The Sarcasm Problem

I think it’s about time that we as a society address the fact that we have a problem.

As Abraham Lincoln once said, “a house divided against itself cannot stand.” It’s time for the two major groups in our great nation to get together and have some serious couple’s therapy. The problem is that the two halves are so different. While many believe that opposites attract, for some reason in this case they don’t. And it’s causing an incredible amount of strain in our dear, dear country.

Am I talking about politics? No, that’s ridiculous. Politics are unimportant. I’m talking about something that affects us every day. Something that plays into nearly every conversation I have. This problem I’m talking about, if not dealt with soon, could lead to more serious issues.

I’m talking about the Sarcasm Problem.

I belong to that half of the population that feeds off of and offers up their own healthy serving of sarcasm. Now I am a person who needs a certain amount of entertainment in my day-to-day life or else I go crazy. To me, talking about “real things” gets so incredibly boring – please don’t tell me the latest updates on whoever’s pregnant in Hollywood, who has or hasn’t broken up, your second-cousin-once-removed’s crazy night out, or Heaven forbid, the latest sports news. If you do choose to grip my shoulders and plunge me deep into these inane routes of conversation, I will have no choice but to respond with a sarcastic comment.

Sometimes this comment’s sarcasm will be so heavily veiled that you won’t get it. Often I’m stared at and given a head tilt, as if my present company is wondering if I really meant whatever I just said. One of my favorite recent interactions involves a boy in my class seeing me in one of my two Captain America T-shirts and asking me if I like Captain America. Having just rolled out of bed twenty minutes before and sprinted to campus from my apartment, I was breathing hard and not looking forward to the ensuing conversation (“Yeah I like Captain America!” “I prefer Iron Man – do you know his real name? I assume you don’t because you have boobs.”) so I responded, stone-faced, “No, I just wear it to be ironic.”

Maybe I come across as the kind of person who would wear a t-shirt simply to be ironic, because the guy just nodded slowly and looked back down at his book. I had no time – and honestly, no desire – to ensure that he understood that I, a college student living off of dry pasta and pre-packaged salad from Giant, was not about to purchase not one but two Captain America T-shirts and wear them just to be “ironic,” no matter how much I hate America and brave, handsome do-gooders.

To return swiftly to my point, half of the population doesn’t “get” sarcasm, and the other half treats it like a second language. I think it’s fairly clear that something needs to happen to either bridge this junction or tip it on one or the other’s favor. The question remains: Will we as a nation – as a culture – choose seriousness? Will we drive screaming away from amusement and stone-faced lies? Or will we stand up and say, “Look. This world is ridiculous. It’s going to hell in a nice little woven hand-basket and taking everything seriously is like tying a red ribbon of blood to the handle of the hand basket and saying, ‘Deliver this quickly into Satan’s lap! Hurry!’”

So here’s what I’m 100% advocating for, a way to truly Make America Great Again: we divide the country into two halves and build a big wall between people who get sarcasm and people who speak solely in blank expressions. Problems solved. All of them.

Photo credit via Flickr

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