With Continual Reference to Justin Kahn.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Birthday Wishes/Reflections for Concept of Irony (Note: This is the printable version.)

Tomorrow, as you already know unless you are crazy or wicked, Concept of Irony turns the big 1. As you also know I too have a birthday coming up in two months. As I have thought about my own mortality, that I won't be around forever, I thought about how my little Concept of Irony is just beginning to make its way into the world. Like Sophocles nearing the end of his life and writing "Oedipus at Colonus", so I too would like to gather my powers and contemplate the mysteries of the beginning and end of life.

This Sophoclean/Herculean task is why today's post is a smidge longer than usual. If you don't read it, then who needs you.

Wait! I hope you are not turned off by my pseudo-egotism. I really, really want you to read my ponderous post. Even if you don't, it is totally fine with me. But creative wise I felt like maybe a few more lines would be right on this day. Not because I want to keep you from reading it or that if you don't read my post than I don't want to be friends anymore. Because I want to be friends!

Honestly, I was kind of hoping that you would think I am a bold and fearless artist who must speak and speak and speak even in spite of the risk of turning off my fans, because that is just how bold and fearless I am.

If I thought that being aggressive would turn you off I wouldn't have said anything. I just would have said,

Tomorrow Concept of Irony Turns One. And you are all invited to his birthday party.

I mean the whole mock self-importance thing worked for Dave Egger's In A Heart Breaking Work of Staggering Genius. But exaggerated self-importance is so not me. I am about speaking plainly and honestly about life. If you couldn't see that I was slightly swerving from my usual straight talk to spice things up with bold rhetoric, then I am sorry. Really, really sorry.

When I was a kid my Mom said,"You should be a comedian. She meant it sincerely. Not in the everybody is a comedian way.

"But I don't know any jokes," I said.

"Just tell people about your life" she said. "They'll laugh."

I mean, I think to myself, "I don't feel like I'm old enough to have a one year old blog. But there he is. The girl blogs are going to go crazy for him." And while COI is a source of endless pride, I know that there are going to be tough times ahead.

I don't want people to laugh at him no matter how succesfully it would make him in the blogosphere.

I say to COI: No, My son, if jokes are going to be told at anyone's expense it should be at mine. Things are winding down for me, but things are just beginning for you. If someone has to be the butt of a joke, let it be me.

After putting COI to bed for the evening, his craddle in sleep mode, I think about how he tries so hard to be serious. I pray that he turns out to be a comedy, and not a tragedy. Even if it is a comedy about me.


Will Dr. House cure his limp? The answer is of course no. Anyone, who has read Jung knows that a genius doctor will never be able to cure himself. Yoda masters the force but still needs a cane. Sherlock Holmes can solve any mystery but can't beat his cocaine addiction. Everyone great is limited only by themselves.

One of these days COI is going to want a little more substance. Enough with the references to Kitchen Appliances, my lil' slugger will say. Life is too short to spend it making jokes all the time.

I have thought long and hard about the tragic flaw that I will put into Concept of Irony.

What if instead of allowing COI to poke fun of me, I allowed him to reveal one of my flaws? What weakness could I give myself? Perhaps an ailment that would create sympathy for me? And maybe even encourage a little bit of tolerance for me when I make mistakes? Something that would make my really impressive accomplishments seem really, really, really, really impressive.

I've come up with it.

And I will reveal it. Soon. After a little more reminiscing. Cut me some slack. I have one foot in the grave and my lil' Slugger is turning one. These are emotionally turbulent times.

I want COI's birthday party to rock. Let me tell you what that means to me.

According to my internet research I must have been 9 years old when I saw U2's "Where the Streets Have No Name" video on MTV. I distinctly remember the first time I saw it, because in the video U2 gives a rooftop performance and the screen cuts to police officers who are obviously concerned about the legality and public safety issues involved in a bunch of Rock Stars putting on an impromptu rooftop concert.

As a c. 9 year old I felt like this was a volatile situation. I felt no differently than if I was watching the news. I felt U2 were outlaws, practically tearing down all that holds society together.


I promised I would reveal the secret ailment, which even my incredible powers can't overcome: I'm colorblind! That's right, despite my incredible powers of observation, I am unable to see the full spectrum of colors. See the irony?

