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Throwing Vegetables For World Peace
by Mad Dog


Isn’t it obvious when someone’s happy? They smile a lot, they don’t get upset when their favorite TV show is pre-empted for the Xtreme Badminton finals, and they generally flaunt their happiness every chance they get.
    National Admit You’re Happy Day came and went and no one noticed. It was supposed to be August 8th but, well, it didn’t happen. Sure, a few people woke up, stretched, and once they stopped hacking and realized they hadn’t coughed up their intestines admitted they were happy to be alive, but this certainly wasn’t the mass show of ecstasy the planners had hoped for.

     Pam Johnson, of Dallas, Texas was the mastermind behind this non-occasion. This is only fitting since she’s the founder of the Secret Society of Happy People, a group I greatly admire since very few organizations live up to their name as well as theirs does.

     Pam decided that August 8th should be National Admit You’re Happy Day, so she sent letters to all 50 governors asking them to make official proclamations to that effect. Fifteen went along with the idea. Seventeen said thanks, but no thanks. One, New York’s Governor Pataki, hedged his bet by saying he’d wait and see what everyone else did. The other seventeen letters came back marked "Moved, Left No Forwarding Address. Besides, Are You Serious?" Just kidding. Actually they got them, they just couldn’t stop laughing long enough to reply.

     This will go down in history as an important event. Not because so many governors actually agreed that we didn’t need a day to declare our happiness, but because for once in my life I actually agreed with a politician. Face it, isn’t it obvious when someone’s happy? They smile a lot, they don’t get upset when their favorite TV show is pre-empted for the Xtreme Badminton finals, and they generally flaunt their happiness every chance they get, since nothing makes them happier than knowing an unhappy person will become more unhappy seeing a happy person displaying their happiness. This, by the way, is the chief cause of most crimes against Moonies, mimes, and Richard Simmons.



As a nation, we could use International Forgiveness Day to let England off the hook for taxing us without representation and forgive the Japanese for bombing Pearl Harbor.
     People seem to like days that honor causes. There’s Random Acts of Kindness Day (November 10th), Bike to Work Day (May 21st), and Buy Nothing Day (November 26th). According to a flier I saw posted on a telephone pole just after it happened, August 1st was International Forgiveness Day. You’ll forgive me if I missed it.

     I’m not sure if this is a real, honest to goodness, official day, but it was sponsored by the Worldwide Forgiveness Alliance and it sounds like they ought to know. It wasn’t clear from the flier who or what would be forgiven, so I can only assume that everyone would be forgiven for everything. This is a good thing, since holding a grudge is bad for your blood pressure, slows digestion, and generally makes people think of you as a big fat poophead.

     So for medical reasons, if no others, I think it’s good that we have a day when we can forgive each other. This gives me the chance to finally forgive the kids down the block who years ago held me down while Bobby Bagley put a worm on my forehead. It would be the perfect opportunity for me to forgive my parents for not giving me half the money they saved when I didn’t go to college. And I could go ahead and forgive that old lady who rammed my supermarket cart the other day so she could cut in front of me at the checkout line. Well, as long as she forgives me for tripping her on her way out.

     As a nation, we could use International Forgiveness Day to let England off the hook for taxing us without representation. We could forgive the Japanese for bombing Pearl Harbor. And we could finally forgive my forefathers for bringing Africans to the United States and enslaving them, even though they lived in Austria and Hungary at the time and didn’t make it to these shores until forty years after the Emancipation Proclamation. Hell, we could even use this day to forgive the programming executives at the TV networks for this year’s crop of stupefying new shows. On second thought, even I have limits of forgiveness



This year more than 30,000 people showed up in Bunol, Spain at the end of August for a festival where they threw 140 tons of tomatoes at each other. To put this in perspective, that was 9.3 lbs. per person (or 72 kilometers per hour metric).
     It’s easy to see how something as simple as setting up a special day can help a societal problem. After all, slapping bumper stickers on our cars works like a charm. Think about it. You don’t see bumper stickers on cars anymore that say "Mean People Suck" because after the 5,698,298th one hit the road mean people stopped sucking. And we’ve visualized world peace so well while staring at the car in front of us during a traffic jam that you’re probably like I am and have forgotten what it was like before we attained it. Okay, so maybe that one didn’t work, but that’s only because the bumper sticker’s distributors didn’t get enough of them to Kosovo, Rwanda, East Timor, the Middle East, Ireland, Dagestan, and Congress.

     At the risk of being called a cynic, I’m not sure visualization is really enough. We may need tomatoes. Yes, tomatoes. In Spain they’ve devised a unique way of avoiding war: they take their aggressions out by throwing tomatoes at each other. This year more than 30,000 people showed up in Bunol, Spain at the end of August for a festival where they threw 140 tons of tomatoes at each other. To put this in perspective, that was 9.3 lbs. per person (or 72 kilometers per hour metric). They’ve been doing this for years, and it’s been officially sponsored by the city since 1979. The glory of it is, Spain hasn’t been in a war since! And even better, they didn’t have to slap a single bumper sticker on their car to accomplish it.

     So I say let’s arm ourselves with tomatoes. They’re safe, effective, taste better than bullets, and throwing them is much more fun than all the special observance days put together. Well, at lease until Forgive Me For Not Admitting I’m Happy Day rolls around.

 

1999 Mad Dog Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country. Read them while waiting for your tomatoes to ripen.

 

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