Snarkastic (Frat Friday)

“A gentleman is one who never hurts anyone’s feelings unintentionally.” ~ Oscar Wilde

Snarkastic and Proud

Snarkasm2

I like that quote by Oscar Wilde. Over the years, I’ve noticed that it gets more difficult not to cause hurt feelings with what I say. Today, if I say anything about sex (as in gender), someone’s religion or political opinions, nationality (though most of us really don’t know), hair (or lack thereof), you name it; somebody gets offended.

 

snarkasm3I do my best not to ‘unintentionally’ hurt somebody’s feelings. However, I’m unopposed to stepping on an emotional toe when I hear the call. As a senior citizen, I sometimes feel a sense of entitlement to do that, but I usually refrain. I once knew one guy who was so Cliff Clavin (from the TV show Cheers) that I started calling him Cliff. He never figured out why.

 

SnarkasmSeveral years ago, my daughter-in-law said that I was snarky. I appreciated her honesty and courage. I also liked it. She was right; I am snarky. I’m also sarcastic. In fact, being both makes me snarkastic. I enjoy humor, but sometimes I don’t get it. I really enjoy ironic, skin-ripping, hard cutting, sarcastic snarkiness. Here’s a few short lists to help understand what I’m talking about.

Movies and actors

Robert Duvall and Michael Caine in Secondhand Lions (loved it)

Duvall in Apocalypse Now (“I love the smell of napalm in the morning”)

snarkasm7Jack Nicholson in As Good as it Gets (and other movies of his)

Many children’s animated flicks (i.e., Rafiki the baboon and Timon the meerkat in Lion King)

Male Comedians (Pick virtually any)

George Carlin, Bill Murray, Ron White, David Cross, Daniel Tosh

 

This is not a guy thing. Woman are wonderful at snarkasm. Some folks may say funnier. Watching a witty lady catch some Neanderthal off-guard is a treat. Snarkasm crosses all race, creed, gender, and economic status barriers. My current favorite snarkastic ladies include the following (and so many more).

snarkasm10Female Comedians (Yes they are)

Amy Schumer, Tina Fey, Ellen DeGeneres, Joan Rivers (good grief, the queen), Chelsea Handler, Melissa McCarthy (brought me to tears in St. Vincent, The Heat [w/Sandra Bullock], and Identity Thief).

Writers

Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain

Cartoons/Comics

Maxine or The Boondocks

Now you know

snarkasm9Not everyone has been introduced to my brand of snarkasm. After a while, when most people get to know me, they agree that I can pull it off. Many find it humorous. In fact, that’s the point – humor. I’m not on some kind of anti-PC* crusade here.

I recall watching Archie Bunker in the 70s and laughing so hard that I was sure I was going to wet my pants. Since then, I’ve often referred my father as a mix of George Burns and Archie – all three funny, snarkasticly-gifted guys.

So HELL YEAH! I’m a proud, snarkastic old fart. Deal with it, Junior.

snarkasm6

Because I like you so much, here’s some good advice if a cop pulls you over today. Try any of these.

snarkasm15Are you Andy or Barney?

I thought you had to be in good physical condition to be a police officer.

You’re not gunna check the trunk, are you?

And then when the officer says (cuz you been tippin’ a few), “Your eyes look red. Have you been drinking?” You should respond with, “Your eyes look glazed. Have you been eating doughnuts?”

So snark-up before it’s too late. Have fun!

*politically correct

Wisdom

Definition from Psychology Today.

“It can be difficult to define Wisdom, but people generally recognize it when they encounter it. Psychologists pretty much agree it involves an integration of knowledge, experience, and deep understanding that incorporates tolerance for the uncertainties of life as well as its ups and downs. There’s an awareness of how things play out over time, and it confers a sense of balance.

Wise people generally share an optimism that life’s problems can be solved and experience a certain amount of calm in facing difficult decisions. Intelligence—if only anyone could figure out exactly what it is—may be necessary for wisdom, but it definitely isn’t sufficient; an ability to see the big picture, a sense of proportion, and considerable introspection also contribute to its development.”

