Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Friday, August 23, 2013

You're Flavorful, and With Depth.. Similar to a Necco Wafer

Waking from a terrible nightmare that you overslept an important appointment has a silver lining, so long as you've woken from that terrible nightmare with plenty of time to not miss said appointment... I've been bouncing around America this Summer similar to either a man with no country or someone who has every idea that he is too far from home and is standing on a platform hoping he has all his p's and q's in order to board whatever it is that will not only take him to a different location but also probably a different dimension.

The most meaningful conversations I've indulged in the last three months have been with strangers I've met online who sometimes seem like rather entertaining commercials.. and then? I return to the same bland sitcom that's currently being featured in an unchangeable channel... a channel that's irritating to watch, impossible to change, and the sitcom? My early morning wandering mind has it compared to Head of the Class; You vaguely remember it being on but have no idea why  you remember watching it in the first place; It was either on before something that was more meaningful or filled a time slot that would have been completely empty without it, but enough about Howard Hessman. We can only hope that he's doing well somewhere, unlike Gabriel Kaplan, who's more than likely currently sweating a major loss in some poker joint in Atlantic City against a very bitter old woman over a Social Security Check. Fifteen minutes of fame indeed, Mr. Warhol...

After a while the sitcom analogy starts to manifest and make a bit more sense as it unfolds into either a euphemism or metaphor <who cares?> for whomever you've enjoyed or abhorred in your lifetime. Every time you stop and visit you expect either the same experience, are confused by a dream sequence ocassionally, and it's generally only the comfort of routine that sends you tuning in to the same location week after week, season after season, until the series has run it's course and either jumped a now rather infamous shark or passed on with somewhat more dignity into syndication bearing reruns on cable that are sometimes pleasant to briefly review. They're' familiar, and can sometimes give you a warm feeling, but after the poignant moment you realize you've seen, heard, and had this experience before, and embraced? Rather than being interested in what's new and fresh, you're reliving your memories rather than creating them.

When I was young enough to sit in a kiddy seat in between my parents in an old Galaxy 500, I had thought that the rays of light that reflected from the street lights, the stars, and even the moon weren't reflections, but were energy points propelling the car ahead. They would come to points and bend in the glass and it seemed they were pulling our vehicle as we'd pass to the next lights, which would then be replaced by the next points of light and would repeat until we were in motion, moving ahead towards our destination. This thought is now as absurd as having a kiddy seat that faces the windshield instead of facing your child toward the rear for obvious safety reasons, but at the time? It made perfect sense. I wish I still had more comforting though obscure thoughts to explain undiscovered things, or better yet? More undiscovered things to explain with my comforting, obscure thoughts would be refreshing as well.

Boredom at 3:30 a.m. has yielded a great snippet of a memory from the sitcom rerunning on the bland channel that is my life. I'm comforted by this obscure thought, and I can return to sleep, knowing I still have time to meet my appointment, and that I will be on the platform with all my p's and q's in order.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

City State and Mind

I woke to the sound of seagulls.. and remembered that I arrived in New  Bedford yesterday, nearly evening time... When you tell people you're coming from Maine, it seems everyone assumes you're on the  border of Massachusetts, noone ever makes the leap to geography.. or realizes when you're THAT far north? It's an expedition of sorts, and one that gives you time to reflect on where you're at... spiritually and gps combined.
What was so fondly referred to as 'Brockton by the Sea' is a quaint early morning seaside town.. where the Dunkin Donuts opens at four a.m. (overjoyed) and though the historic neighborhood is set on a hill with cobblestone walks it doesn't take both eyes to realize how close the ocean is... your other senses do it for you... I had the greatest summer here, pre John of course... Since John? For the last two years it's been perpetually summer the entire time, or as I've come to know the seasons? Summer, Nearing the End of Southern hemisphere Summer, Pre Northern Hemisphere Summer, and Summer... but that story is for another time, and I don't need to be pelted by envy rocks.... Yay Summer!! All continuous 50 months of it!

I'm here with two great friends, and left two great friends to come.. It's been a trial of sorts to convey the message that I'm miserable when I'm not in Sydney... and not to down the good ole U. Ess. of Aye, but I have a home... elsewhere.. Right now? I'm in between being home and a government that with all it's good intentions, is still outdated when it comes to the notion of same sex marriage.. with patience that will change. Until then? Well, I'm a grumpy creative sort who says stupid insensitive things at times in regards to my locations, and my sarcastic  wit automatically jumps to humorous observations much to the dismay of the people who've graciously offered me lodging while I wait for my visa to refresh.. I apologize immensely at times, but I can't help but fill my idle time and mind pointing out not flaws, but what I consider geographical quirks.. Not that Australia is any better a corner of the world than anywhere else but for the fact that my greatest love is there in our home, and I feel like a nomad here now. In short my house keys don't work anywhere near here, my kitchen is so far away I can't remember how much I hate my oven, and the only person who isn't insulted by what i consider clever observation isn't here to tell me to ease off or argue what is and is not in bad taste when chatting to locals about their neighborhoods.

I miss arguing without consequence with someone who may walk away when we disagree, but can't only walk away to a different room in our flat and has the intuition to know that yes, I say hurtful things on a regular basis, but that's what makes being able to mentally block me out at times not only necessary but enjoyable since the alternative... Well? In marriage there is no alternative.. For better or worse? Yes, and guess what? My sarcastic borderline Asperger Syndrome insensitve comments are my 'worse'...

I jumped out of my lead singers car at South Station in Boston and had an immediate adrenaline rush to  be in the financial district once again.. When you work for a printing company with twelve  Boston locations and you're the idiot who volunteers as much overtime at any location you're going to get very familiar with Boston, and in ten years with the best company I've every worked for, I know alleys that aren't filled with icky people but hidden dunkin donuts grottos, shortcuts that can keep you indoors from the swan boats to Rowes Wharf if it's raining.. and I'm also privy to being an ass when I'm accosted by someone asking me for... well? Anything...

When I'm traveling with one bag and a guitar, do you honestly think I'm going to put one of them down to scrounge for change or a cigarette for what appears to be exact replicas of the urchin who asked me every time I venture outdoors in Boston to go to work? I may resemble a tourist or sorts, but I'm a tourist everywhere, and the more I get around the more I observe the hustle of the city. I hope I never become so desensitized that I'm not compassionate, but also smart enough to spot a hustle from 100 yards. I'm a socialist because I don't understand the alternative, I'm an atheist because I don't have enough data or faith to consider structured religion, and when suspicious of ulterior motives and manipulation I get downright mouthy and indignent. In short if I feel I'm being manipulated? The claws come out.
It's a balance of doing the right thing for the sake of doing the right thing combined with my refusal to not smile as much as I like to; if smiles are considered weakness, well then? I'm completely prepared to prove otherwise, and to do it while smiling...this however does not make me a 'mark'.. it makes be a positive guy.

Happiness is a choice, not a sign of ignorance. I'm aware of the state of the world, it's surrounding and inhabitants, and I choose to be optimistic (in real life), and I'm a guy who likes to smile. My parade doesn't get rained on, because you know? I like to play in puddles...

It's been a bit since I've typed a thought or two here, so this may seem a bit unfocused, but in an optimistic sarcastic way I crossed back into Boston and remembered that my sarcasm isn't meant to be cruel or even understood. I'm in a simple way always trying to view situations and people from more than one angle, while in the process amusing my brain at the expense of others. It's what makes me smile before, during and after I tell someone to fuck off... Everything sounds better when you smile. Shalom, and Hello Massachusetts. It's good to be home... Can I leave now??

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Either I'm Not Talented Or Some Things AREN'T That Funny.

I've spent the better part of this week working on outlines and hypothetical plot lines in the course of making a time in my life humorous, and in doing so had a revelation of sorts. Some things no matter how they play in your head as amusing simply can't be conveyed without revealing that they're simply not funny at all. Some of the posts I've typed into here have been knee jerk reactions or impulsive thoughts that practically type themselves, fall into place, and at very least can make me laugh in retrospect; What I found while opening 'this can of worms' is that it's impossible to find anything humorous that doesn't reek of utter depression or at very least isn't at the expense of humanity and the real people who can sometime's be forgotten or swallowed up by the world.

Time after time and more so VERY recently I've received news of someone who was either present during this time or is being affected by not so much the 'Recyclable Industry'.   I was referring to aluminum but in light of current events seems that aluminum IS recyclable, but for one reason or another? Some people aren't afforded that luxury and can't be redeemed for even a nickel in societies standards. It's been years since I've either picked myself up or been picked up and evolved beyond what I can now consider a dark period in my life that I had chosen to shed some light on. To hear that people who were once walking among us in those cold, unforgiving elements surrounded by even colder people have passed away is a sad state IN the world. To hear that people who were once walking with me are STILL struggling out there to me seems a bit more sad. That they're not only still there but are remaining optimistic in a world where it becomes more and more obvious everyday that they're either considered 'less than' or not even considered as people should be seen as a challenge that any person should ponder.

