I’ll start today by noting that my next Monday column will be a little delayed; I’m going down to a Gulf beach town to hang out with one of the cousins again this weekend, and I won’t get home until late Sunday or Monday.
Sadly, my awesome wife won’t be along, because she’s got a master gardener class on Saturday. She’s taken up hydroponic gardening with some gear that I dutifully got her for Christmas, and the results have been amazing. We’ve already had several salads from her plants, and their growth rate suggests that “hydroponic” might be Latin for “raising food with cocaine or animal growth hormone rather than soil.”
Now that I think about it, I’ve got a ton of energy lately, and my coat has never been more shiny or lustrous! So I’m going to look into that.
In the meantime, our wacky culture and politics has firehosed a bunch of new stories of ridiculous weirdos at us, so I’m going to pick a few to comment on.
First, in my recurring “Find A Mirror!” series, this week’s entry comes to us via a would-be Olympic athlete named Sha’Carri Richardson. Her trouble is totally unrelated to the silly apostrophe in her name, even though it does violate one of the well-known rules found in wisdom literature the world over.
(Don’t get into a land war in Asia. Never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line. Don’t invest with a leftist weirdo like Sam Bankman-Fried. Never use an apostrophe in your first name. Etc.)
The last time we saw Sha’Carri, she was getting tossed off the US Olympic team for smoking weed shortly before the Tokyo Olympics in 2021. Rather than, you know, preparing for the Olympics WITHOUT smoking weed. Which sounds just crazy enough to work!
Full disclosure: I can’t say that I ever saw her in any Olympic stories or coverage, because football is not in the Olympics, while many goofy sports are.
(Although there is that one cool sport where people ski around with rifles on their backs, and then stop and shoot things, and then ski some more. Ever since the Finns cleaned up in that event in the 1930s, and then punched above their weight against the Russians in the Winter War, I’ve got a soft spot for that event.)
(Okay, I just looked it up, and it’s called the “biathlon.” Which is what I’ve been mistakenly calling Bruce Jenner for the last several years. Boy, is my face red!)
Where was I? Oh yeah.
If you search Richardson’s name online you’ll find a lot of pictures of her during various races and workouts (between bouts of weed smoking, presumably), and you may notice that her hair was often either orange or yellow.
I only mention this because I am deeply offended by cultural appropriation, and unless there is a Skaarsgard or Hrothgarsdottir in her family tree, she should be ashamed of herself. (Yes, I’ll say it: she’s the Lizzie Warren of pot-smoking, non-Scandinavian sprinters.) (#wemustneverstopmockingher)
But Richardson’s latest problem has nothing to do with her vestigial apostrophe, or her racially offensive hair color. It all stems from her advanced case of NUSS (Narcissistic Un-self-aware Snowflake Syndrome), which went from dormant to active on an American Airlines flight on Saturday.
I know what you’re thinking, and let me stop you right there: Obviously, I normally wouldn’t be able to diagnose a stage-four NUSS case without spending some in-person clinical time with the patient.
But in this case, Richardson recorded herself throughout the incident, in the delusional belief that she was 100% correct, and that everyone who viewed her video would naturally side with her. (That belief is actually one of the 7 recognized symptoms of NUSS that you’ll find in the DSM 5. You can look it up.)
Anyway, our video opens with Richardson making a selfie video on the plane, as the recorded message saying,“turn off personal electronics” is playing. (Classic NUSS-ster move!) A passing male flight attendant reminds her to turn off her phone in preparation for take-off, and she immediately NUSSes out on him:
“I’m recording me, but you jumped in my video, so I caught you because you jumped in my video. You’re harassing me at this point, so I think you should stop.”
Over the next ten minutes she escalates, getting louder and more profane as other passengers make it clear that they don’t agree that she’s the fixed point around which the entire solar system revolves.
She also gestures dramatically with her boxcutter-length fake fingernails (NUSS Symptom 4), and compulsively flutters her small-badger-sized false eyelashes (Symptom 5).
When the captain finally gets involved and orders her off the flight, her first question is, “Is [the flight attendant] going to be removed off the plane as well?” Then she asks if the captain can come to her seat so that she can make him “understand the situation.” (Symptom 2) She also insists that the flight attendant is at fault because he “invaded [her] privacy” by intruding on her video. (Symptom 3)
Also, she informs one of her fellow passengers that, “I’m still a superstar, and you’re a regular person.” (Symptom 1: NUSS Symptom Bingo!)