WIn my lifetime I’ve been called a wise-guy, wise-ass, and a wise-you-name-it. I don’t recall denying any of it. But until I lost a significant amount of hair, gained a lot of scars (and weight), and dealt with a good bit of life’s experiences, no one has used the words wise or wisdom (without suffix) regarding me. So, as I was running through the w’s (women, walking, wine, wild, Wilde, and why) in search of an ‘a-to-z challenge’ blog topic, my wife says, “How about wisdom? You should know about that.” (Her birthday is tomorrow.)

wisdom3To me, the word wisdom has much in common with the word quality. Both are generally positive; we recognize them (or their absence) when we see or encounter either. But, precise definition for both eludes us. We are willing to take on as much quality and wisdom as possible, but with one condition. We want to know the cost. What price must we pay for quality? Can we afford it? What price must we pay for wisdom? Are we willing to pay the price?

wisdom8As a college student, I would walk into the Seven-Eleven store and eyeball the beer coolers. I looked only at price per six-pack. Texas Pride was 86-cents for six cans. I still can’t believe I managed to drink that horse piss, but price mattered more on my tight budget. I ignored quality. Little did I know then that years later I would gladly pay eight-to-twelve times as much for top-quality, locally brewed, craft beer. My taste and budget have both matured in quality.

wisdom7I had a conversation with a friend who was a wonderful, doting, and loving mother to her children. As I listened to her rant-on one day concerning some problem that her son was having, I asked her this question. “You love your son. Why do insist on preventing him from learning life’s lessons simply because they are painful? Be there for him. Protect him from serious harm. But allow him the dignity of learning his own lessons.” Before she got over her hurt feelings about what I had said, she backed off (he owes me). Hard for her, good for him.

Our wisdom sponge is dry at birth. It may be the only thing that is. As we age, that sponge soaks up more wisdom with each life lesson. It seems to me that the more painful the lesson, the better we learn it. I’m not sure that I accept the proposition that there is much intelligence in wisdom. We only need to be smart enough to learn from our best life-long teacher – experience. But I do think that the quality of our intelligence improves as we gain wisdom.

Wisdom4We are wiser when older because we have been schooled in life longer.

 

 

Dark Side

DThis may be the most difficult topic for me, but it’s early in the A-to-Z Challenge. I may find subjects that are greater challenges. Regarding the dark side of human nature, I would simply prefer to accept it and move on. My research of our dark nature has revealed that we humans actually want to deal with it in reality, art, life, drama, poetry, fiction, behavior, and nature. Many of us admit to a duality of human nature, but even more of us reject the dark truths.

Dark PoetryMy dark side calls to me. I ask, “What do you want?”

It calls again. “Stop!” I say, “You’re bad. Nobody likes you. If I accept you, nobody will like me.”

Through art, literature, and life I feel the tug and I hear the voice. “To be fully human, you must accept and understand me. Fear me not, judge me not. Your rejection of me is ironically exactly what your fear is about—ego.”

Am I imprisoned by my own thinking? Aren’t we all? The Bard speaks to me through Hamlet, “Why then ’tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.” Do I judge the dark side unfairly? Is it my thinking that makes the dark side so – bad? If I pursue the dark side of human nature through art, literature, or science; is that bad? Would I be bad or become less good and more evil? What do I fear?

Embrace Dark SideIn addition to Oscar Wilde (The Picture of Dorian Gray), which I’ve read, I shall add the following.

Edgar Allen Poe
William Shakespeare (Hamlet)
Nathaniel Hawthorne (Young Goodman Brown)
John Keats (Ode to a Nightingale)
William Faulkner (As I Lay Dying)
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Crime and Punishment)
D. H. Lawrence (Sons and Lovers)

Next week I plan to blog on Jekyll and Hyde from the classic book by  R. L. Stevenson for more on this topic.

Maybe then I can begin to learn and to eventually know. The maxim on the Temple of Apollo attributed to Socrates is “Know thyself.” It isn’t know thy good-self or thy light-self.

THE REBEL
Shaking his clenched fist at nobody
and shouting out in anger at nothing,
the proud, haughty rebel grits his teeth
and stands firm, straight and tall against
an enemy never seen nor ever heard;
crossing his arms in defensive defiance
against an adversary whose dwelling place
is in the dark, shadowy chambers of his
tumultuous and solitary, lofty and lonely mind.
[Dedicated to Albert Camus] ~ Kenneth Norman Cook

We may never know if the basic nature of mankind is good or evil, if we are fallen or risen. But we know something is there. We can hear it calling  to us. To know it. Embrace the darkness as well as the light.

I read this yesterday: “If you took a picture of your soul, what would it look like?”good-and-evil-2