 'What would I do if it were painfully obvious that I've been forgotten?' or when the very real idea that if you suddenly 'Fell off the face of the earth either no one would notice or you'd be doing society as a whole a favor' isn't a funny proposition, it's a sad commentary on the state of not only an area, a community, or a country, but to civilization.

In many social internet formats the idea is proposed that we can cast our emotions onto animals be they sheltered or in need and much is done is the way of protecting these harmless creatures who've done no wrong other than being born into poor caregivers, poor living situations, or have been for one reason or another cast aside. That it's easier to lament animals who've done no wrong is understandable but it does NOT provide you with an excuse to not care about people who have also been born or cast into the same conditions.  Before you make the excuse that people are smarter than animals, I will have to agree with you. People are smarter than animals and with that comes the sometimes overwhelming awareness of not only their situations, but also having to acknowledge how they are perceived by other people.

Animals, unless they are photographed and have sympathetic captions conveniently Photo Shopped onto their pictures constructed to humanize them have an advantage over people who are consistently dehumanized by themselves and others who are quick to blame 'lost people' for their disadvantages.

To be aware that the premise 'you're situation is poor by your own design' is proper; It's an important life lesson to take responsibility for your actions. To know this and to recover without the help of anyone but yourself is an impossible thing to ask of even the most well adjusted and successful human being. When you're expecting anyone to help themselves out of any position you yourself have never experienced, take some time to think of what you can't accomplish alone in your meaningful life. Everyone counts on other's for small insignificant reasons that are hardly pondered and also to  the very existence of happiness in their life regardless of possessions and fortune. No matter what your station in life, it's not uncommon to take your wealth and status for granted, but also your support system that reassures you that you are safe in a VERY uncertain world.

Imagine for a second not having that reassurance to rely on a daily basis, or in some cases moments as required daily on an as needed basis.  Know that no matter what you have to offer to the world,  without a support system to regularly acknowledge your ability to contribute to society and to bolster any form of self esteem you think you have you'd probably fare even less successfully than people who've had to learn to accept life with none of this. No one deserves no one.

Friday, April 5, 2013

She Certainly Can... CanCan Part II

Cell Phones with 'no minutes' serve as more than just paperweights. Our alarms would be set anywhere between 12:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. depending on which neighborhood we were set to pillage, adding in of course the time required to secure a rogue shopping cart, plastic bags, and safe arrival time. The most lucrative addresses were normally gang safe houses; Biker's occupied one form, Men Who Wore Red or Blue (Crips/Bloods) resided in the other. Neither was a safe place to be after dark.. or during the day for that matter if you weren't invited. After the risk was assessed by the Raccoon, he and the Scout had the daunting task of making a withdrawal after the lights were out.In the likely event there was to be climbing to a second floor balcony, it was to the advantage of the Scout to be a smaller frame than the other members. That made it easier for him to climb to where he 
needed to be, easier still for the Raccoon to 'hoist' him to where he needed to be, and then would begin the struggle between productivity with regard to low noise levels. His size would later be a major disadvantage when he was captured, cornered, or when he would disagree with the decisions made by the Raccoon. 

One group of favorite spots were massive party houses, they were organized by the owner's <everything in tidy piles>, there was enough loot to make any vagrant drool, and they were likely guarded by a 'Trespasser's Will Be Shot' sign. It was a deterrent to some, but not to those who knew most times these signs were as accurate as a McDonald's catchline. No one goes to the 'Golden Arches' with the inner thought 'I'm Lovin' It'. It's a last resort and everyone including the people who lick your cheeseburger before you eat it are in on the false advertising, they just hope you're stupid enough to 
'buy it' in every sense of those words. In time after time, night after night, we'd risked the sign and found they were camoflage at best; Our camp site had many of them surrounding our campfire. They made us feel somewhat safer.

The first times we'd gone to these locations, we'd worked the kinks out and streamed lined the process, since most of the loot was next to the houses we'd work to bring entire stacks, bags, and barrel's to outside of the yard and make the necessary arrangements to affix full plastic bags to the cart. 
Physic's rules apply here, the Ox can only fit five dollars of cans into the 'basket' of a shopping cart. When it's bottles he's reduced to four dollars in the easiest compartment, and he gets the added bonus of waking EVERYONE in earshot up as he makes his way as far from the original destination. 

