After being on this planet for 9/10ths of a century, I’ve finally realized I’m just as important as the next guy. It took so long because I was brainwashed very early in life.
As an orphanage kid from age six to 17, absolute obedience to elders was constantly hammered into my naive little head. At age 18, one of the first orders barked at me in Navy boot camp was: If it moves, salute it. If it doesn’t move, paint it. This included officers and everyone else who wore at least one more sleeve stripe than I did.
Through the growing-up and Navy years, I blindly feared and revered teachers, clergy, cops, generals, admirals, royalty and politicians. Also included on my worship list were various other noble beings, such as bosses, who were far superior to unimportant me.
I’ve long since dumped all that baggage and can now laugh about it. Movie humor genius Mel Brooks once said, “Life literally abounds in comedy if you just look around you.” Today, in my very advanced old age, I fully agree with him. Our barnyard pecking order is a human laugh factory.
During the many years since my early indoctrination, I eventually realized that even the greatest presidents, priests and pop stars are as weakly human as I. And to my surprise, also need to go to the toilet several times a day. I’m no longer shocked at what happens to squeaky-pure clergy and politicians when their private lives and privates are exposed?
My personal history includes toiling as a business conference planner for more than a quarter of a century. During those years, I gradually lost all respect for grossly overpaid and overrated executives. I had to deal with them when I planned and produced major awards conferences throughout the U.S., Canada and Caribbean.
I wrote scripts and continuity for events presented in hotel auditoriums and theaters. My work included motivational speeches for executives to deliver to large audiences of employees and families. The executives merely had to read the 15- to 30-minute scripts and make them sound authentic.
A few intelligent and sober ones did exactly that, and I could feel pride in my creative accomplishments. However, too many, neither intelligent nor sober, stumbled and mumbled through my inspiring words.
Worst of all, that they were paid 10 or more times my salary still angers the hell out of me. I can try to laugh about it now, but the memories come back when I see even more insane pay doled out to some of the world’s most undeserving schmucks.
They include incompetent CEOs, crooked politicians (are there any other kind?), arrogant pro athletes, hammy actors, foul-mouthed musical howlers and many, many others. My biggest and most bitter laugh is for military brass.
They’re pompous, overpaid old guys all gussied up in silly uniforms. They wear chests full of medals earned by ordering clueless young guys to go kill or get killed by other clueless young guys.
As an old Navy guy who served in two long-ago wars, I can laugh about it now. Crying would only water down the bright moments of my sunset years. Finally, each of us must face the inevitable. So, while we’re still alive, we should get as much fun as possible out of it. Go for the laughs while doing your all-too-brief stand-up routine.
Willie Shakespeare summed it up perfectly:
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,