Monday, March 29, 2010

Introducing ludicrosities

Recently, I was doing some Internet research for our summer vacation. Mike and I have apparently lost our minds completely, because we are seriously entertaining the idea of driving from Kansas to South Dakota’s Black Hills (Mapquest says 731 miles, 10 hours and 56 minutes) with a five-year-old, a three-year-old and a 10-week old. As I was browsing activities to entertain the masses, I stumbled upon the Old MacDonald Petting Zoo. A lively rendition of “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” began to blare from the speakers and I thought I’d found a winner. When I clicked on their rates section, another song fired up and, within a few bars, I realized that I was “singing” along. The song playing on the site? Glenn Miller’s “In The Mood,” as “sung” by a chorus of clucking chickens.

To my great alarm, my first notice was not that the classic song was being clucked, but that I was clucking along. Once I stopped the garbled chicken singing, I couldn’t help but wonder why the web designer would choose “In The Mood” as a song to be clucked by chickens. I get (sort of) that they wanted a song to be clucked, as this is the website for a petting zoo and it’s probably easier to cluck a song than to moo one, but why “In The Mood”? Nothing about that song is linked to chickens, to the best of my musical knowledge. And that’s a peculiarly titled song to have on the rates section of a petting zoo website. Granted, I can’t come up with a song off the top of my head that would be better, but I am confident there is one. It’s these ridiculous moments that I love to discover and that make me appreciate the many (new word alert!) ludicrosities of life.

Ludicrosity – noun. Something that is ludicrous. Something completely inane, defying explanation, provoking curiosity.

Surely you have plenty examples of your own ludicrosities. I see (hear) them all the time. Just today, I was reading an article about how April has been declared The Month of the Military Child. Now, I’m going to try very hard to avoid soapbox ranting here, as I think the military is very good at certain things (like fighting and winning wars, which is what they exist for) and completely out of their league in many of their other undertakings (providing their own health care, and their propaganda machine – which creates things like “Month of The Military Child” to show how much the Army “cares” about soldiers and families - are at the top of my list of Things the Military Should Avoid). Regardless, as a thank you to the military child for their many sacrifices, such as constant uprooting and parental absence for extended periods of times during the formative years of life, etc; one of the “promotions” is free gun rentals at the shooting range for all kids under the age of 18. A ludicrosity, if ever I’ve heard one, but this is, of course, just my own personal opinion. Surely, there is something somewhere more appropriate to offer to kids for free. Cigarettes, maybe?

This gun rental situation reminded me of the renovation AAFES did of our PX (for the layperson, AAFES is the wunderorganization that runs the PX, which is a small, understaffed, understocked WalMart-type store at each post) last year. AAFES’ idea of an upgrade included a firearms and ammunitions counter. Surely, some members of our community appreciated the addition. But when you can’t even go in the store and walk out with a basic item like a curtain rod or a bra, I’m not so sure we need a weapons section. Every house has windows and someone who wears a bra. Not every house has a rifle cabinet. But my favorite part of the guns and ammo addition was the marketing campaign behind it. It opened in November, at which time several signs were posted around the community, reading, “Looking for the perfect gift? Come check out or new guns and ammo department at the PX!” I sure hope my husband was relieved…he’s always had a tough time buying me gifts at the PX, but all those woes are behind him now that the PX sells pistols. And just in time for the holidays, as nothing says, “I love you!” quite like a crossbow.

My husband’s favorite ludicrosities are the instructions on packaging materials. Go ahead and pull out just about any box or bag of anything and read the fine print on the back. One of his all-time favorites is from the frozen pizza box, which reminds people NOT to eat the pizza still frozen, and to remove the cardboard and plastic from the pizza prior to cooking. The advice is ridiculous, but we have to believe it’s there because some moron didn’t cook the pizza and chipped a tooth on the frozen product, or that some moron (same moron, perhaps?) cooked the pizza on the cardboard and in the plastic, sliced the cardboard up and gave themselves a paper cut on their tongue or choked on the plastic, trying to get it all down. Then, said moron turned around and sued the pizza makers for gazillions of dollars and probably won, resulting in the ludicrous warnings on the box.

A package of Windex wipes offers this wisdom: “Do not use for personal hygiene or as a baby wipe.” I blame the movie My Big, Fat Greek Wedding for this warning, as the protagonist’s father was known to use Windex to cure acne, among other things. Surely, this launched the personal hygiene issue, with someone somewhere taking it a step further and cleaning up a baby with it.

While many ludicrosities are fun to discover (with “In the Mood” being the most enjoyable for me in recent memory), I recommend against looking too hard for them. Let them discover you. There’s a saying, “It’s better to be silent and thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.” It’s the same with ludicrosities. It’s better to think the world is full of ridiculousness than to seek and find the sheer volume of ludicrosities in existence, and worry that we are just a society full of loons and morons.


carol said...

A new gun counter at your PX, I'm so jealous LOL, Cigaretts........your killing me, that is so funny, love it. So many things in this world to ponder huh.

J. Naomi said...

Free gun rentals for kids... I'm not surprised. Very funny and very sad. :)