Friday, March 18, 2011

Mixed Messages

This has been a tough week for mirth. My brand of blogging is at its best when poking fun at myself or observing absurdity in others in their daily lives. Obviously the Japanese calendar has not been kind recently as both of my sources of ‘fuel’ have been, to say the least, in short supply. I mean even that dumb parrot from the Aladdin movie got fired (or is it ‘gott FRIED’) for being tasteless. Trust me, when frying up parrots, poor taste is not at all that unusual because it’s like the old adage, they DO taste just like ‘CRACKER’.

My first REAL job out of college was with Ricoh Corporation, a giant Japanese multinational corporation. Except for ‘inventory time’, I loved nearly every minute of that work and the people that made the company great. My cadre of ‘handlers’ took great pride in trying to temper my American-bred individualism, intuition, and wide-eyed youth with the methodically measured steel of a Ninja’s best business practice. Sadly my bosses failed miserably, because at the end of my tenure, my golf handicap was barely in the teens and even after two years of night school, my Japanese was still only ‘short bus’ worthy. At the end of the day however, my Japanese counterparts and I DID truly understand and value each other’s respective ways in dealing DIFFERENTLY, with the same problems.

So given my self-indulgent resume, you might now better appreciate my comfort in speaking with compassion, criticism, and comedy all about the same tragic set of circumstances in Japan. The sheer loss of life and family toil repeated a thousand-fold across the country would bring even the hardest boiled egg down to his over-easy knees. No, there is nothing funny about the futility of dropping thimbles of water or shooting a fire truck squirt gun on a raging wildfire. Is Japan not the country with the most robots per capita in the entire world? You would think if that obnoxious bald dude and his handlebar mustachioed Mythbuster buddy can rig ANYTHING with a remote control, then Japan’s best and brightest could do so with a pumper truck or two as well?

I think the whole water option thing has been well tried and tested though since in great measure after the shaking stopped, isn't that the stuff that started this whole mess? It’s time to move on to the serious fire extinguishing alternatives like Mentos and Diet Coke fountains or jello and whipped cream. It also snows quite often in Northern Japan, which rumor has it is just as icy cold and wet as good old fashioned North American snow. You would think we could just set-up a couple of big circus tarps and funnel the white stuff onto the hot parts just like powdered sugar on a fairground-fresh fried Twinkie.

So the moral of this story is in times of unimaginable stress, feel free to mix-up your messages. You can cry, grieve, pray, and try harder than you have ever tried before. You can curse bad luck and praise good fortune, but do what feels right for you regardless of convention. Rarely solutions and solitude are born of political correctness and self flagellation. The Japanese know first-hand that in life, bad things unexpectedly will happen and try to test you. No matter how dark the night seems or how cold the wind blows, sometimes you just have to reach deep, re-group, and throw down the gloves to simply LAUGH in the face of pain – no matter how much it hurts.


  1. Ooooo, I like this post! I'm definitely the kind that laughs when nervous, scared, or in pain..I think it takes my mind off of what's really going on. I can't figure if that's a good thing or bad thing...

  2. I agree. I go through life finding the humor and laughter in things.

  3. I'm one of those "let me get back into bed and throw the covers over my head and pretend bad shit isn't happening" kinda people.

  4. I can't control the feeling that "Things are always worse than they seem."
    But I often laugh at Your blog.
    Does that prove that I can laugh when in PAIN?