BACK IN THE GODDAMN HOLE FOR ANOTHER YEAR, MANNHEIM STEAMROLLER! OR IT GETS THE HOSE!
Dance like you have to pee. Love like no one else might accidentally walk into this bathroom stall at the airport. Laugh like a donkey, because comedy Rule of Three something something.
Somewhere out there, there’s a dragon with a tattoo of ME, but I don’t make a big whoop about it.
“Just be yourself, but with my opinions instead” – subtext of all human communication
“L’esprit de l’escalier” means “the wit of the staircase”. It’s a French term that refers to that incredibly funny, apropos and witty comeback that occurs to you hours after it would have been useful and timely. Literally, the comeback that you think of as you’re walking down the staircase away from the posh dinner party where your integrity was publicly called into question, but your response in the heat of the moment was “Yeah, your MOM failed to declare taxable income on gambling earnings in the 2007 and 2008 fiscal years!”
But I don’t know if there’s an equivalent word or phrase for the opposite situation: the realization that a throwaway comment you made was considered incredibly witty by the listening audience, because of multiple meanings that you weren’t aware of at the time you were uttering it. In the best case scenario, you find that people are laughing far more heartily than you would expect, and as you replay what you said in your own head you suddenly “get” your own joke. If that happens, you can smile a knowing, smug smile at the people who are laughing: yes, aren’t we all smart! I was making an oblique reference to Pynchon’s novel and the conflict between the Right Hegelians and the Young Hegelians ! Such cultural awareness I display!
In the worst case scenario, you immediately follow up your comment with another that makes it clear you actually didn’t understand the implied or secondary double meanings, which immediately downgrades your status in the party from “witty Oscar Wilde-ish character who will definitely be invited to my book salon” to “idiot savant”.
But there’s no phrase or term equivalent to “l’esprit de l’escalier” for that situation, as far as I know.
There should be. Because this happens to me ALL THE TIME.
I just found my old list of 2011 New Year’s Resolutions in a jacket I haven’t worn since January:
1- Quit procrastinating.
2- Do more laundry.
3- Post less to Facebook.
4- Remember: “lists” jokes aren’t funny
Totally forgot about Christmas because Jesus wasn’t on my Facebook “Friends with birthdays this week” email.
Here’s an interesting economic number to look at: forecast the average salary for the first ten years of employment for a major. Then forecast the average amount of debt the person graduating with that major will be burdened with upon graduation. Then figure out, using standard loan repayment rates, how long it will take the average person to pay off the average debt with an average salary in that field. Salary average should consider unemployment rates for those first ten years.
That number should be on a label affixed to every college brochure ever sent out, with a separate label for every major that college offers. And the unit of measure shouldn’t be time, it should be the number of ramen-only dinners you’ll have to eat before your school loans are paid off.
Let’s take this for what it is: Perry’s doubling down because he knows his Prez campaign is kaput and he wants to make sure he’s still in the good graces of his core base back home.
But even within that context, this is ridiculous. Children can pray in school whenever they want, as long as they are not disruptive. If Perry thinks that kids can’t pray, I suggest he lead a campaign of civil disobedience, getting kids to pray in their public schools. The public would become quickly sympathetic to his point of view thanks to the resulting riots, police beatings and pepper-spraying of praying students, pictures on the front page of the newspapers…
Oh wait, that wouldn’t happen. BECAUSE KIDS CAN PRAY IN SCHOOL, and they already do, presumably before and during tests. What Perry seems to be frothing about is Supreme Court cases like Engel v. Vitale (1962), in which it was deemed unconstitutional for state officials to compose an official school prayer and require its recitation in public schools. And many, many other cases in which it has been found unconstitutional for public officials to force prayer on students, regardless of whether they are religious or not.
Do you see the difference between the two? Because Perry apparently can’t.
You can’t force people to pray in school. State officials can’t force your kids to pray in specific ways, to specific god(s), and saying specific words at state-required times. And you also cannot prevent kids from praying, as long as they’re not disruptive. That’s the situation we find ourselves in today, and Rick Perry finds it unacceptable. But other than frothing evangelicals that seem bent on forcing their religious beliefs on everyone else in the country, almost everyone else seems to be fine with it… unless they are presented with lies like “it’s illegal for children to pray in school, therefore we need a constitutional amendment to let them.”