Don't you relate to me at a more human level?

Haven't I become more of a brother to you? Unless you are Lisa. Then don't you feel bad for giving me a hard time. I've been colorblind all these years!

Now the whole world knows my terrible, tragic secret. And no more am I simply the butt of jokes. I am a symbol of suffering. I am something for COI to be serious about.

Soon, I saw the U2 video again, and I understood it was artifice. I knew it was rebelliousness staged and the rebeliousness of the boys from Dublin was no different then what David Copperfield did.

I wanted to be a rock star. I wanted to put on roof top concerts and persuade other people that I was a rebel, doing exactly as I pleased.

COI's Birthday party is going to rock! And you are all invited!

At the door to my penthouse is a copy of a cartoon from the New Yorker. It is from leaner times, when I couldn't afford to buy original art work. It pictures a man dressed for work, standing at the door with briefcase in hand, saying to his wife, "Wait a minute. Where I am going? I'm a writer."

I have no idea why anyone would think this is funny. But it is a reminder that no matter how stupid you are you can get stuff published in the New Yorker. And that is a nice thought to have.

Sometimes, I think about the life I would live as New Yorker Author. I would be liked and respected and well-paid.

It would all be artifice, but still I would try to assure the police officers that everything was going to be O.K.

I feel a little guilty thinking about that just before COI turns One.

These days, people often presume to tell me what sort of person I will become. They don't tell me that I won't meet many eligible girls in my home office or that I won't meet many peers if you go to bed early so as to awake at 5:00. They tell me that I will soon become the crazy old man that kids on the street are afraid of.

I don't know why they feel free to share their unsolicited opinions with me. Could it be because I'm color blind? Probably.

I smile and nod sending the message that I know that there is some truth in it, and oh my how I'm a little embarrassed that they've uncovered such a personal secret. Maybe I comment that they have the powers of Sherlock Holmes or at least his Cocaine problem.

But always there is an awkward pause and then I go get the framed New Yorker cartoon. The one with the caption "Wait a minute. Where am I going? I'm a writer"

And then I beat my interlocutor to a bloody pulp with it.

I feel better and thankfully my lawyers can pull the "He Meant it as a Metaphor" defense in their sleep.

In fact I believe that the last time I saw one of them give that defense I think he might have been asleep.

Larry better hope I never find a New Yorker cartoon about lawyers and frame it.

I'm never going to tell Lil' Killer what he is going to be when he grows up.

There are a number of things I was going to continue on about, but I have to make a dash for the door.

I've got me some professoring to do.

Hope to see you at the COI Birthday Bash.

And if for some unholy reason you can't make it to the COI Birthday Bash, I hope to see you Monday.

I'm sure Spanky will handle the terrible two's with the grace that was seen in his character during year one. But it would be easier if you were there to help.

If you were thinking of abandoning my blog, DON'T! Remember, it takes a Village to Raise a Blog.

Don't leave me and my lil' Champ. We won't make it on our own. You can't leave. I'M COLOR BLIND!


part-time buddha said...

coi: Congrats little fella!

part-time buddha said...

justin: sometimes I think your posts are just odd. other times I think your posts are too funny to handle.

and then there are times like this in which I wish you would simply admit that you are, in fact, Dave Eggers.

it is coincidence that coi's birthday and ptb's birthday fall in the same week? i don't think so.

would you say no to an invitation to celebrate? more on that later.

audrey said...

coi: thank you for making my life easier. my shooting schedule, not to mention that self-involved Tom Hanks, often keep me away from justin. but you, little fella, always make me feel that he's right here with me.

without you, I might have left justin. again.

toph said...

Dave? Is that you?

Pepper Medley said...

Dear Dave Eggers,

I liked your book. You make Justin look like a big not good user of words, which in turn, makes William Safire look like a great big not good user of words. Well done!

Dear Justin,

I'm sorry to hear you're color blind, but it does explain your technical mastery of photoshop.

QuillDancer said...

"I don't want people to laugh at him no matter how succesfully it would make him in the blogosphere."

Justin, I would never dream of laughing at COI. And I will now take you much more seriously, too. I can't imagine being colorblind and adverbally challenged. How you must suffer!

