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Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fools

Hey... one of my unreachable goals in life has always been to...LIGHTEN UP.
This is something that I don't do well at all. I have been trying for years. It doesn't get any easier...

It is April Fools Day today.
A great tradition.
If I were running for political office, I think that I would decree that the first day of every month should be April Fools Day.
Way back when in France, when French television was STILL a public service, STILL EXCELLENT, I used to love poring over our rather intellectual weekly TV magazine on April Fools week to try to find the "canular". The joke.
Sometimes it was really sophisticated stuff. You had to exercise your neurons to pick up WHERE the joke was. It was not immediately obvious.
I wish somebody here (Thai ? Dink ?) would stick down a link with some famous April Fools jobs.
A couple memorable ones... (a gift from my loony forum. Can't stick down the link cause it's all in French, and you wouldn't understand, I assume.)
In 1957 the BBC announced that the Italian spaghetti trees were doing nicely, and that the upcoming spaghetti harvest was going to be fabulous (can't find a good word here.. a bumper crop ?? maybe like a... BULL crop...)
The BBC got tons of mail. People, uh, really believed that spaghetti grew on trees...
(Amazing what people will believe when they want to, right ?)
And in France, one of the papers announced that the Elysée had decided to unbuild the Tour Eiffel and move it to Disneyland where it would be reconstructed. Replacing the Tour Eiffel on site with a giant stadium for the 1992 Olympics (I could be wrong on the date...). Lots of mail on that one too...

I think that we could bring back the Roman Saturnalias with great profit...
Think of it... a MONTH where all of the big bosses, the.. Presidents, the heads of state, the PEOPLE WHO COUNT, the stars, would trade places with... janitors. Loonies. The little guys. The down and outs. The less down and outs. The middle class... (well, not JUST the middle class, we already saw this act during the French revolution, and look where it got us...)
I think that this kind of social regulation would be a very good idea.
Beyond the fact that it would do our leaders a world of good getting some hands on direct experience of down and out--
It would do worlds of good combating scapegoating, for example.
When you got fed up, you would say to yourself... "just one more week, one more day, one more month and I get to parade around as Barack..."
Wouldn't that be fun now ?

(A week ? A month, the Saturnalias ? I will stand corrected if anybody wants to correct...)


Dr John said...

I saw an add for a TV show in the US where they put the CEO of a company in a grunt position for a few weeks so he can see what it is like. Not as humiliation but more so as a learning tool. The episode I saw was the CEO of 7/11 shops working nights as a poorly paid clerk waiting on customers and mopping floors. I put myself through school working nights cleaning toilets pulling out cigarette butts from the can at one job and frying chicken at another.(I washed my hands) I will never forget that.

Debra said...

Yeah, I think that is a pretty unforgettable experience.
I worked selling women's clothing in a department store in the '70's.
Nothing particularly tough about that, except that we had to stand up all the time and look busy, even when there weren't customers...
My mother grew up poor during the Depression. It humiliated her, and she certainly passed that on.
I feel much more comfortable with working class people than I do with most of my shrink friends.
I could tell you stories and stories about feeling odd man (lol) out at a dinner party.
All the education in the world will not compensate my feeling now that the "bourgeoisie" is a different continent for me. Now... I know that they are people like you and me (!) but they are not JUST like you and me (in my opinion...)
But maybe there are cultural differences involved.
Can the idea of the bourgeoisie be reduced simply to the question of having money ? I don't know.
But people's behavior sure changes most of the time when they have money and know it.
Unfortunately, having money or not makes a BIG difference in the way people are perceived, AND perceive themselves...
I think I could do almost any job now and find some kind of satisfaction out of it.
But physically, that's a different story. I don't have lots of energy. And trying to reduce this question to one of depression (in my case, or the case of others, while we're at it) COULD be simplistic in my book. Hard to tell.
I think that anything that encourages empathy, allowing people to see how other people live, is an excellent experience.
In this respect, being on my loony forum has woken me up to MY prejudices about certain things at the same time that I have tried to wake others up to THEIR prejudices (when I see them...).
It works both ways.
Our leaders SHOULD be seeing how the other half (or 3/4 now ?) lives.

Dink said...

I worked at a movie theater. Cleaning grease out of those popcorn poppers is hard!

As a kid I assumed that the rich and educated were more civilized, but when I grew up and met them I found out that they were the same dysfunctional personalities I already knew about (but with better cars). And when my friends started getting masters and PhDs the illusion was completely shattered ;)

We're all just confused primates doing the best we can under our various given circumstances.

Dr John said...

Boy do I agree with all that. The people I think I admire most are some of those with the least formal education. Not always but often. My Dad is still my hero. He taught me a little about everything. How to dress. How to look at people when I talk. How to slip the head waiter $20 on the sly to ensure we were taken care of. He worked on his own car and could take a dish washer apart and put it back together again in the dark. He is an x-ray tech and we were very middle class. Money is nice but after you have heat, a roof and clothes, all bets are off on people.

Dink said...

"The people I think I admire most are some of those with the least formal education. Not always but often."

Yep, there is no magic demographic that I've found. Identify any group and you'll have good/evil and dumb/smart members. Well, okay that's to broad a statement. Identify a group based on physical characteristics, not behavioral (i.e. prison populations).

"My Dad is still my hero."

Awesome! My dad was a lab tech (blood analysis)before he retired. Kind and curious. Not so handy with dishwashers, but can start a conversation with anyone, anywhere, anytime. Hero worship is good for kids, I think.

Debra said...

We'll talk about hero worship, dink.
Why it's important.
Unavoidable, even....
For better and for worse.

The Most Fabulous Objects In The World

  • Hitchhiker's Guide To The Universe trilogy
  • Lord of the Rings trilogy
  • Flight of the Conchords
  • Time Bandits

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