01-04-2015 Journal – Wise Ass Appreciation Day   Leave a comment

I finally feel as if my entire life has been justified and validated.  I never thought it would happen but today was the day.  I stayed up late last night snuggling warmly on my favorite chair with my Kindle.  I’ve been on a reading binge of late but decided to switch from my normal detective novels to some non-fiction.  After a thorough search of the Kindle Store I was able to download a number of books and essays that caught my eye.

Just for background purposes you should know that many many times in my life I’ve been accused of being a ‘wise ass’.  For me it stopped being something derogatory when I was still in junior high school.  It became a badge of honor at that point and I set out to be the best ‘wise ass’ I could be. It’s good to have goals, don’t you know.

I’ve always enjoyed the company of other ‘wise asses’ because we understand each other.  We all seem to be quick witted and able to crack wise at a moments notice.  It’s not as easy and glamorous as it sounds.  It takes years of hard work and dedication just to get to the level where your recognized by others after just a few minutes of conversation. 

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Samuel Clemens aka Mark Twain

I also enjoyed reading as a teenager and I became hooked on anything written by Mark Twain. It became obvious very quickly that while Mark Twain could spin a tale like nobody’s business his alter ego, Samuel Clemens, was the ultimate sarcastic wise ass.  The more sarcastic and glib he became the more in demand he was.  Last night I began reading his essay on "The Decay of the Art of Lying" and it took just a few paragraphs for me to realize that I needed to give more thought to lying in general and really good lying in particular. This quote stood out in just the first paragraph:

"No high-minded man, no man of right feeling, can contemplate the lumbering and slovenly lying of the present day without grieving to see a noble art so prostituted."

Another favorite ‘wise ass’ of mine was Will Rogers. Although he died in a plane crash in Alaska in 1935 much of his writings and quotations can be found everywhere. He was the leading political wit of the Progressive Era, and was a top-paid Hollywood movie star at the same time.  He was another ‘wise ass’ who made it big before his untimely death. His good-old-boy approach to ridicule and humor made him funny, well liked, with a sarcasm that was dripping with honey.  He was the sort who could take you to task for something stupid you’ve done and have you laughing at yourself as he left the room.

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It’s a real shame that both of these ‘wise asses’ weren’t able to live long enough to see how our current political figures of both parties have proudly carried the art form of lying to new heights.

I’ve always been good at spinning a yarn to avoid lying but maybe I should have just blurted out the truth.  Clemens stated rather emphatically that everyone lies.  Whether it’s a little white lie or a lie of omission, it’s still a lie. We are a nation of liars.  I honestly believe I prefer things the way they are because telling the absolute truth regardless of the consequences can get nasty and unfriendly very quickly.  It makes the age old question "Does my ass look too big in this dress?" a life threatening situation.  No thank you.  Here’s one last quote from Clemens to support my position:

"None of us could live with an habitual truth-teller, but thank goodness none of us have to. A habitual truth-teller is an impossible creature; he does not exist; he never has existed. Everybody lies-every day; every hour; asleep; in his dreams; in his joy; in his mourning; if he keeps his tongue still, his hands, his feet, his eyes, his attitude, will convey deception-and purposely."

I’m an even bigger fan of Samuel Clemens and Will Rogers that I was previously.  It’s nice to see a few sarcastic ‘wise asses’ make the big time. I just wanted to take the time to acknowledge them with this self-created Wise Ass Appreciation Day. Thankfully for all of us their works will live on forever.

Wise Asses – 2

The Rest of the World – 0

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