We were watching Saturday Night Live the other day, and they were doing a sketch on Nelson Mandela’s funeral with a sign language interpreter who was using fake sign language. Pretty humorous, I thought, but what did it have to do with anything real?
“Umm,” Tara said. “You know, the sign language interpreter who used fake sign language at Nelson Mandela’s funeral.”
But I didn’t know. When it comes to current events, I am woefully out of the loop. Once upon a time I had a daily newspaper delivered and was fairly knowledgeable when it came to what was going on in the world, but I cancelled that years ago, and am not the type of person to ever turn on the TV and watch the news. Unless snow is in the forecast, of course. Plus I rarely go on Twitter, and don’t have Yahoo as my home page. Ergo, I am privy to basically no information, unless it happens to come across Facebook. I did know that Paul Walker died. I had no idea who Paul Walker was, but that’s because when it comes to driving, I tend to be slow and patient rather than fast and furious.
As the episode went on, it was clear they were mocking many other current events, none of which I knew a damn thing about. I decided that was both embarrassing and sad, and needed correcting immediately. I asked Tara where she got her daily news from, and she said NPR, so I made it a point to listen to NPR every time I was in the car this week. Driving to work, going to lunch, taking a trip to the mall, coming home. It was all NPR, all the time. And I have to admit, after just a few days of this, I’m feeling more smarter. To wit, I have learned the following:
- There was a near miss between a U.S. battleship and a Chinese naval vessel in the South China Sea earlier in the month.
- Syrian air raids killed 28 children over the weekend.
- Auto industry sales are up 50% since 2009.
- Oregon is taking steps toward liquor privatization.
- A helicopter crash in Afghanistan killed 6 U.S. soldiers, the deadliest incident in months.
- The Department of Agriculture is considering a new inspection program on imported catfish from Vietnam.
- Elf is becoming this generation’s A Christmas Story in terms of popular holiday movies.
- The Senate passed a compromised version of a Federal budget package that Obama might sign as soon as today.
All this, in 48 hours! It’s a wealth of information that I’d have otherwise been clueless about. This weekend, when SNL host Justin Timberlake does a skit about a man on a battleship who almost crashes into a Chinese warship because he’s too distracted watching Elf, I will be laughing my ass off louder than anybody. Because I’ll GET it!
I’m going to continue listening to NPR, too – even beyond this week. I find myself enjoying many of their “human interest” stories every bit as much as the hard news stuff. Plus, they play some pretty cool music. Years ago, they spotlighted a Pacific Northwest band called The Lonely Forest, and I became a huge fan.
Cat’s Out of the Bag Now. Meow!
This morning, I “outed” myself at work. Needless to say, my coworkers were surprised to learn this closely-guarded secret.
“I had no idea you’re an author!” Steve said. “That’s so cool!”
It all came about because I was responding to a companywide email and finished with:
BTW, if any of you are looking for a last minute gift idea, go here and buy this: http://www.amazon.com/No-Time-Kings-Mark-Petruska/dp/1614344604. OK, no more shameless plugs. Carry on!
For some reason, I’ve been more reserved with my personal life at this job than others in the past. I’m not really sure why. A psychiatrist might say after being laid off twice in eight years I’m shy about forging friendships and opening up with people who will inevitably disappear from my life again, and there may be some truth in that. I don’t know. But I’ve begun to change, and it all started with Instagram. I friended a bunch of coworkers there. And then, when the sky didn’t fall, I decided to friend some more on Facebook. And now I’ve let them in on the fact that I wrote a book. 5 minutes after sending the email I already had a sale, too. Which makes me wonder: why’d I wait so long?
Today is the last day of work for the week. And actually, I only have to work 3 days out of the next 18. Woohoo! Gotta love the holidays. Our office is closed tomorrow, but we’re all getting together to build bikes for needy kids at a local fire station in the morning, then going bowling in the afternoon, followed by the company Christmas party at McMenamin’s Edgefield in the evening. Like last year, the company is springing for rooms for employees and their spouses. Friday, we’re closed. Next week, we have to work Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Then I’m on vacation.
I love this time of year!
- The Sign Language Interpreter At Mandela’s Memorial Was ‘A Complete Fraud’ Making Nonsense Gestures (businessinsider.com)