Not All Your Good Ideas Work Out, Ass Pennies Edition
That happens to me all the time when I’m working on the blog, except for the “great” part.
If you flip back through the archives you’ll notice that the majority of MA101 posts are based around some sort of inconsistency or disconnect in perceptions: we’re upset when the Navy kills dolphins even though their job involves killing people, showing off how smart you are by reminding people that we really became independent on the 2nd of July just shows off your ignorance, and so on.
A good chunk of the content here could be boiled down to that one-sentence summary of contradiction. (But it’s funnier when I draw it out, I swear.) So I keep an eye out for entertaining little quirks of modern life that can be expanded into a tiny made-you-think moment.
Trouble is, sometimes they don’t work.
Case in point: a while back I did some writing on body language and non-verbal communication. There’s a lot of pop-sciency books on it out there, more heavy on the pop than on the science, and most of them are marketed toward business-and-finance types. After a while of that (and it helped that I was also working at the state capitol at the time) you start to notice the occasional person who’s always in the “dominant male” sorts of posture, always gives the “upper hand” handshake that forces your palm to turn up; always positions his chair so that people are looking at him.
(There’s probably the occasional woman doing their equivalent, but all the books I slogged through were male-specific, and most people still have sharply gendered takes on body language. So I missed any lady-signals.)
The humor in it is that as soon as you’ve read a couple of those mostly-bullshit books you can see when other people are doing it. It’s not like they’re subtle cues. You have to move a touch unnaturally to always be Mr. Alpha Male.
So that got me to thinking about that old ass pennies sketch from the late 90s. You remember that one? It was about a businessman who spent pennies that had been in his ass for confidence, so that when he met other execs he knew that they’d handled something from his ass and he’d never touched anything from theirs. Crude premise, great sketch:
Trouble was, I’d remembered it wrong. I wanted to unpack (no pun intended) the problem with the theory, thinking in my head that it was about inserting rolls of pennies into your ass. The problem with that strategy is obvious with a moment’s thought: only the top and bottom pennies on the roll are actually touching the insides of your ass, with the rest sheltered by the wrapper. And two cents of ass pennies for fifty cents of anal discomfort just seems like a bad trade.
Turns out he never mentions rolls in the sketch. In fact he specifically says “one at a time, of course.” So there goes my premise.
I suppose I could take apart the math behind $30 in pennies per day and what those 3,000 insertions would do to your anus (to say nothing of how many you’d lose further up your digestive tract), but at that point it’s just nit-picking. Exaggeration is part of comedy; literalists are not fun to go to sketch shows with. You have to let the $30 pennies in your asshole kind of jokes slide.
So anyway, great (or at least vaguely useful for the blog) ideas that sometimes don’t work out. Kind of makes you want to just run the stories and not do the research, doesn’t it?
And thus was the tabloid press born, I suppose. I was born too late.