Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Best Medicine

I have no doubt in my mind that I could make it as a stand-up comedian. In fact, there is ample proof. In my 30 year teaching career, many's the time I did a routine or two. You get a lot of practices with 5 audiences a day. Timing can easily be fine tuned. Bad jokes eliminated (though I rarely did that) and new material is constantly falling all around. Anybody who can't find humor in a public high school isn't breathing.
More proof that I could survive as a comedian comes from the couple of years I had one for a roommate. I met many others in the burgeoning Bay Area comedy scene of the early 80s and often socialized with them. It was a heady time. To say they are "always on" is an understatement. This is the class that produced a few Sat. Night Life alum and one or two of the comics I knew went to work for one of their number who really made it big...Ellen Degeneres. Success for a comic is to go the way of Ellen or Seinfeld or Larry David.
From all my comedy club experience...mostly observation, I noticed that a good routine often centers around complaining about something. Not the whiney bitching that German culture is famous for, but the complaining that can be righteously funny. The observation of irony in every day life. With this in mind, I'd like to offer my short list of complaints.
As Andy Rooney would say..."Did you ever notice how..."
1. People now pay for a cup of coffee with a credit card. What happened to cash? Even just a few dollars. By the time all the buttons are pushed and receipts signed it really slows things down in the morning line. I wish people would carry cash with them once in a while and think about how ridiculous it looks charging a cup of coffee, not to mention generating more paper and leaving the corporate conglomerates a handy paper trail of all your purchasing choices so they cam pile on the spam and enrich their dossiers of your buying potential.
2. Movie theater prices for everything are completely out of control. Who, in their right mind, would pay $5.00 for the same bottle of water that the overpriced coffee shops sell for $2.00 and Costco sells for .50 cents. Are they encouraging us to bring in our own beverages?
3. What's with all the sonic noises and the TV ads before the previews too? I actually know of situations where people went to a movie on time but by the time all the ads, previews, more ads, and more previews were over, they forgot what they came to see. How long till someone gets PTSD just sitting there exposed to that sound barrage. Pathetic.
3. Corporate take-overs of coffee shops, like Peet's (still my favorite because of the people that work there) have polluted the experience mightily. They play only one kind of music. They think it's classical but it's really the perfect soundtrack for a beginning minuet class. If you want low-fat or 2% milk now, you have to ask for it.
No, western civilization is not threatened by these simple annoyances. We will al survive. But it does suggest the possibility that either no body is listening or nobody cares. Take your pick. By the way, I gotta go. My limited internet access time is about to run out and I need to hit a parking meter, which now costs ....oh who cares?

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