As we go through our day-to-day activities we come across bunches and bunches of stuff. Much of it is quite inconsequential. However, if you stop and make just a little bit of effort even the most normal, run-of-the-mill thing can be most entertaining.
For example, the other day my wife was giving the family dog (let’s be honest, he is her dog and he tolerates the rest of us as long as we are not in his preferred napping locations) his flea treatment. One direction proved ironic if not downright ridiculous. It read as follows “To the User: If you cannot speak English, do not use this product until the label has been fully explained to you.” If you can’t speak English it is a safe bet you cannot read the sentence telling what to do if you cannot speak English. This is like the signs saying Braille menus are available upon request, especially such signs at a drive through. Then I looked a bit closer. The flea medicine instruction guys did include the same statement in Spanish. You have to ask yourself why bother putting that warning instruction in English at all. If you can read English you don’t need the warning and if you can only read Spanish the warning in that language gets the job done. My guess is they put it in English so people prone to paranoia wouldn’t go down a rabbit hole of worry.
Interior dialogue of paranoid dog owner: I see there is a single sentence of Spanish in the instructions for giving my dog his flea treatment. Why is this and only this sentence in Spanish? Why aren’t they telling me what it says? Maybe it is only for Spanish language dogs. Wait just a dog gone minute. My dog is a Chihuahua. I might need to know what this is saying. Maybe these instructions aren’t the original instructions. Maybe these instructions were substituted by some evil doer and they changed one of the most important steps from English to Spanish just to wreck havoc on monolingual dog owners. Maybe this one instruction is the difference between being safe from fleas and actually attracting fleas from a five county radius straight to poor little Sparky. Somebody call the FDA. Somebody call the SPCA. Somebody call somebody who speaks Spanish. Somebody call for a pizza. All this panicking is making me hungry.
See what I mean? Just one odd little quirk in flea treatment instructions and you can spin it into an entertaining scenario of a dog owner with severe trust issues freaking out. This idea of taking something small and extrapolating it into a full entertainment is one of the things my family will do for fun as we sit around the living room. This is either a positive sign of togetherness or a pathetic sign of what happens when a family has no television.
The other afternoon my daughter, Alice, was very focused on the screen of her phone. This is not unusual in most households which contain a high school aged child. I made a joke about how if Lewis Carroll were writing today his Alice wouldn’t go through the looking glass to Wonderland but would by sucked through her smart phone. And we were off…
The White Rabbit would not be running around saying “I’m late! I’m late!” He would be scurrying about lamenting “They can’t hear me now! They can’t hear me now!” The Cheshire Cat wouldn’t vanish to the point where Alice could only see his teeth. He would slowly disappear until all she could see was his Bluetooth device. The Mad Hatter’s tea party would have them all communicating via Skype. The Queen of Hearts would not scream “Off with their heads!” She would threaten others with “Cut off their web access!” Tweedledum and Tweedledee would become Tweedletext and Tweedletweet.
This kind of one-upmanship story and joke making is fairly common when two or more of us congregate and it is one of the reasons I would gladly spend nearly all of my time in my house. I am truly blessed to find myself in a family I actually like, not just love because that is what you are supposed to do, but genuinely enjoy as human beings.
Remember how with many game shows there was a home version? Well, here is a starter for you and your family taking the mundane and creating fun riffs. Hanging with a group of festive family friendly piñatas is one made to look like a bottle of beer. Have at it…
Christopher Pyle invites you to share any Alice in Cell Phone Land or piñata jokes with him at firstname.lastname@example.org.