We need to talk. See, there’s this thing you do, not all the time mind you, but on specific occasions that is getting really irritating.
I’m talking, of course, about your practice of trying to be humorous about current events. This is on the whole, not a terrible thing. But two things cause it to become tedious in the extreme.
First, most tweeters aren’t that different.
Second, most tweeters aren’t that funny.
So what you end up with is a tweet stream filled with people making the same exact joke over and over and over again.
Let us take for example the recent non-event that was “The Rapture.” It might behoove us to ask why such a ridiculous notion gained such widespread interest in the first place, but such questions are beyond the scope of this letter. Instead, let me just say that if I had seen one more, “Well, I’m still here guys, hur, hur, hur” tweet on the twenty-first, my head very well may have exploded.
Can you imagine the mess that would have made, Twitter? Can you imagine the look of shock on my wife’s face if she had walked into the room and found my body crumpled on the floor amid the shattered wreckage of what had once been my shapely and brilliant head? Not so funny now is it?
I suppose that in some ways this phenomenon is an inevitable part of developing an ecosystem of information between individuals that all live on the same planet, but it is irritating all the same. This is why I’m send out a call to you to do your part to prevent head explosions.
And just how can you do this? Why, by using the Double Bass Test of course.
What’s that? You’re not familiar with the Double Bass Test? Well then allow me to enlighten you with a quote from the best time-traveling romantic detective ghost story ever written, Douglas Adams’ Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency.
“I’m a private detective.”
“Oh?” said Kate in surprise, and then looked puzzled.
“Does that bother you?”
“It’s just that I have a friend who plays the double bass.”
“I see,” said Dirk.
“Whenever people meet him and he’s struggling around with it, they all say the same thing, and it drives him crazy. They all say, ‘I bet you wished you played the piccolo.’ Nobody ever works out that that’s what everybody else says. I was just trying to work out if there was something that everybody would always say to a private detective so that I could avoid saying it.”
“No. What happens is that everybody looks very shifty for a moment, and you got that very well.”
The essence of the Double Bass Test is in asking yourself, “Is this joke so obvious that thousands of other people may be making it even as we speak?” If the answer is yes then don’t make the joke.
The Double Bass Test can also be useful in everyday life as our quote illustrates. Of course there will be times when a Double Bass Joke slips through the cracks, but on the whole you will be well served by following this principle, and thousands of beautiful heads everywhere can be saved from an awful and gruesome demise.
P.S. My book is on sale in the Kindle store for 99 cents. I’m not very good at promoting these things, but if you were on the fence because of the price (and believe me I know what it’s like to balk at paying three dollars for a book because you just don’t have the expendable cash) then maybe this is a good time to snatch it up. I’ll probably keep this sale going until the end of the week. So there’s that.
Yesterday was National Towel Day and nobody told me. This makes me sad.