Though I don't believe in magic I do believe in organization, physics, and creativity. That we <I> could commonly manage to fit and tranport over a hundred dollars of all of the above on a banner night defied all of these conceptions.

Bonus 'finds' were always appreciated. Not only would some people leave their empty container's in ridiculously open spaces in eyeshot, there were essentials that couldn't possibly be overlooked, or left behind. Rewards in the form of unopened beer in coolers, portable radio's, and yes even the 
occasional clothing item from a clothesline were reserved for the limited basket. Surrounded by empty 'decoy' booty we roamed the area knowing we'd make less noise when there was weight in the cart and items were concealing and minimizing the 'shock value' of bottles rattling in the wee hours of the morning. In the likely event we happened on more than 12 unopened beers work would be suspended until said containers were empty and once again had only the recyclable value of the other occupants. It's an unsuprising fact that after a number of beers during crucial concentration time, we would not only get careless regarding noise, we'd also get rather cocky so far as minding the decibels or 'p's and q's' for that matter.

I've said and will repeat the streets on these mornings were full of other occupants doing the legal version of what we were doing. 'They' would open and reseal bags of trash on the sidewalk, removing the three to ten cans that were often surrounded by used kitty litter or even worse. 'They' would be concerned with not tearing into the plastic bags so 'they' could be re-tied and no one would complain about the mess, 'they' did it quietly so no one could complain about the noise, and 'they' weren't completely repulsed by sticking their entire ungloved hand into a used diaper so long as up to fifty 
cents was the reward for covering themselves with someone elses fecal matter or rotten casserole. That these items were more regularly collected and shared smell and frequency upon discovery was what turned our operation a bit 'shady'. If there is a 'gray area' to be found, I'm admitting that our gray area was dark, very dark indeed. But, it was night and everything out there was dark, so who's vision is so 
sharp that the difference between 'smokey gray' and 'onyx black as night' is easily guaged? We weren't subtle at all, and when we 'celebrated' finding beer that required it's own form of recycling we were less subtle. Heart attacks are more subtle declarations than we were at times like this.

Mistakes would be made, both by the group and by it's individual members. The Scout would NOT be allowed to leave a balcony until 'every single can' was retrieved no matter how many lights came on, dogs barked, or people yelled out windows. The Raccoon was ruthless that way and wouldn't offer the 'help' down or out of these areas until the job was complete. The Raccoon might even threaten to leave 
you there, and without his protection the smallest member of the organization would be left to the original owner's of the aluminum, usually with horrible physical harm resulting. 

We had three different 'Scouts' that summer, including one that returned after such a night; His memory either hadn't fully grasped how terrible was his fate that night he left or the injuries erased said memories, for not closely 
following the strict retrieval rules of the Raccoon was punishable. That the Raccoon was ultimately 
revealed to be a dictator is another chapter. You're not the only one who's surprised this chapter never became very humorous. I'm working on it.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

She Certainly Can... CanCan! Part I

I remember 'canning' or 'trolling for the nickel deposit on empty bottles and cans' for cigarette and vodka money during a rather 'odd' time in my life. Though I'm sure most people would rather omit this particular adventure from their memory, I choose to reserve a spot in my heart for it in the 'you-can-find-funny-anywhere-you-look-once-you-set-your-mind-to-it', but that's entirely different subject fodder.

Life is something that should be embraced in it's entirety, and if you've never been down and out? You simply haven't lived enough. If you've never been down and out and are now NOT currently down and out? You simply don't know if you can overcome enough, do you? I did, I laughed then, and I'm hoping we can all share a common thread of humor about it now. See what happens when you take criticizing yourself to a whole new creative level? 'Redemption' ensues... "Worst Pun... EVER!"

Three of us had paired together to form the 'Canning Team' that would redefine the entire scope of the task. From the attitude's of the people who did it singularly to the non-suspecting homeowner's who would ultimately rethink where to stash their bags of recyclable's, in a matter of weeks no one would be simply parking their cans under their back porches or balcony's. We were clever. We were thorough. We were tenacious. Frankly speaking? We were thirsty, nicotine addicted, and a bit selfish at the time. The money was there, it was nearly a 'victim-less crime', and there were so many other people doing the legal version of the same task it was nearly impossible to be caught, let alone prosecuted. If you have a modicum of pride you'll understand in our twisted way that 'working' for money  is still more respectable than holding a sign at a red light that says 'Will Drink For Food'.

Corny names detract from the story, and I'm not clever enough to conjur psuedonyms that are realistic sounding, so we'll reduce them to abbreviations and then to animals, shall we?

