Written by David Vogel Tuesday, 28 December 2010 17:17
It is said that journalism is the first draft of history. However, I’d wager that when Phil Graham, a former Washington Post publisher, set those words to print he probably had no idea about this column.
After all, I wouldn’t exactly call this any sort of high-standard reporting. The only chance I have of ever winning a Pulitzer Prize would be if all the great journalists get benched from ink poisoning while Dave Barry is involved in a serious exploding-toaster accident.
But I suppose that in one way or another, this column is “journalism” with very heavy, size-18 type quotations marks. And if journalism is history, then—as I learned in my high school history class—history exists to be learned from.
I think that all makes sense.
So I’ve rounded up my columns from the last year to see what exactly you and I have learned together from Don’t Ask Why. Don’t worry; there won’t be a pop quiz afterward.
In January, I attended my first opera, which I discovered is where snobby people wearing suits and ball gowns pay a lot of money to show up late and take a nap.
I also learned that if I am ever on the verge of death I should start singing. That’s what the leading soprano did when she got stabbed, and she held out for a good 15 extra minutes. Unfortunately, the paramedics couldn’t get in because they didn’t have tickets.
In February, I learned that the reason men yell directions to coaches/players/referees during televised sporting events is because they had Tonka Trucks as children. When moving the truck where it was supposed to go, they would make loud “BRRRRRRRRRR” noises. So, as adults, men believe that if they make enough directional noise, the game will turn out how they want.
In April, I learned that small children are best taken in small doses. I cited two examples from family gatherings. The first was Gracelyn, who single-handedly kept our undivided attention for a solid two hours by playing with plastic Easter eggs.
The second example was from a different family gathering, in which a table of several toddlers had a screaming conversation that went like this: “Your mouth smells like crayons.” “Yeah, well YOUR hair smells like sausage.” “Oh yeah? Well you smell like a fire truck.” “But your NOSE smells like chicken pox.” “Oh yeah? Well….”
I later got reprimanded by these kids’ grandmother for making her grandchildren sound like “hooligans,” but I got a nice Christmas present from her anyway, so we must be OK.
In May, I found that the best place to spend a tornado warning is at a second-floor window, which is where I tracked the weather from my computer. According to Facebook, there were tornados.
June was a very informative month for me.
First, I learned that when an e-mail account is hacked by a virus, it sends out poorly written spam messages: “hello, I have bought one ipad from this website. and have received it until now, much cheaper than others and genuine. if you want, you can order one from them, this is theri website. you can check it out , Kind regards –david”.
I’m sorry if you never got yours.
Later in June I discovered that, when lighting old temperamental gas barbecue grills, one should use protective eyebrow wear.
And finally, I found that restroom walls are valuable media for genuine political banter.
In July, I actually did a bit of journalistic investigating, and found that zebra mussels are, to quote Marion Reservoir park ranger Neal Whittaker, “working out and taking steroids.”
We should be in for a fun summer next year.
In August, I visited my eye doctor—Dr. B—after the last contact lens in my stash disintegrated while on my eyeball. As usual, he dilated my pupils and shined a 1,000-watt flashlight through a magnifying glass right into my eye.
I am happy to report that Dr. B made a full recovery.
By September it was time for me to get a new phone. I wanted something “sensibly functional.” Instead, I got a touch-screen phone that does just about everything but start my car in the winter. For that I need the $9.99/month Distant Ignite Package.
In October, I found an article online that describes my generation as a bunch of—and I quote—nincompoops. The article said my peers are the Pull Ups generation because, “you can pee in your pants and we’ll take care of it for you.” However, the article went on to blame most of our inabilities on our parents, which is OK.
Incidentally, this was my folks’ least favorite column of the year.
November began with a little incident involving an impressive dermatological event that took place on my back. Thrice I warned readers not to continue if they were squeamish. In fact, I didn’t even read that column.
Later that month I went on my Last-Annual Annual Black Friday Trek, in which my family and I spent a half hour standing outside Target with 500 other customers who wanted the exact same TV we wanted.
When I say “exact,” I mean that literally. The store had exactly one of those televisions stocked, which the manager had actually claimed hours earlier.
And now we’re in the tail-end of December, which means we’re about to begin a brand-new year. If I could bestow upon you any departing words of wisdom, they would be: Don’t ask why.