College English professors shuffle the greater influx of language into two distinct categories: what is said and what is meant. That is, what the greater number of these tenure-track sweater vests may define as ‘denotation’ and ‘connotation’ when restricted to single word or phrase, or those thinly disguised political allegories that has kept Orwell’s Animal Farm for years from the hands of Disney’s animators.
“No duh,” the kids say.
Frankly, plain honest integrity is a relic of the storybooks. Most conversations require translators, word-sherpas to cut a path through the various layers of polite or veiled rhetorical BS. Advertisers spin half-truths; politicians conceive full-lies; one girl I dated in college doubted everything but her religion: God exists here on Earth, dwelling in the body of one, David Matthews. Don’t drink the water, indeed.
The only saving grace for our species lies in the unilateral agreement among peoples of all races to never say what they mean. As such, our honesty depends entirely upon the propagation of lies. The sweater-vests would call that ‘situational irony.’
Thus, for a moment, let us peel back the curtain, shall we? Take a look at the truth behind the words for a change:
Ryan’s girlfriend, Mary, visited the house last Saturday. The rest of the family had already left to the kalee, a month meeting of Irish dancers established by the state Hiberian Society — lovers of all things Irish. Every month Mom, Dad and the kids visit a local lodge or Knights of Columbus hall to dance, cavort, and play cards until the music gives out or the ladies grow tired. It’s all good family fun, so of course I try to avoid it like the slug shuns sodium. Shannon and I sat downstairs engaged in a FIFA 2009 match on the Xbox, when Ryan shouted that he and Mary were leaving for the dance.
“Ryan, make sure bring home you know what!” Shannon shouted back up, scoring another goal on me. In the background, Mary tutted. “Mary, I know you’re thinking that I’m talking about alcohol, but I assure you that drinking is the devil’s brew! If you booze, ya lose!” He’s talking about alcohol.
“Riiiight . . .” Mary muttered in the kitchen. She suspicious but clearly has no idea.
“Oh and Ryan!” Shannon screamed again. “Make sure you get the dark stuff!” He’s talking about Guiness.
“Are you talking about porn?” Mary retorted quickly after. I . . . I have no idea what she’s thinking here.
Shannon and I burst out laughing. Fade to black.