Press "Enter" to skip to content

The Mind Is a Terrible Thing

I thought this might be an opportune time for me to weigh in on some of today's pressing A/B controversies; you know, the "this versus that" type of comparison so common in today's conversation. This will give you, the reader, a chance to either stand in solidarity with me or backtrack in horror at the thought of sharing an opinion with me. Because really, isn't that what America is all about? Offering people a maximum of two diametrically opposed positions on any given subject to which folks will blindly adhere to the choices they've made based solely on personal taste and will not budge from regardless of overwhelming evidence proving their allegiances misinformed and retarded?

Number 1: Ginger or Maryanne?

Ginger, every day and twice on Sunday. 99 out of 100 guys are going to say Maryanne, supposing it to be the nonobvious choice. They cite her fresh face, her girl next door accessibility, her moral superiority in opposition to Ginger's brazenly manipulative sexuality. But this is 1960s television! There's no character depth! No backstory! What you see is what you get, and what you get with Maryanne is Not Any. You want to go on a picnic with the perky, pigtailed prude? Be my guest. I'll be in the nearest grass hut making empty promises to the sultry sexpot.

Number 2: Elvis or the Beatles?

Elvis was relevant and interesting for about five minutes before becoming the most egregious sellout in the history of entertainment, while the Beatles remained consistently and continuously brilliant and innovative throughout their career. The Beatles reinvented popular music and Elvis invented the Lard Sandwich. The Beatles legacy lives on in bands like Oasis, Nirvana and The Strokes! Elvis in legions of fat, sweaty, no talent impersonators stinking up the lounges all over Las Vegas. The Beatles are the single most creative and influential force ever in pop music and Elvis is America. So, definitely Elvis.

Number 3: Democrats or Republicans?

Okay, let me see if I've got this straight. Democrats are the ones who sacrifice babies to Satan, right? And Republicans are the ones in top hats who swim around in giant piles of money. Hmmm. I do like money, but then again, you don't want to make Satan mad. I believe for the nonce I'll just say Independent and see which one offers me the biggest cash incentive for my vote.

Number 4: Sunnis or Shi’ites?

Well, Sunni is like sunny, and that's a good thing, right? Sunny skies, sunny side up, sunny smile, Sonny and Cher? Who doesn’t love Old Sol and the late Mr. Bono? And then there's Shi’ite, which sounds to me like an Irishman who has spent some time in the American South expressing dismay through the use of a popular scatological idiom. "We’re outta beer? Sh-e-e-e-ite." Clearly this one goes to the Sunnis. Incidentally, I have no idea what these things actually are.

Number 5: Ford of Chevy?

Believe it or not, kids, this is something teenagers used to argue about a lot. My first car was a 1963 Fairlane so I guess I'd have to say Ford, though now I just drive Toyotas like everyone else. What I find more interesting is the fact that during the first season of Saturday Night Live a man named Chevy Chase impersonated President Gerald Ford in several well-received and oft-repeated comedy sketches. Coincidence? I think so. The irony? Delicious!

Number 6: Coke or Pepsi?

If I am going to defile my body, there had better be a major psychoactive payoff and I'm afraid that megadoses of sugar don't cut it. Therefore, whatever negligible differences may exist in competing brands of fizzy sugar water remain a mystery to me. Coke has a nicer can, though.

Number 7: Edward or Jacob?

Edward (James Olmos) did a really incredible job of inspiring those kids in that math movie, despite ludicrous eyewear and a tragic combover. Jacob (Riis) opened the nation's eyes to the plight of the New York poor and helped to clean up the Five Points. Advantage: Jacob.

Number 8: Good Morning America or The Today Show?

Both Matt Lauer and George Stephanopoulos are members of the family Mustelidae, although I think Lauer is some form of stoat and Stephanopoulos is more your garden-variety weasel, or maybe a variety store Garden Weasel. I'm going to say shut the TV off and listen to Morning Edition. You may not see any cat or baby or baby cat videos or hear any fatuous punning, but you may experience some actual news. I realize it strains the bounds of credibility to expect a news outlet to deliver news, but somehow these folks manage to stay on topic and deliver the goods. Dial in your local NPR affiliate — it's somewhere over on the left, between the Ranchero music and the Christian rock — and give them some money at pledge time. It’ll smug you up real good.

Number 9: Katy Perry or Taylor Swift?

This is a thing, I think: these two pop stars are feuding over one stealing the other’s dancers or something. So on the one hand you have Perry: dark-haired, buxom, roots in gospel; on the other Swift: blonde, willowy, roots in country. This appears to be your classic good/evil dark/light dichotomy. I'm not saying which is which but I see no reason why we can't start a new religion based on the conflict.

Number 10: Simpsons or Family Guy?

I do love Family Guy, but The Simpsons is the greatest television program ever. Period. In fact, The Simpsons is the greatest cultural achievement in all human history. That's right. Better than Shakespeare, the Taj Mahal, and the Sistine Chapel. Combined. Better than sliced bread, the Clapper, Whole Foods, iPhone, passive solar, antibiotics, space travel and the Olympics.

Seriously though, what sets The Simpons apart is its innate humanity. The vicious, unrelenting satirical assault of Family Guy is satisfying to some degree but the Simpsons appeals to the whole person, not just the part that wants to humiliate and debase our enemies. Simpsons in a walk.

Number 11: Fujis or Valencias?

Come on now. That's apples and oranges.

So there you have it, my thoughtful and considered opinions on these very pressing and important issues. Actually, they are all knee-jerk, seat-of-the-pants positions. If there's one thing I've learned in this life is that thinking does not pay. Virtually every major decision I've ever made has resulted in an unfavorable outcome, “"unfavorable” stretching from inconvenient to cataclysmic. To illustrate, I offer the following brief vignette from my past.

In the early 90s I was seeing two women, one a scientist, the other a waitress. The waitress was a real party girl who wore purple cowboy boots and liked to do lots of drugs. The scientist drove a Volvo, composted, and had lots of very boring friends. The time came when I had to choose between the two, and although my gut told me to go with the waitress, I thought hard about it and decided that long-term my best option was the scientist. Some months later, sitting in the emergency room having glass picked out of my face and my leg set after she hit me with a bottle and ran me over with her Volvo, I thought: clearly my mind is out to get me. It's best I not involve it in the decision-making process.

The brain is only ballast to keep your head from floating away. It is not your friend and consorting with it will only lead to trouble. Men, leave the decision-making to your organ of copulation. It knows. It cares. Women I’m not not really sure, and frankly a little afraid of what goes on in your mind, so I'll leave you to your witchcraft. I honestly do not know why you and your ilk are not running things, but I'm looking to 2016 as the year all that changes.


  1. Diane Campbell February 18, 2015

    I’m not sure about #7 but #10 is undeniable. A new trenchant voice is always welcome.

  2. Jim Armstrong February 20, 2015

    In his second to last paragraph. Flynn writes:

    “…sitting in the emergency room having glass picked out of my face an my left set after she hit me with a bottle…”

    “ my left set..” may be a typo, or typos, but I can’t figure out what was intended.

    • Mark Scaramella February 20, 2015

      Thanks for the catch, Jim. It should have been “and my leg set.” It’s now fixed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *