THE ODD THINGS I THINK ABOUT

Burt Prelutsky by Burt Prelutsky on April 18th, 2012

by BurtPrelutsky

Although I spend a good deal of time contemplating liberals and the enormous harm they do, I also let my brain wander into other bizarre areas.

For instance, people have a tendency to misread my face. I used to blame them, but ever since I saw David Steinberg interview comedian Steven Wright, I have begun blaming my face.

For those of you unfamiliar with Wright, who takes a surrealistic approach to observational humor, he looks as if he’s carting around the weight of the world on his shoulders. When Steinberg asked him if he lacked the ability to experience joy, Wright denied it, stating that he actually laughed a great deal, but that it was as if a circuit was missing between his brain and his face. Well, apparently I am missing the same circuit because people often conclude from my dour expression that I’m unhappy. In fact, I have often found myself surprised when I see photos of myself because I could have sworn I was smiling at the time.

As a result, people often ask me what’s bugging me, and my honest answer is that it’s people asking me what’s bugging me. Occasionally, of course, what’s bugging me is that I’ve been thinking about liberals and the enormous harm they do.

Something else I am willing to confess is that while I rarely have a problem when it comes to spelling words, there are some words I can’t say unless I take a running start at them. In fact, I actually experience a sense of awe when people on radio or TV can slide right through “similarly,” “exponentially” and the names of Islamic terrorists.

Speaking of words, or, rather, words that must remain unspoken, in New York City, the language police have recently decided that certain words must be eliminated from school tests because some students might find them troubling. Among the words that the dingbats think might “evoke unpleasant emotions” are “dinosaur,” “birthday,” “Halloween,” “dancing,” “junk food,” “wealth-related,” “poverty,” “divorce” and “disease.”

The truth is, when it comes to satirizing liberals, conservatives are inevitably a step behind. I mean, when Michelle Obama and Mayor Michael Bloomberg declared war on junk food, even I wouldn’t have presumed that the loony next step would be to banish the term.

In neighboring Pennsylvania, atheists belonging to the Freedom from Religion Foundation sued state lawmakers to prevent their referring to 2012 as the Year of the Bible because the members of the FFRF find “the violent, sexist and racist, models of biblical behavior personally repugnant.” I am assuming that members of Pennsylvania’s Freedom from Atheists Foundation will next be suing because they find the FFRF personally repugnant.

In a somewhat related matter, historian and music lover Ronald Kessler suggests that “America the Beautiful,” with its “spacious skies,” “amber waves of grain,” “purple mountain majesties,” “sea to shining sea” and “God shed his grace on thee,” be made the national anthem.

I must admit I would find it an improvement over “rocket’s red glare” and “bombs bursting in air.” Worst of all is our current anthem is saddled with a one and a half octave range, forcing American men to try to sing notes they haven’t been able to reach since passing through puberty.

Moreover, it’s not as if it was a favorite of the Founding Fathers. It was written by Francis Scott Key during the otherwise forgettable War of 1812, and only became our anthem through an executive order by the obviously tone-deaf Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and made official by a vote of the musically-challenged Congress in 1931.

Finally, just as the producers intended, the announcement that Jane Fonda, aka “Hanoi Jane,” has been cast to portray Nancy Reagan in “The Butler” has outraged just about every decent American. I, on the other hand, happen to be undismayed by the news. In fact, I see it as a public service.

The way I look at it, Hollywood can’t be expected to picture the Reagans in a favorable light. Anyone who tried it would never again be invited to a party at Steven Spielberg’s, Tom Hank’s or Barbara Streisand’s, mansion. Still, some conservative optimists, hoping for the best, might otherwise have been tempted to waste their money on a ticket. This way, Fonda will serve as a red flag just like the little flags on highways that warn us that we need to detour before we land in the ditch.

I haven’t yet heard who will play Ronald Reagan, but I’m betting it will be someone who’s made his mark portraying buffoons. I suspect those on the short list to portray our 40th president include Will Ferrell, Owen Wilson and Pee-Wee Herman.

©2012 Burt Prelutsky.

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