"When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain
"Sarcasm, mean as it can be, and fun as all get out"
In the history of the world no one has ever found any evidence to support the notion that sarcasm has ever helped in any situation. I say that not because I made it up, but because it introduces this week’s topic – sarcasm. Yea!
The first case of sarcasm, of which I’m aware, was directed at God and delivered by Cain. After murdering his brother, Cain was asked by God if he knew where Abel was. Cain replied, in essence, “Oh, I must’ve missed the memo. I had no idea you intended for me to be in charge of my brother.”
Let’s face it, sarcasm is mean. And, it’s the most oft used form of thought conveyance in the world, if not the universe. -- I have no idea where these “facts” are coming from. They’re practically writing themselves.
Most people use sarcasm as a way of humiliating others. What better way to build yourself up than to tear someone down?
Me? I use sarcasm merely for the laughs, ‘cause I’m a swell guy. -- “Kay, you need to quit punching those buttons at the top of the remote control. They don’t do anything but aggravate your husband.” – Now, that’s funny stuff, and it gives Kay a big ol’ grin right before she tosses the remote at me
I credit my three brothers for my sarcastic talent. No way could I have been born with this gift. When the four of us get together, we speak in a language called Sarcasmism.
“I’m sorry, Mark, would you show me less profile? Your nose is blocking the light.” -- “Oh, that was my fault, Mark. I forgot to tell you that we were aiming for the green right in front of us. Not the Ford 150 in the parking lot.” -- See how sarcasm can be used as a teaching tool? It’s invaluable I’m telling you.
While teaching in high school I used sarcasm daily. Had to. In government class, I’d occasionally get something like this. -- “Mr. Hayter, were we supposed to take notes on all that, ‘cause I didn’t bring any paper?” – A perfect teaching moment. – “Well, without taking notes in this class, you likely won’t pass, but, come next year, you’ll still get to vote. And, you don’t need to know anything to do that.”
See? A perfect opportunity to lambaste the failings of government while disciplining a student through humiliation. End result, a sense of superiority for the teacher.
By the way, that was just an example of how well sarcasm can work. I never really said anything like that. Except to one of the funniest students I ever had who intentionally set me up for such moments. – “Mr. Hayter, could you go over that one more time? Are you saying that the Electoral College is not, in fact, a real college? –Scott always knew the perfect time to crack me up. It was invariably when I was taking myself way to serious. That’s when I used sarcasm just for the fun of it. “Scott, you have once again turned all my efforts into a catastrophic success.” I stole that from “Unknown.”
One of the best purveyors of sarcasm is someone known as “Unknown.” He or she is all over the Internet. Unknown has come up with stuff like -- “I wish we were better strangers.” – “If at first you don’t succeed, try something easier.” – “The person who told you to be yourself obviously didn’t know you all that well.”
Of course, there are thousands of “Knowns” who have tossed around some great sarcastic remarks. Mark Twain once used sarcasm to describe his visit to Manchester, England. He wrote, “I would like to live in Manchester, because the transition between Manchester and death would be unnoticeable.”
And related to nothing in particular, Grocho Marx supposedly once told a host, “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” And, who can forget Abe Lincoln? You know, one of the Presidents? (Sarcasm) He once said, concerning a government official, ”He can compress the most words into the smallest idea of anyone I know.”
And, one of my favorite sarcastic remarks comes from none other than Drew Carey, who said, “Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called EVERYBODY, and they meet at the bar.”
So there you have it. From Cain to Drew Carey, remarks meant to build one up, by tearing someone else down. When used “properly,” it can be great fun and terribly hurtful. And while sarcasm has never changed anything for the better, the average person uses it no less than 14.6 times a day. Yet another fact that just wrote itself.
Mark@rooftopwriter.come & www.rooftopwriter.com