pleasure out of watching people groan than from the wordplay itself. He never lost his sense of humor. It even says so on his headstone… but you’ll have to wake my turd for it.

Yes, irony runs strong in my family. To the uninitiated it may seem silly, or contrived, but let me assure you it has a force of its own. It only took one dose to hook me and, encouraged by the twinkle in my grandfather’s eye if not by any actual words of encouragement, I tried it on my peers. And my parents. And my teachers.

Irony, it turns out, is like wine: best when served by the aged.

Once you start down the path of irony it can encompass every facet of your life. You will find yourself reacting to the most dire of situations with a witty aside, like some comic book superhero. You appear aloof. You may not be fooling anybody else, but that’s the crux of it: when you’re being ironic the only person you’re trying to fool is yourself.

For example, I’ve been known to make jokes about the plight of left-handed people: forced to live in a right-handed world, historically abused, never offered reparations or recognition as a tangible minority.

I am, of course, left-handed. I’m also a straight white cis male, which rules me out of every other minority group on the list. Could harping on my southpaw status have been some misguided attempt at a social equalizer? Yeah, I’m oppressed too, we’re cool.

George W. Bush allegedly said, “You can fool some people all of the time, and those are the ones you want to concentrate on.”

Here’s the thing about irony: sometimes it’s so sweet we want it to be true, so we allow ourselves to believe it. Or we pass it on in a modified form, and by the time five or six people have touched it, it may as well be true. For all I know there could be a movement of southpaws out there right now, planning a march on Washington to demand left-handed rights.

You never know the consequences of your actions.

Now we have another election coming up, and our United States appear more divided than ever: will we elect the greedy capitalist or the Mrs. greedy capitalist? Does what’s-his-name even stand a chance? Who’ll win the Super Bowl?

We’re being fed different flavors of the same slop and are expected not to notice, or not to understand, or to be too scared of endangering our personal lifestyle bubbles to do anything about it. And it appears to be working: we can’t keep our fantasies separate from reality anymore.

– A man in Florida drove over several people because he wanted to see what it was like to play Grand Theft Auto in real life.

– A robber with a paintball gun was killed by a vigilante.

– It took a gunshot wound to Junior Seau’s chest to raise awareness of the danger of concussions… and Hollywood made a movie about it.

Irony, apparently, is also like science-fiction: it’s only cool until it actually happens.

Somebody might be laughing, but it’s not me. I don’t find it humorous when pro- and anti- vaccination (or immigration, or gun control, or whatever) rants line up on my Facebook page anymore. I wish they could get together and talk it out, because I’m pretty sure nothing is going to be solved from the anonymity of our homes. And I’m damn sure ironic comments are detrimental to those minority of people actually trying to learn about an issue in order to make an informed decision.

 

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