The Humor and Life, in Particular Web site
author:  Margie Culbertson

August/September '99 Humor Writing Contest Winner
Best "Short" Humor!

Windowlicking: The New Plague


Susan Barclay

My boyfriend and I found that my car tires were getting flat. And, as any normal person would do in the situation, I drove to the nearest gas station to pump them up. Lo and behold a mammoth car, the kind that real men drove in the 1970’s, parked behind me, blocking my path of exit. I politely asked the driver if he could move his car to a more convenient location. This request was met with a stream of profanities that would have caused the most hardened rapper to re-evaluate his position on cursing in music. In short, he indicated that I could put my car somewhere that would be most uncomfortable and impossible, given the size of said vehicle. I politely declined to perform said act and punctuated my second request by honking my horn most vigorously in his direction. He let forth with another barrage of slander, most of which implied that my lineage was marred by those who were interested in goats. Choosing this moment to act, he stormed over to the car, pounding on the windows with fervour. Fortunately, we knew the first thing to do in a crisis situation — lock the doors and roll up the windows. My little 200 SX metamorphosed into the impenetrable Nissan of Death. Thwarted, he licked the window and walked away.

Now, you may be thinking, is this not the lick of death that is foretold in Mafia folklore? Should this writer cower in fear when, in the future, she passes pizza outlets? No, this was not the lick of death. The lick of death uses only the tip of the tongue while this was a full frontal lick, one that exposed every taste bud to the horror that is my window. What would prompt a sane man to press his tongue on a window that has previously carried such substances as bird droppings, car wax, and gum? Idiocy: The scourge of the nation.

Since that time I have come to the unpopular but obviously correct conclusion that idiocy is on the rise and there is only one possible cause. It’s a virus. A virus that even the arguably intelligent can catch at any given time only, in this man’s case, he has gone chronic. When a Nobel Prize winner blows over the legal limit for DWI or a grade six teacher falls in love with a student, blame it on the virus.

But what can be done? A nutritionally sound diet, exercise and healthy, clean living doesn’t seem to stem the spread of this illness. (Although, considerable amounts of red meat, cigarettes, and alcohol might prevent it. Studies are in progress at this time on bohemian coffee–shop types who spent their days smoking, drinking, discussing why everyone else in society is so ignorant, and wondering why they seem oblivious to the lure of the Spice Girls.)

Very few of us are immune to this insidious parasite. The symptoms are easy to spot: reveling in the misery of others, participating in the most inane trends advertisers are shoving down our throats, and behaving egocentrically. Some have argued that we are all infected as adolescents, with some becoming chronic cases that plague us through life, resulting in incarceration, commitment, and huge contracts with major league sports teams or record producers.

This virus is the key reason that People Magazine continues to flourish while "Spy" and "21C” have gone out of business. In recent years it has spread to members of the publishing industry, once thought immune, where huge sums of money are thrown at celebrities for instant biographies, and members of the recording industry, who offer every pre-packaged band wads of cash to spray their fresh faces or bad reputations all over the tabloids. Movie producers have had it for years -- some theorise that the virus started in Hollywood, calling for a quarantine of California in general -- paying unthinkable sums of money for "talent", while ignoring the basic movie story line. It doesn’t really matter though, the public has it too, which explains the continued interest in books such as Puff Daddy’s autobiography and opening night box office receipts for movies like "Starship Troopers."

Symptomatically, failure to question the status quo is the least of our problems. Narcissism is the true cause of most of our problems as a society: road rage, child abuse, addiction issues, and adolescents acting out all stem from a failure of the infected to consider the feelings of others before behaving. From the woman who stands in the "fifteen items or less" line in Safeway with twenty–three items, hoping no one will notice, to the adolescent who brings a gun to school, this virus has worked its way into our society on a wholesale level. Everyone is "special" now, with the unique delineated by gender, sexual orientation, disease of the week, and mental status. As a result, no one needs to worry about the other people out there; you’re so special that nothing should stop you from doing what you really want to do. Good Samaritan laws, forcing innocent bystanders to offer help to those in need, are an attempt to legislate the consideration of others in a possible attempt to arrest the effects of idiocy, to no avail. There are times when personal interest is overridden by the needs of the few, such as when a child needs a bone marrow transplant, but otherwise the call of the public is for less welfare for the needy, lower Medicare costs, and fewer programs to help those who truly require charitable assistance.

How to know if you are infected? If you accept the concept that celebrities are good and fine people because of their position in life, find yourself in a book store holding Jenny McCarthy’s autobiography, honestly believe that a Ginsu knife can change your life, or think that Beanie Babies are a sound investment for your retirement, you’re one of the millions with chronic idiocy. What to do? Take a healthy dose of reality and check back with me in the morning.

©Susan Barclay, DdD (Doctor of Denizens of the Deep)

ABOUT the author:
Susan Barclay Nichols lives and writes in Chilliwack, British Columbia. She spends most of her time writing about Sea Monkeys, tending to her Sea Monkeys, mourning the deaths of her Sea Monkeys, and writing little songs about cheese (not available in any stores, but if you act now you can get Susan’s entire collection of cheese–related songs in addition to her little songs about monkey...)

BTW: Susan says that this is a true story, the window being licked...As she says, "I still have the marks on the passenger side window....."

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©Margie Culbertson

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