Woog's World / Laugh-a-minute Westport
Published 5:35 am, Thursday, May 12, 2011
My last few "Woog's World" columns have tackled serious stuff. Education reform, shared sacrifice, tough decision-making by elementary school students -- that's a heavy list.
It's time, one reader suggested, to be funny.
So a rabbi, a priest and bin Laden walk into a bar...
Stop! You're killing me.
Seriously, I will try to be funny. After all, there's a lot to love in Westport -- and a lot to laugh at.
Isn't it funny how we obsess over health and fitness, yet spend hours circling downtown in order to park as close to our YMCA spinning class as possible? And plant our car at the foot of our driveway so we can ferry our kid 12 feet to the front door, the minute she steps off the bus?
And how funny is it that people in town -- smart people, educated people, people who once passed their driver's test -- think it's okay to simply make up their own rules whenever it suits them? How else to explain the new trend of exiting the parking lot in front of Silver's and Robeks by driving directly over the sidewalk, then merging onto the Post Road? It is hilarious to see, unless you are a person headed eastbound on U.S. 1, not expecting a Range Rover to suddenly hurl itself into your path.
Also hilarious: the 5:30 a.m. Long Lots Road jogger who believes that the proper response, after narrowly avoiding death because he has decided to wear all black and run directly into the path of an oncoming vehicle, is to show he is Number One, waving both middle fingers high in the air. What a card! I am sure you have been as amused as I during the recent tiff over swing sets and playhouses. In case you were out jogging and missed it, there's been some legal jousting over the ethics and legality of placing playthings too close to neighbors' property lines. It's not the lawsuits themselves that are knee-slappers -- my sister is a lawyer, and [insert your favorite legal joke here] -- it's that anyone believes children actually play in their yards these days.
In the two or so decades since McPlayhouses have sprung up in the long shadows cast by McMansions, I have never seen any human being come anywhere near these structures.
It's like the Fukushima evacuation zone surrounds them.
Then again, most kids are probably too tired to make it outside, having just endured a very long car ride from the bus stop to the house.
The list of funny stuff continues. Staples students eagerly spend winter and spring vacations building toilets in places like Guatemala and Honduras. They haul supplies into mountains, and toil in the hot sun for no other reason than to make the world a better place, and write about it on college applications. Yet back home in Westport they cannot summon the energy to pick food wrappers and half-eaten muffins off their cafeteria tables, and toss them in garbage cans three inches away.
This type of humor must be genetic. The same thing happens in coffee shops and bageleries, when their parents -- presumably the same folks who tell kids to put the milk back in the refrigerator and the dishes in the dishwasher -- strew their own garbage around, then stroll away. People can be very funny, no?
Yes. People like all of us -- I'm including yours truly -- who spent the last month lamenting the end of the Italian Festival. One more piece of tradition gone, tossed away like a half-eaten cannoli, we say. Such a shame -- no more parade, fried dough, Johnny Maestro and the Brooklyn Bridge. But, hilariously, hardly any of us ever lifted a hand to help. We did not volunteer one minute of our time. Now we're looking around, wondering who will step up next year to resurrect this wonderful tradition we all loved so much that we did nothing to keep it alive. What a riot we are.
Sometimes we are funny even when we don't intend to be. During last month's school vacation, several large trucks headed to Compo Beach. As they do every year they re-graded the sand, de-rocked the shore, and worked hard to get everything shipshape for summer. One morning, a woman called to complain. Her children had been out late the night before, she said, and wanted to sleep in. How dare the trucks make so much noise!
Well, reporting on so much hilarity has worn me out. Next week, "Woog's World" returns to its mission of dealing with Extremely Serious Issues.
Like building housing for seniors on the Baron's South property, or sending them out to sea on an iceberg like they deserve.
Dan Woog's Woog's World appears each Friday. He can be reached at email@example.com, and his personal blog is danwoog06880.com.