As she finally leaves the plane, many passengers applaud.
Now generally, receiving applause creates one of life’s most enjoyable moments.
For example, during my career as a professor, I would often receive rounds of applause, and not just because my funny and thought-provoking lectures weren’t forcing anyone to miss a connecting flight to Dallas. And even when my students would hoist me on their shoulders and carry me out of the classroom chanting, “Simp-son, Simp-son!” they weren’t applauding the fact that I was leaving the building.
Sure, maybe those tales are slightly exaggerated, or maybe in some cases – technically speaking – “imaginary.”
And maybe some of the polite applause I often received had something to do with the fact that I had total power over my students’ grades, so they were like Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.
(And that’s how you score in the category of “Puritan Sermon References” on Jeopardy, people.)
Still, it is a major red flag when you meet several hundred people for the first time, and 11 minutes later they are cheering as you are forcibly driven from among them.
Therefore, Sha’Carri Richardson, you need to…
Find a Mirror!
Okay, so I spent a little more time than I planned on Sha’Carri. So I’ll just touch on two more subjects.
1. When I used to stress the importance of grammar to my students, I cited the example that there is only one punctuation mark separating a Norman Rockwell painting – “Let’s eat, Grandma! – from a Grimm’s Fairy Tale – “Let’s eat Grandma!”
If I were still teaching today, I’d now have a better example:
When Karine Jean-Pierre continually says, “Biden takes classified documents seriously!” she is very close to the truth.
Which is, “Biden takes classified documents. Seriously!”
2. Another great story this week involved human Ken-doll Gavin Newsom walking down a CA street talking to a reporter about guns. Of course, Newsom is against them, and the Monterey Park shooting gave him the occasion to bloviate that “the 2nd amendment shouldn’t be a suicide pact!”
(Huzzah! Someone had to bravely confront the powerful “We want a suicide pact!” lobby, and ol’ Gavin was just the Empty Haircut for the job!)
I couldn’t help but laugh at his ability to pivot instantly (the lowly earthworm has nothing on Gav when it comes to spinelessness) when the reporter reminded him that many Americans “support the 2nd Amendment and are lawful gun owners.”
Newsom’s immediate response, before the reporter could even finish her sentence: “I, I, support… have great respect for… no ideological opposition to someone reasonably, responsibly owning firearms.”
Got that? Newsom supports and has great respect and no ideological opposition to those of you who bitterly cling to your suicide pact of wanting some means of self-defense. So vote for him!
I also got a kick out of the way that the national Dems jumped the gun (so to speak) to cite the Monterey Park shooting as yet another example of white supremacist gun violence. Because it shortly came out that the shooter was named Thurston Howell the Third.
Check and mate, racist defenders of white privilege!
Oh no, wait. The shooter in that case was a pasty Boston Brahmin named Huu Can Tran.
Also, the shooter in one of the other two mass shootings this week in Cali was an old pale Mainer (ayuh!) named Chunli Zhao. (Yes: of the Bangor Zhaos. You’ll find many of his ancestors in the old Revolutionary War cemeteries dotted about New England.)
The killer or killers in the third CA shooting have not yet been identified, but their victims have names like Eladio, Marcos, Rosa and Elyssa, and the murders have been described as “cartel-like.”
So obviously, there should be an APB out for Tilda Swinton and Edgar Winter.
But the best part of Gavin’s big adventure was the visual of him walking along in public, in his short sleeves, totally unarmed, putting his money where his mouth is by providing a brave example that nobody in California needs to carry a gun.
Except that if you look very, very closely, you might notice a subtle detail in the background.
Okay, it’s not that subtle. And by “the background,” I mean within 10 feet of the gov at all times.
Yes, it’s three beefy guys with short hair, dark glasses and their heads on swivels.
And — I’m going out on a limb here – they’re all carrying guns.
Because if there’s one thing the anatomically incorrect Governor of California is against, it’s Suicide Pacts!
Fetterman/ Chunli “Cotton Mather” Zhao, 2024!