My work project is entering the final stretch, so long days and no blogging to speak of. But this morning, eating toast induced a Brain Bubble I thought worth recording, so here I am for a drive-by quickie, a blogging booty call.
You know how people like to say (usually in that annoying sing-song voice), “When you ‘assume’ you make an ‘ass’ of ‘u’ and ‘me’.” This is often in retaliation for someone having assumed something someone else found unwarranted.
To those people I’d just like to say, “Huh?”
It’s quite possible ‘U’ve made an ass of yourself by making some unwarranted assumption. (Everyone knows about your tendency to fly off the handle.) But leave ‘me’ out of it, okay? Me had nothing to do with it.
As is true in life, so it is true with assumptions: one ass per. And that would be ‘U’.
And while we’re on the subject of the letter ‘U’ and its identity crisis with ‘you’, I have another bone to pick. It involves any joke where the punchline is, “F.U.”
I believe the canonical version is from the Neil Simon play, The Odd Couple. Oscar Madison (the slob sportscaster) finds a note left on his pillow by Felix Ungar (the overly neat, fussy news writer). If memory serves, the line is, “We’re out of corn flakes. F.U.”
The audience always cracks up. Everyone gets the joke.
But what has always bothered me is that the ‘F’ is an initial, but the ‘U’ is a homophone. The joke that they stand for both ‘Felix Ungar’ and ‘fuck you’ is slightly spoiled for me due to the mismatch. (It helps that ‘F’ (‘eff’) is a frequent replacement for ‘fuck’ among people who are not comfortable with the actual word but are angry enough to want to express the idea behind it. ‘F.U.’ has long been an exclamation that stood in for its cruder cousin.)
If his name had been Felix Yastrzemski, the initials would have been logically correct. The problem is that it ruins the gag. “We’re out of corn flakes. F.Y.” doesn’t work. It’s not funny at all.
It’s a weird thing that the joke has to be slightly broken for it to work at all. There’s probably a metaphor for life there. Some things just don’t work when they’re logically correct—you need to get off the main path a little.
Sometimes only jazz riffs on life do the trick!