The Onion And Biker Joe

The Onion — America’s great humor newspaper — just can’t stay ahead of our zany Vice President, Joe Biden.

Ever since President Obama was elected, The Onion has been running stories lampooning the man who is a heartbeat away from the presidency as a kind of amiable, dim-witted Everyman.  Some of The Onion‘s classic headlines for these stories have included Joe Biden Shows Up To Inauguration With Ponytail, Joe Biden Introduces Trio Of Sexy Bodyguards, Biden Unveils New Health Initiative To Make U.S. Women Hotter, and, most recently, Joe Biden Hitchhikes To Democratic National Convention — among many others.  The articles feature absurd story lines and hilarious, obviously Photoshopped images.

But try as they might, The Onion just can’t match the antics of our real Veep.  This was demonstrated again today when the Associated Press carried a story about Joe Biden’s antics with a biker gal in the Cruisers Diner in Seaman, Ohio.  The accompanying photo shows a grinning Biden cozying up to the biker gal with his face right behind her ear.   On either side of the happy couple are two obviously irritated biker dudes who look like they would like nothing better than to punch Biker Joe’s lights out.

Do you think The Onion ever entertained the idea of an article called Joe Biden Gets Into Brawl Over Woman In Biker Bar but rejected it as too far-fetched?

The Curse Of Sports Cursing

I try to maintain a placid disposition.  Normally I succeed, at work and at home.  Introduce a sports disappointment to the mix, however, and you’re likely to hear me string together vile curses that would shame a longshoreman.

Consider yesterday’s Browns game, for example.  My conscious, rational brain knew, to a point of metaphysical certainty, that the Browns were going to lose that game in heart-breaking, last-minute fashion — because that’s just what the Browns do.  I thought I had prepared myself for the inevitable failure . . . but when Michael Vick threw a touchdown pass to put the Eagles ahead with about a minute to go, and the Browns responded by throwing a horrible, game-ending interception on the very next play from scrimmage, I felt the red rage boiling up inside, uncontrollable and undeniable.  I let loose with an embarrassing series of awful epithets that shook the rafters, caused the frightened dogs to flee the family room, and left Kish shaking her head in dismay.

Put a golf club in my hands, and you’re likely to see the same thing.  I’ll be playing along, accepting the many ugly shots and trying to focus on the fact that I’m outside on a lovely day with my friends and golf is just a game.  But let me hit the ball into the water on one of my nemesis holes, or have my fourth putt in a row lip out, and the fury flows forth in a torrent of obscenity that leaves my playing companions laughing helplessly — which just makes me even madder.

I’m 55 years old.  How can I still have these explosive outbursts about sports?  What incident in my past created this wrathful inner demon who is always ready to throw a mortifying, childish tantrum at the latest sports disappointment?  When I’m in my dotage, will I be alarming fellow residents at the old folks’ home when the Browns gag away another game?

Paint Job

Lately, as Kish has noted, we’ve been having some painting done at our house.  The experience has got me to thinking about work, and jobs.

Our painter has been doing a good job.  He shows up at the right time.  He is quiet, keeps to himself, and applies himself fully to the task at hand.  The quality of his work is high, and there have been no accidents or incidents, no drips or splots or runs.  In short, he has all of those intangible characteristics that separate a good worker from a bad one:  reliability, diligence, carefulness, and concern about quality. And, to cap it all off, he charges a fair price for his work.   We learned about this painter through word of mouth, and it’s no wonder that he came highly recommended.  It’s also not surprising that he is being kept busy.  It’s hard to find a capable, dependable, reasonably priced painter these days.

When you think about it, being a painter wouldn’t be a bad gig.  You work by yourself and set your own schedule.  You don’t have to supervise employees or pay rent for a storefront.  You might occasionally encounter an unreasonable or pesky customer, but for the most part people will appreciate your work and thank you for a job well done.  And your job can’t be outsourced; for so long as people live in houses, paint and painters will be needed.

So why don’t more people become painters, or carpenters, or electricians, or auto mechanics, or plumbers?  I’m not the only person who is asking that question.  Mike Rowe, who hosts the TV show Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel, has written to both President Obama and Mitt Romney about the shortage of skilled labor and the dismissal of careers in such occupations.  President Obama did not respond to the letter, which Rowe sent four years ago.  Romney at least has read it; now we’ll see whether he says or does anything about it.

Not everyone needs to go to college — and, in the process, incur tens of thousands of dollars of debt that will limit their life choices thereafter.  As we look at our national policy on education, we should consider the need for people in the skilled trades, stop acting like those jobs are somehow unworthy, and stop trying to convince people that they inevitably will be failures if they don’t go to college.