COI said...

p t b:

c o i.

Justin said...

p t b,
Then I shall wait until later. But I must confess that I am honestly working seven days a week. 4 days of which are a non-negotiable 8:30-4:30 day.

What with it being COI's birthday, it kind of makes me think of that Casts in the Craddle song.

j d k.

COI said...


c o i

Justin said...

pepper: How your words cut to my wordificating heart. I would lash out you but my color blindness leaves me totally unable to organize a military type response.


Justin said...

Quilly, I was totally going to modificate the adverbs, but what happened is all of the sudden these weird symbols started appearing in the post, and I had to devote myself to removing those rather then crossing all my adverbs, so to speak. I apologize for any inconvenience but at least you can tell the difference between yellow and white. Where as I can't! Totally color blind!


Justin said...

toph--Honest. My middle name is david. jdk

Comrade Kevin said...

I admit I sorta drifted out of reading this long post somewhere between Sophocles and nearing. I started thinking about how I was such a member of the MTV generation and how people must make their point in 30 seconds or less else I move on to some other topic.

Then I started thinking about how lame MTV is these days and remember the early goofy days when they played nothing but videos. Then I remembered that they just had the MTV video awards a couple weeks ago hosted by Jack Black. That seems sorta sad and pathetic because there's only 6 music videos made every year and one always involves the Star Wars kid.

Thinking of Jack Black reminded me how someone told me the other day that they are 'so over' that guy. That he was so 2003. Past his prime just like the awards show he hosted. I thought that was kinda sad because he seems like a nice guy and was very funny in that School of Rock movie.

Then I thought about how cool it would be to win the 157 million lotto jackpot on Saturday.

Umm, where was I? Well, I forgot, but anyway. Happy Birthday COI!

Justin said...

Mr. K:
So true about the 30 secondt thing.



Vagina Dentata said...

"Thou hast come to a steed-famed land for rest,
O stranger worn with toil,
To a land of all lands the goodliest COI's glistening soil."

Build it, and they will come!

Pepper Medley said...

Dear Justin,

It was never my intention to wound any part of your wordificating anatomy.

That, it turns out, is just a bonus.

Even without color recognition, you're still a mad genius in my book!

Marisa said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY COI!!!!! My how you've grown. Looking forward to the birthday bash!! PTB Happy Belated BIRTHDAY !!!

Rachel said...

Justin K. I enjoyed reading this. You are a blogging, comedic genius.

QuillDancer said...

Justin, then I guess there is no point in suggesting you not eat yellow snow ....

QuillDancer said...

Today being COI's birthday, I came back for the party. I brought champaigne (non-alcoholic for Justin's baby, real stuff for us) and this gorgeous cake -- and no one is here. Fine then. Consuming this would be so much easier if I could share, but I am certain I will somehow manage

goldennib said...

COI: Happy Birthday.

Justin: I am so sorry I ever made fun of you. Color Blindness is such a tragic defect. I am crying for you.

Pepper Medley said...

Happy Birthday COI!

I would sing, but I think there's an echo in here.

Happy Birthday, anyway!

Zeppellina said...

Honestly, I think you are a bold and fearless artist who must speak and speak and speak even in spite of the risk of turning off your fans, because that is just how bold and fearless you are.....

Good blog...good post....!!


Guy said...

Jokes are dreadful. Amusing remarks are the thing. I have made two. One was in the early 1970s in a cinema in Arbroath. We were seeing Mon Oncle and I said "if you have ever done anything of which you are ashamed regard this as punishment". Poor old Jaques Tatti just was not funny in the Space Age. My remark was well received by my late brother-in-law, dear chap. The other one I suddenly realise I cannot remember. That is devastating. Oh yes! I have it! It was in the late 1960s in the Newmarket pub in Plymouth. A guy asked me if I had an electric razor under the bar, as I pulled his pint of bitter. He had forgotten to shave. "We don't even have a blow-torch" I replied. He liked the remark. In both cases I was serious. I wonder if I will ever make another amusing remark? It would be nice before I die. cyquick.wordpress.com Fuck me this bastard blog has a fucking load of crap to fuck about with before I can submit me fucking comment. Fuck that!

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