Irony

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Irony, sarcasm, and vulnerability

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Perhaps you saw Christy Wampole’s New York Times article “How to Live Without Irony,” published in mid-November. While I believe Ms. Wampole makes a mistake in mass-labeling so-called hipsters as insincere narcissists (because I know plenty of people that fit the “hipster” bill who are both genuine and generous), I do think she’s accurately pinpointed a larger cultural norm.

From the outside looking in, I am the furthest thing from a hipster; I like my jeans flared and my house Pottery Barned. But I recognize my use of irony and sarcasm as shields against vulnerability – and I know that I’m not alone. I see it all around me, in people of all ages, in all sorts of clothing, with all sorts of hobbies, and all manner of facial hair. Irony is not reserved for the mustached.

In light of that article (which is worth the read), I hope you’ll watch this TED talk by Brené Brown about the importance of vulnerability. You may have seen it already (6 million have), but I revisit it often, particularly when I feel my armor start to go up. I could go on about all of the reasons I love this talk, but really, you should just take the 20 minutes to watch it.

Subaruined

Monday, November 21st, 2011

On Friday, I dropped my phone and shattered the screen, rendering it useless.

Irony is contacting the police to tell them that if they in fact find my stolen vehicle, please don’t call me – call my sister instead.

And then I asked, “By the way, any news?” And they said, “No.”

On Friday night, I sat in the living room, listening to feral cats fighting outside the front door. What else was there to do? I couldn’t drive anywhere, and I couldn’t call anyone. This must be what a 50s housewife felt like, when her husband would take the car to work in the city and she would be left stranded at home with no outside contact, speaking only to her mute household companions. Hers were babies. Mine are dogs.

On Saturday morning, I went for a terrible run. My brain felt spiky and sore. Down every street, I searched for my missing car. I quit after 6 1/2 miles, when I was planning on running 10.

Later that afternoon, I got the news (via my sister, who has laryngitis, which makes all of this that much more hilariously complicated) that my car had been recovered, that it was not drivable, and that it had been towed to an impound lot.

So Becca and I drove to the barren wasteland that is the Denver Impound Facility, and claimed poor, vandalized, un-drivable Subaruthless. The inside of the car is completely trashed – the ignition punched out, wires ripped, the dash hammered to sharp little plastic bits. There are no license plates. The car now sits at a body shop, ready for surgery.

But there is a silver lining. Along with everything else in the glove box, guess what’s missing? $100 worth of unpaid parking tickets. I’m not paying anything I can’t find.*

In the meantime, I am still phoneless. All of you boys who are texting me because you want to marry me? I’m not getting those messages. Consider alternate methods of communication, such as pigeon carrier, smoke signal, or a St. Bernard with a note in a tube around its neck.

*Yes, I know.  This could totally backfire on me.

Overheard in Boston

Monday, December 10th, 2007

“I mean, how ironic is this: I’m a ROOFER, and I got SHINGLES.”

Pure poetry.