Dear Dr. Brian,
Why am I living in the only country in the world that sees fit to drive their cars on the left instead of the right side of the road. What this means is that I have to pay attention while driving and I don’t like it. Please help.
And Dr. Brian responds:
We will dispense with my impulsive need to ascertain why you chose to name yourself after an expulsion of natural gas, usually in a manner that is considered rude and offensive. I’m sure you have wonderfully astounding reasons behind your moniker decision, but we have more pressing issues to address. Another session, perhaps?
Now, this driving thing.
First, are you certain that you live in the only country in the world where people drive their cars on the left side of the road? I’m assuming you live in the UK, based on the crudely-drawn image of the Queen’s bum on the back of the envelope, the aroma of fish and chips wafting from the stationery, and the packet of matches from some pub known as “Ye Olde Snog and Shag”.
I must confess that I was a bit thrown by the matches. Why include such? Instinct tells me it’s a cry for help from one of your alternate personalities. But to be fair, there could be a less sinister explanation for you having placed fire-based weaponry inside international correspondence.
Perhaps you are just absent-minded, and the check covering our last session, which should have been included in this fish-reeking submission (ahem), is instead lying near an ashtray in your game room. Maybe the children have been playing with fire again. (Please do read that pamphlet I sent you last month, “Adolescence and Arson: Kiddies Who Kill“). Anyway, I’ll assume for now that the matches were merely an ill-conceived gift. I have no use for them, but thank you.
In any case, let’s return to your perceived regulative torture. As we all know, the British have a history of being a bit pushy, running around the globe, conquering things, and turning Australia into a giant penal colony that eventually produced Mel Gibson and vegemite sandwiches. Lots of little colonies everywhere. So, surely, other folk in burghs here and there drive on the left as well. (In my international travels, I have found myself in locales where the concept of “road” is merely a suggestion, usually with an abundance of livestock thrown in to the mix, doing all sorts of things except getting out of the way.)
In other words, let’s not be so annoyingly self-centered and act like you are the only one forced into inane vehicular situations. It’s fairly common for odd local customs to remain in effect even after it has stopped trending on Twitter. Most people who drive on the left survive with mental health intact. Even if it does look ridiculous, seems pointless, and is the result of the English once again clinging to things that have outlived their usefulness, like figgy pudding and royalty.
And then comes the real whining: “What this means is that I have to pay attention while driving and I don’t like it.”
That, dear expulsion, is perhaps the true root of your mental flatulence. It’s not that you have to pay attention, as you don’t mind paying attention at all, it’s that you have to pay attention to something other than yourself. This notion completely gets under your skin, causes you to snap pencils and squinch up your face, and you redirect your anger to innocent targets like dumb-ass local driving rules and how many steps it takes to get to the loo at the Snog and Shag.
We knew it was coming, this eventual conflict with how much you crave attention versus what anyone else in the world might be interested in at the same time. There are warning signs all throughout your files wherein you voraciously tried to steal the spotlight. Let’s review a few incidents, shall we?
Did you really think it was necessary, during your school’s third-grade Christmas production of “Mary, Joseph and a Barn”, to suddenly start turning cartwheels, naked, singing “I Will Survive”, just as they were bringing out the Baby Jesus?
I still have 4 members of that audience as clients to this day.
And let’s not forget that fateful presidential election when you were living in the States, specifically the final debate between the candidates. Through some unknown means, possibly involving witchcraft or the trading of sexual favors, you coerced the moderator into allowing you to ask the final question. Did you really think it was appropriate to query George Shrub about his stand on the pending legislation to declare May 28th as “International Beaver Emancipation Day?”
There was no such pending legislation, even though his staff subsequently spent several months trying to support it because they had nothing else of substance in their platform. Sadly, analysts have since confirmed that this staff work was viewed with great praise by certain segments of the population. In fact, Shrub won the election simply because some people were excited about the prospect of free beaver in the future.
You changed the course of a nation just because you thought it would be fun to talk about beaver on live television. Any guilt there? Just a little? No. You indirectly set the stage for Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, and Dick Cheney, but you’re going to whine about having to drive the Jag on the wrong side of the road. I think it’s fair to say that your life choices are a very special blend of sociopathic narcissism, a brew concocted at midnight in a Parisian coffee house whilst Yazoo’s first album played in the background.
It’s time for an intervention.
I realize that, with someone so self-centered that they can see out their own colon, your recovery is going to take some serious time and dedication. Your ego wasn’t built in a day. So we’ll start small. I’m going to give you a few exercises. (As with most patients of any doctor, you will probably take one look at this list of behavior modifications, toss it aside with a grunt of indifference, and then continue with the same destructive pursuits that brought you to me in the first place. Still, one can dream that they might actually have any influence in this world.)
The next time one of your relatives does something stupid and requires immediate medical attention, please put down the microphone you always carry with you, and at least dial 9-1-1 for assistance. Do not, as you usually do, consider this an evil attempt to steal your audience. Do not pretend that your cell phone is dead and there is nothing you can do whilst they writhe about and the blood gushes. Do not ask the screaming injured person to tone it down a little so you can continue your interpretive dance about the Stonewall Riots.
The next time you are at the grocery store, and the manager asks you to refrain from singing bawdy tunes involving Nantucket, kindly do so. Most patrons prefer perusing the produce department without accompanying vocals. This is just human nature. The request for you to cease and desist is not, as you usually assume, due to bitter jealousy over the fact that you can warble a tune whilst juggling melons. They just want you to shut up.
Whilst at the local pub, here’s a lovely guideline to follow: If you cannot quickly recall the number of beers you have ordered since clattering onto the patio in a roar of enthusiasm and distraction, it’s time to settle the check. An open bar tab, at least for you, leads to tawdriness and reckless abandonment that is not necessarily embraced by your fellow patrons. (As a supplemental exercise, I would like you stand in front of the mirror, prior to any public appearance, and repeat this phrase three times: “You are not as funny as you think you are when you’re lit.”)
I understand such modifications will be difficult for you. These are baby steps for most, giant leaps for Razzkind. But I want you to work on this. Try really hard, every day before taking any action, to think about whether that action is appropriate in daily life, or might possibly be a little self-serving. Or in your case, completely self-serving and could result in impromptu riots, overcrowded emergency rooms and a wallop to the city budget that may prove insurmountable and cause the mayor to lose the next election, even if someone asks a diversionary question about free beaver.
I hope you can embrace your road to recovery.
Otherwise, I will have you arrested in the interests of national security, world peace, and biblical pageantry everywhere…
Originally published in “Idiot Fondue” on 07/25/09, revised and updated with extra flair for this post.)
Categories: Idiot Fondue