You don’t need to be a trained observer these days to notice that the world is, in a word, nuts.
Stroll through a typical day – the signs are all around you. Everybody else’s bills are in your mailbox. More and more of your neighbors seem to be talking to the artichokes in the supermarket. Sport utility vehicles are everywhere, usually utilizing two parking places or three lanes of the freeway while their drivers sip lattes, yammer on their cell phones and signal right-hand turns before turning left.
And don’t forget the so-called financial advisers who call you day and night offering “no-brainer” mortgage rates, even though you live in a studio apartment on the bad side of town with a boa constrictor who’s a lousy conversationalist and steadfastly refuses to help with the rent.
And this seemingly worldwide state of madness – don’t get me started on al-Qaida – is really beginning to fray your nerves.
You wake up every morning expecting the worst, wanting to throw open your bedroom window and shout “Enough already!”
Unfortunately, all you’re likely to discover upon opening that window will be several of your neighbors shouting things like “Hey, wadda-wadda-wadda ka-boing!” out their windows.
I wish I could give you some answers, a way to turn the madness around, but I fear it’s already too late for any simple solutions.
The only thing I can tell you, amigos, is loosen your collars and embrace the chaos.
If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em (then beat ’em…).
Ease yourself into the daily madness by carrying a large box turtle, or perhaps a potted palm tree, wherever you go. Don’t waste your breath chatting with the turtle – they’re notoriously uncommunicative. Instead, engage that palm tree in a lively discussion about the Hubble Constant or, perhaps, submarine warfare during the Civil War.
The next time a restaurant employee or bartender asks “What’ll you have?”, smile broadly and respond with a firm “Pennsylvania.”
Always remember to wear a well-cut suit, crisp white shirt, subdued necktie and highly polished wingtip shoes. Outfits like this haven’t been seen outside a funeral parlor since 1998. These days, even Wall Street investment bankers dress like Eminem after a three-day hog-wrasslin’ marathon.
Try to spend as much of your free time as possible in trees. When curious passers-by pause to ask what you’re doing up in a tree, just give ’em a big grin and respond with a hearty “Cheaper than a Humvee and smarter than a duck!”
(You also may use this response while perched high atop a file cabinet at your workplace or on a towering pile of bulk toilet paper at your favorite big box wholesaler).
Set aside time on the weekend for travel to regional golf courses, where you can spend a productive day slipping innocently up behind dedicated duffers and inquiring in a loud voice “Whatcha doin’?”
Embrace the chaos, amigos – you’ll be glad you did.
Originally published September 17, 2006