Wednesday, June 18, 2014

10,000 maniacs (and Paul)

Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. — Gilda Radner

I LAUGH at myself a lot. If there's a way to misunderstand or misconstrue a headline or something someone says, I'm there!! I am definitely Emily Litella through and through. 

It happens on too regular a basis for me to keep track of examples, but here's one I happen to remember because it was so completely ridiculous, but sad to say, entirely typical. It was years back while I was staying in California for two months. I was riding in the car with friends, when one of them mentioned having seen a guy walking along the highway with a muffler on his neck a few days earlier.

I probably don't have to spell out the punchline. Yup, I said, "Well, what happened? Did his car break down or something?"

Honestly, I'm really not a stupid person; I just don't necessarily always connect the dots in the right order. 

But c'mon' there's a certain logic to my illogic. There is. Really.

In the first place, I was in California which, no matter what month of the year it is, equals balmy weather in the mind of a person from Iowa, so I wasn't thinking "warm, fuzzy scarf." 

Secondly, the guy was "walking along the highway" which made me think "car" because California freeways are bumper to bumper with them. So I put two and two together and got seven. I visualized some poor guy who'd had the muffler fall off his car, walking down the highway carrying it, and since I have little idea what a car muffler actually looks like, it was easy for me to imagine that maybe it has hoses or something that would make it reasonable to support and carry it on his neck and shoulders.

One year I was a poll watcher for an election. One of my duties was to read people's hand-written names and cross check them with a printed list. Granted, people's writing can be awful, but it wasn't so much that I couldn't read the names as the spectacularly improbable conclusions I came up with.

I'd get a slip with someone's name written poorly and say, "I think it's Jobson." 

Fortunately there were two of us. 

"No, they've just mushed the h and n together. It's Johnson," corrected my co-worker. 

"Oh yeah. I see it now." 

Over and over again I arrived at the most improbable assumption. 

I also often get wild ideas from headlines because I inadvertently put the emPHAsis on the wrong word, or I mentally insert a comma or leave one out.

The supremely talented Gilda Radner as Emily Litella.

But what I'm wondering is: is it a communicable affliction?

Paul got a a text message from a promoter on Monday asking him if he wanted to play in a horn line at the Art Festival for 10,000 maniacs. 

He considered it for five or so minutes, and muttered to me, "I hope the Art Festival is a success and all, but there's no way they're going draw a crowd of 10,000 for a concert. That's just unrealistic." 

Then it dawned on him, "Oh wait, he means the group 10,000 Maniacs! Yes! Yes, I want to play with 10,000 Maniacs."

Never mind.

The concert is the Friday night, June 27. He's excited.

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