Story of the Month: April Fooled

On this April Fool’s day I thought a story of how I was fooled by no one in particular and how it was the most fooled I’ve been in ages..

I have a lil Russian Blue cat named Rasputin (Raz or Raz-cat for short).  Raz is a weird little animal and he plays with everything, but one of his favorite toys is the springy doorstops that stop doorknobs from crashing through dry wall.  He’s crazy but he’s soft and sweet and likes to sleep on the pillow next to my head.

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One night a few weeks ago I was asleep around midnight when I heard the sproy-yo-yo-yoing of one of the doorstops.  I sat up and thought “what is that little maniac doing…” when I noticed Raz sitting bolt upright next to me.  Then my sleep-addled brain caught up with the situation; if Raz was here…what hit the doorstop?

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I turned on the light and looked at my bedroom door, which was propped open.  I have a few wooden swords leaned up behind it but both were still standing.  Then I slowly looked up and realized it must have been the door in the game room across the hall.  The door was closed.  I live on the second floor and that room is the only window accessible from the outside.  The rest of my windows are all two stories up and unless you’re Spiderman you’d have trouble breaking in through them.

I immediately started thinking of what I could use as a weapon, and it occurred to me that all of the most useful stuff was in the living room…not wanting to cross in front of the door in question I looked around my room and the only weapon I could find was a replica Danish War axe leaning against my book shelf.  It’s not a convenient indoor weapon, about 42 inches long with a 7-pound axe head at the business end.  A quote from Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels went through my head, “I don’t want to blow the arsehole out of the world, but I don’t want nobody blowing a raspberry at me either…”  It’s kind of a ridiculous weapon in a CQC situation, but it was all I had.

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Still I picked it up and headed toward the door.  Raz was sitting in the bed looking at me and the game room door with an expression that read, “Was it in there?  You’re not going in there are you?”

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I leaned against the wall next to the door and listened.  I didn’t hear anything in there.  I decided not to be an idiot and yell out “hello?” and resolved when I opened the door I’d slam it open to go with the shock and awe tactic. I silently braced my shoulder against the door, took a deep breath (looked back at Raz who looked like he was saying “don’t do it…don’t open the door!”) and barged into the door.

To my shock something was pushing back.  The door wouldn’t open as if someone was leaning on the other side or had their foot on the bottom of the door to keep me from opening it.

I pushed harder and went in, axe handle first (I decided I didn’t want to swing that thing and get it caught on the door jamb…).  The door finally opened and I flipped the light on.  I didn’t find any medieval intruders…I found my rolled up Frontline game mat, which I keep standing behind the game room door, had fallen across the doorway and hit the door stop.  I actually fell to me knees and laughed.  Raz looked at me like I was nuts.

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I’m paranoid, so I still searched the rest of my house before calming down and going to bed.

I learned a couple of good lessons from this incident.  First: It never hurts to be cautious but don’t always assume the worst.  Second, and maybe more importantly, Danish War Axes are not ideal for home defence.

Off the Top of My Head #4: The Unconventional Wit and Wisdom of Karl Pilkington

Off The Top of My Head

Genius is an objective concept.  What might seem like genius to one person may seem absolutely ridiculous to another.  What might seem simplistic may be brilliant.  What is absurd and what is genius can be blurred by perspective and not all of us agree on what is profound and what is nonsense.

Enter Karl Pilkington.

Karl Pilkington

A friend at work told me about the show Idiot Abroad and frankly due to the title and my lack of interest in the concept I resisted watching it.  I since have seen the show, The Ricky Gervais Show HBO episodes, and read two of Karl’s books.  Despite what Ricky Gervais believes, I think Karl is a kind of genius (which according to Ricky makes me an idiot too…), but like Ricky…I can’t get enough of his peculiar form of brilliant insanity.  I’ve included several of videos featuring Karl in this post.  All are hilarious, but be aware there is some  typical Ricky Gervais-language in them.

For those who don’t know him, Karl Pilkington was a radio producer on Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant’s radio show.  They found his unique outlook and simplistic views on things to be so entertaining they have since put him in their podcasts and twice sent him around the world.

Ricky refers to Karl as a “moron, he is a round, empty-headed chimp-like, mank moron.  Buffoon.  Idiot…but absolutely lovable.”  Stephen Merchant states Karl is, “Some kind of real-life Homer Simpson…small minded, petty, but at his core a  good person.”

I find Karl to be rather more intellectual and philosophical than idiotic; albeit in quite an unconventional way.  Karl can ponder the functions of the human mind, the future, and discuss the nature of virtual life vs. real life.  At the same time he believes dolphins with rifles escaped during Hurricane Katrina; that longer days on Mars are the cause for Martian technological advancement; and that monkeys can steal cars, serve as doctors, and fly spaceships via training with a banana chute.

Hearing Karl’s unconventional and sometimes seemingly mad ideas (like population control could be accomplished by having old women give birth to the next generation right before they die) it’s easy to jump to the conclusion that he is an idiot as Ricky describes.  To me, despite his sometimes pessimistic tendencies, he seems to think with a positive attitude, meaning when he finds a story that interests him he doesn’t come at it from a perspective of, “this can’t be true.”  Instead he comes at it from the angle, “why can’t this be true?”  He approaches the stories he reads with a certain level of naivety, accepting what is presented simply because he “read it.”  This can lead him to very unusual conclusions, and it doesn’t help that even legitimate stories he reads get, as Karl would say, “bungled in” with other stories and facts (like Mt. Everest growing and a piano being found on top of it.)  I find his willingness to accept unrealistic concepts as refreshing and creative (even if he doesn’t always see it as creativity).  Also, as he says when he selects a dictionary as the book he’d most want to bring to a desert island, he isn’t always able to express his thoughts in the clearest way.  I know I’ve been there, so I identify with him when he struggles to put his thoughts into words.

His views are also completely void of vitriol or malice.  When he talks about unusual people (he calls them all “freaks”), other cultures, poetry, and vacationing in other countries he doesn’t express a hateful opinion just his honest one.  I actually prefer his honest, yet sometimes ignorant, perspective far more than the crowd-pleasing, phony, politically correct beliefs we see from most pundits.

It’s like Karl lives in his own world, and that would be a fascinating place to be…

If you are unfamiliar with Karl, look him up on the internet and/or get a copy of The Ricky Gervais Show on podcast or video.  Even if you don’t think he’s a modern day philosopher (as I do!) you’re bound to laugh at his antics.

My next post will be a review of the first season of Karl’s travel program, An Idiot Abroad.  A terrific show that puts an unconventional man in unfamiliar surroundings and hilarity ensues.  For now, enjoy this, one of my favorite videos!

And check out Karl’s official site here!