“T’aint funny, McGee!”

So after my last posting here, I was reminded that I started this new blog to be different from my old blog, which has an even less common name, Sumnonrabidus, which is my attempt at the Latin for “I am not crazy” all run together into one ridiculous word.

Fibber McGee and Molly

Fibber McGee and Molly

This blog is supposed to be humorous. Funny stuff about getting to be an old man.

OK. When I was told that, my first thought was, “T’aint funny, McGee.” Now that thought came out of left field. (Hey, Grant and Martha, why do we say “Out of” left field when obviously the ball goes “Out into” left field?)

For you old folks (that is, those of you 69 or older—next year, of course, the old folks will be those 70 and older, if you get my drift), that is hardly a term out of left field. You know as well as I do that it’s Molly responding to one of Fibber McGee’s really awful jokes.

Fibber McGee and Molly are prehistoric creatures whose habitat was a strange place called radio. Not radio like you youngsters know it, but a place where real people lived and worked and talked to each other and mainly were really really really funny (making real humor) together. People like Our Miss Brooks, and Amos ‘n Andy, and The Great Gildersleeve, and Jack Benny. Radio in those days was not filled with Big Fat Liars like Rush Limbaugh, but with people who were genuinely funny and entertaining, not just stupid and mean and didn’t care whether what they said was true or not.

What they said most certainly was true. Even if none of it ever happened except in the marvelous imaginary land of radio. I don’t think you young’uns have any idea about using your imaginations to create a world. You’ve got all these gadgets and electronic games and . . .  (don’t get me started!).

Nate's House (really!)

Nate’s House (really!)

One of the great gags of all time (before the ubiquitous use of television and then iPads, and soon god-knows-what to entertain everyone without ever having to imagine what’s going on) was Fibber McGee’s closet. Fibber (another running gag was that he refused to tell anyone his real name) and Molly were a typical (Yeah, right!) American middle-class family trying to make a go of things in the modern world. And Fibber had this closet – Fibber McGee’s Closet – where everything that he wasn’t using right at any given moment was kept. And he kept saying he had to “straighten out this closet one of these days.” The gag isn’t nearly as good if you see it as it was when we had to think it up for ourselves so everyone had her own version of the closet.

Now most of you will not think my version of Fibber McGee’s Closet is funny. You’ll want to send me right off to Nate Berkus or someone (Oh, please, send me right off to Nate Berkus [shudder with delight]) for a makeover. Or you’ll want me to be seeing Dr. Mary Bret at UTSouthwestern/ Parkland geriatric psychiatry (she really is my psychiatrist) on a daily basis for a while. Because anyone whose “closet” looks like mine can’t possibly be sane. Or at least must have a really cluttered mind.

Guilty as charged.

And I have one word for that (actually two, obviously): Fuck it.

I know. I know. I don’t want my office/ computer room/ cat’s bedroom/ whatever this corner of my loft apartment is to look like this. I genuinely do wish that somewhere along the line I had become one of those people (like most of you) who didn’t live in a cluttered space both inwardly and outwardly. It would be really nice to be normal and to understand how one fits into society—into some manifestation of society.

But I can’t. Period. It’s been my Sisyphistic struggle all my life. I know that being a regular human being requires tidiness. But, as Camus summed it all up, “The struggle itself . . . is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

My own version of Fibber McGee's closet - not imaginary.

My own version of Fibber McGee’s closet – not imaginary.

OK, this is supposed to be funny. “Me, senescent” with humor and all of that. But I just don’t get it. I don’t know how to manage my time or always be sure where my keys are. I’m picking up a replacement passport this very afternoon because my unexpired one is somewhere in Fibber McGee’s closet.

And you know what? All of you people who are “organized” and “tidy” and “get it” and have been with Nate Berkus will be in exactly the same state I’m in when we “shuffle off this mortal coil.” I will have the last laugh. “Tis funny, McGee!”

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