Tuesdays with Moron: Chatological Humor Update

May 21, 2013

Every Tuesday, Gene publishes weekly updates to his chats.

- Gene's latest chat

On one Tuesday each month, Gene is online to take your questions and abuse. He will chat about anything. Although this chat is sometimes updated between live shows, it is not and never will be a "blog," even though many persons keep making that mistake. One reason for the confusion is the Underpants Paradox: Blogs, like underpants, contain "threads," whereas this chat contains no "threads" but, like underpants, does sometimes get funky and inexcusable.

Greetings, update readers!

A very short updadate, leading with this correspondence from a guy named Dan in Bozeman, Montana.  Dan was writing about my column Sunday, about how much I totally hate big weddings, for all the right reasons.

Dan writes:

Having worked untold numbers of weddings as a banquet bartender at a Four Seasons hotel, I've accumulated a storehouse of memories that validate your premise, and elaborate upon it.

My favorite memory is that of a wedding so expensive and over the top in so many ways, that they brought their own dining chairs (Four Seasons standards apparently did not suffice) and repainted them to match the floral color scheme.

(Do you see where this is going?  I did.)

Unfortunately for the guests (but a great boost to the enthusiasm of the wait staff) the paint had not dried. Most of the tuxedos, as exhibited when the first dance drew the guests up from the tables, had horizontal silver stripes across the back.

Smelling salts were barely enough to keep the wedding planner on her feet.

Thanks, Dan.  You have no idea how good that made me feel.

And lastly, I have a rumination about the power of the aptonym.  It makes me uncomfortable, but I need to discuss it. 

Yesterday, I retweeted one of the finest aptonyms I'd ever seen.   Here it is.   

To make a long story short, Dr. Elizabeth Unk was arrested for Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol.   

Yes, "DR UNK" drove drunk. 

So I tweeted this, and that contributed to a very healthy bit of re-tweeting and otherwise viral spreadage of news.   Afterwards, I felt a degree of shared shame.  Certainly, this DUI was an embarrassment for Dr. Unk, not to mention a potential threat to her career.   She looks like a smart woman; she rides bikes -- I bet she's active and healthy and concerned for the environment.  She was driving impaired in a way quite unlikely to cause serious injury to another.  I bet she's a fine doctor.

And yet, an accident of birth-naming created a situational aptonym, sparking a degree of publicity that never would have otherwise occurred, spreading her humiliation far beyond anything appropriate to the offense.  And here I am, in the center of it all, the world's most renowed CURATOR of the aptonym.

This gave me pause.  Am I participating in an ugly ritual just to satisfy my own adolescent sense of humor?  Is it time to abandon the aptonym, or better police its indiscriminate use?

I asked God for help.   And not fifteen minutes later I received word, via email, which checked out, that there is a gynecologist in Alabama named "Dr. Ogle."    It's a woman, but still.   I'm sticking with the form.  God's got my back. 

Okay, we're done.  Remember: The Post Hunt is June 2.

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Gene Weingarten
Gene Weingarten is the humor writer for The Washington Post. His column, Below the Beltway, has appeared weekly in the Post's Sunday magazine since July 2000 and has been distributed nationwide on The Los Angeles Times-Washington Post News Service. He was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing.
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