By Robert Crane
That was a recent bold request from a disgruntled website visitor. “I need a laugh and I need it now!” the reader complained. “Com’on! And you call yourself a humorist!”
Wow! Now that’s some pressure.
I suppose I could write something about the international attention Mel Gibson is receiving for his bouts with alcoholism and apparent less-than-amiable kinship with Jewish folks. By the way, the talk on the street is that he plans to do a remake of Tequila Sunrise, called Virgin Tequila Sunrise, once he gets out of rehab. I don’t know. I think celebs, along with their self-absorbed lives, have become boring. How many more “it is different this time, they are so in love” marriages do we need to read about? I’m tired of the make-fun-of-celebs humor. It just isn’t that funny right now.
Possibly, I could talk some more about the “natural cures” scammer Kevin Trudeau, once a convicted felon for credit card fraud, now an expert in diseases and their cures. He’s showing up again with a new book on a new “interview” show hosted by Donald Barrett —apparently Dr. Trudeau has discovered additional uses for vinegar. If you haven’t seen these two in action, oh baby! I’m tellin’ you, I’m positive that Donald is the guy who sold me my last Beauty Rest mattress. As for Kevin, well, he could sell sand to Sudan if he had to. But he doesn’t have to because he’s a “best selling” liar, thanks to the desperate hordes who hope his prophetic claims bring miraculous healing to their life threatening diseases or illnesses. There really isn’t much funny about it. The fact is the only ones who are able to laugh at all are Kev and Donny.
Then there is Ann Coulter. Annie, Annie, Annie. Bored with those irascible, 9/11, widowed carpetbaggers from Jersey are we? So now it’s back to Clinton, that “latent homosexual”—not that there is anything wrong with that. This, of course, coming from someone whose age is forty-four in Connecticut and forty-two in Washington D.C. (she truly believes in States’ rights), whose personal relationships are more guarded than Dick Cheney’s whereabouts, and whose sexuality seems to be as a mystery as Ed Koch’s. I really think this may be a case of the pot calling the kettle fabulous. But even as I write this, I only limp a slight grin. Sadly, her newest Neo-con waste filled septic tank is selling faster than dildos in Provincetown. And I don’t find that amusing. Not at all!
I know. Perhaps I could do some safe, female-versus-male humor. Let’s see, something like, women prefer erotica and men prefer porn—the former requires hearts, while the latter only parts. But it’s old isn’t it? Besides, it isn’t as funny as it used to be, with the sexist undertones and all. It’s best I leave this subject to the professionals.
I could tell a another self deprecating story, like the time I was allowed to watch my son by myself for the first time, and then proceeded to lock him and my keys in the car in sub-zero weather. The cop who came to rescue me, seemed a bit annoyed when I couldn’t produce documentation that I owned the car or the house where this little problem had occurred. So he had to stay there until he could do a license plate check for fear he might have a domestic kidnapping situation on his hands. It took about an hour before I was cleared to go. He threatened to come back after his rounds and tell my wife as penalty. I pleaded with him not to. I explained that if he did, I wouldn’t be allowed to watch my son until he turned eighteen, and even then I’d have to be in the company of another adult. He gave me a stern warning instead. I assured him it would not happen again. Come to think of it, that wasn’t funny at all.
That leaves only pet stories and President Bush. I’m not in the mood for pet stories. As far as President Bush is concerned, the last thing we need are laughs about stem cells, global warming, gasoline prices, executive power abuse, failing health care, illegal aliens, outsourcing, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Castro, and a boat load of other issues.
The truth is I feel like things are unraveling, and I’m not usually the “unraveling” type. With all the challenges there seem to be, I see an absence of any price being paid by our citizens. That doesn’t include the ultimate price paid by those who are serving this country well in the Middle East nor the price of loss their families endure. It also doesn’t include the growing number of folks left behind to wallow in poverty by an economy that accelerates away from them. I’m talking about those who have the wealth to pay a bit for the pain of our short-sighted energy policies or the cost of a mistaken foreign policy. Instead, they get tax breaks. I guess that is kind of funny.
Something has to give. I fear it will be an unexpected, substantial blow to America’s standing in the world. I fear it will come from the inside as well as the outside. And I fear our Congress will continue to fiddle, while home burns. There just isn’t much funny about that, which puts me in a terrible bind.
As for that bold reader who challenged me to make him laugh, I was the reader. I asked myself that question today. It’s been building, slowly, including the fact that I’m talking to myself these days. I feel like humor has become a depleted resource in little demand today.
Oh well, maybe tomorrow will be different. Now that's funny.
This article was written by humorist Robert Crane. Author of "Still Living in the Sixties" and "The Single Adventure of Inlin Freebosh", Robert also writes a popular blog of casual observations and polical commentary, almost always unfair and never balanced, all of which can be freely read at his website located in the outer edges of the "internets":