The Joke’s on Us


So Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-Rhode Island) calls Scott Brown’s successful candidacy for the US Senate a “joke.” The representative’s addled reasoning has something to do with “seven out of ten of Brown’s voters [being] labor households” and Brown’s swearing-in date. If, in fact, seventy percent of Massachusetts’ union members helped elect Brown, the Democratic party is in deep, deep trouble. But what exactly is the joke here? According to Howie Carr, it’s Representative “Patches” himself. I agree that Patches is good for a few laughs: he gave a rousing stump speech for Brown’s opponent “Marsha” Coakley, after all. And he has the darkly humorous habit of DWA, driving while asleep. But I am not a fan of Carr, so I am uncertain that young Kennedy is the punch line here, however easy and irresistible that conclusion might be.

I think what caught up with the representative is simply the time of year. It put him in a jocular mood (or would have, if he knew the meaning of the word). February, when winter gets down to business, is the worst month of the year, a joke of a month really. Think about it. February begins with a needle-nosed rodent opining on climate change. It ends a few days short of an authentic month. And in between are the Oscar nominations, the Super Bowl, and Valentine’s Day. All risible, in my opinion.

First up, the Academy Award nominations. Since the last time I saw a movie in a theatre was during the last millennium, one might suppose I am not qualified to have an opinion, but come on…ten nominations for “best picture”? Now that is a joke. Is the American viewing public so blessed that a double-digit number of pictures are so terrific that they can vie for the title “best”? Given that one of the nominated films, Up, is a cartoon, and another, Avatar, seems like it should be considered a cartoon since I understand there are oversized Smurfs running around in it, the number ten does seem a bit inflated. I don’t believe George Clooney is capable of making a good movie, let alone a “best,” so I’d knock Up in the Air out of contention, too. The rest of the nominees seem awfully predictable to me, and for the wrong reasons.

What can a single woman say about Valentine’s Day: Wait until next year? Chocolate is bad for my complexion? Fredericks of Hollywood messed up my order? Best to go into twenty-four hour seclusion, to forestall putting herself in the harm’s way of being the butt of “good-natured” joshing about her spinsterhood, or, worse yet, being forced to listen to others’ romantic escapades. Her attitude is best expressed by a memorable remark from a long-ago colleague of mine: “Valentine’s Day. What a joke.”

But then there is the light at the end of the tunnel, the Super Bowl. I have never understood football, and have no interest in educating myself. But I look forward to “game day,” as the NFL stupidly insists it be called by every entity that’s not an “official sponsor,” as much as any rabid fan. On Super Bowl day, the stores are deserted, parking anywhere is not a problem, and one is free to roam this great land of ours without fear of traffic, crowds, or lines at the supermarket. Try visiting a Home Depot or some other manly refuge tomorrow afternoon (or whenever it is the game is on); you’ll feel like you are in an episode of the Twilight Zone…the usually bustling aisles eerily silent, the overpowering aroma that inevitably hangs in the air when a critical mass of guys with ass cleavage congregate strangely absent, and wives who’d ordinarily hang on to hubby’s side for dear life are listing oddly to left, as if leaning on their phantom meal ticket. But the best thing of all about Super Bowl day is that all that’s left to endure when it’s over is the winning team’s victory parade, then it’s bye-bye bruisers till next fall.

So, Patches, I forgive you. I don’t think you meant what you said. I think you were simply a victim of February.

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