'R.M.' was the 'Scout'. His task during the sunlight hours was to roam the neighborhoods peering over fences and in general being on the lookout for bags under porches, stacked in backyards, or sheds that were either unlocked or had flimsy locks with plastic bags contained. The deduction was simple. If  'trash pickup day' had passed and these bags weren't picked up? There's a 75% chance that someone was 
saving their recyclable's until they had an amount that justified a trip to the recycling center. There was a chance they had compost, leaves or debris, but that chance was slim and we had all nite to follow up on locations that were worthy of a thorough search.

'B.Y.' was the 'Raccoon'. His task during the night hours were to lurk into the aforementioned yards, assess the risk in a sad equation format (movement sensitive lighting) + (proximity to the house) + (amount of loot) was combined with our (necessity and talent) + (how daring we were on that 
particular night) = SCORE. If the chance of reward was equal or greater than our likeliness to be caught? In a nod it was decided that it was a 'done deal' or just a 'pass by' until the reward grew or the risk lessened to acceptable levels. Even homeless alcoholics don't wontonly relinquish their freedom when three dollars of loud glass bottles could ruin your future plans to marginally exist within the confines of the few creature comforts you were afforded.

'B.L.' was the 'Ox'. It's not only important to have a brawny guy who can push a shopping cart full of recyclable aluminum for miles; You also need someone who can affix plastic bags in a 'tetris like' manner to every available surface of said cart in a timely manner and who will NOT abandon the cart or group when 'capture' becomes a distinct possibility. 

Every great equation comes equipped with a 'variable'. Our's was simply the fact that even if we were caught, most times not only were people not prepared for a prowler, but the sheer fact that in the middle of the night finding three physically imposing, stereotypical appearing  creepy 'homeless ogres' would in general cause whomever discovered us to a quick retreat back to safety.

Initially we weren't reduced to flaunting our 'physical powers of persuasion', but in a timely manner we learned it was to our advantage. In the time someone hastily returns to their indoors and calls 911, it's possible for three guys to not only stash the loot but change or remove identifying clothing, and break into three separate character's melding into the surroundings. 'Playing dumb' came naturally to most of us and was mastered by the remaining members. 

I know it doesn't sound funny yet, but all great stories require some background. All you have to do now is inject the <impossible to ignore> Stooge like qualities of the characters and situations and this poor allegory turns into an humorous anecdote. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

As Fall Set's In, And Other Thoughts Not Generally Attributed To March

I woke up and looked at the calendar on my computer. Since it says 02/03/2013, my mind still jumps and says instinctively "God, February 3rd... AGAIN!" before I make the minor adjustment and feel relief knowing it's March 2nd... When I was a kid? March 2nd meant that even though it could still snow, the end of the winter was well within view, there was light at the end of the tunnel, seasonally speaking anyway.
Around here? It means that Fall is upon us... When I was at the shops yesterday portraying my recently established friendly chatty consumer on his 'More American Than You Tour' one of the clerks pointed at the rain outside and said 'The summer is definitely over.... Well, after all, it is March.'

Wrapping your head around that is not easy for someone who's looked forward to March as the end of a weary five month period... I haven't experienced one in quite a while but it's still my understanding that from November until April isn't a time to look forward to. It seems to me that it was only a short time ago that I was sitting out by a fire pit with my sweatshirt covering my hands because they were chilly. In a daze I boarded a plane and was eating birthday breakfast at an outside cafe at seven a.m. only a mere 28 hours later or so. I can grasp it was the beginning of summer here but for some reason the holidays have a way of not synching up the way you understand them at all. Beach parties at Christmas and New Years, and I can't help but feel that now that Fall is upon us I haven't prepared my Halloween costume at all... but wait! It's March. There is no alternative Halloween season, the leaves don't even die for the most part around here. The only indication that the season's have changed <that I've noticed thus far> is a hardly noticeable dip in temperature that only occurs in the early morning hours. If need be? I can dig on the left hand side of the closet and take my 'winter sweatshirts' out of temporary storage and look forward to wearing  long pants a little bit more often. Wearing socks is another option I had completely forgotten both for fashion and protective reasons; it is a fact that I can count on one hand the number of times in the last four months I have pulled a pair of socks over my ugly 'fred flintstones'. What will come to be known as the 'Hottest Summer on Record in Australia' is officially a season of the past.

Trying to be compassionate without subconscious smugness rearing it's ugly head, I've had to endure parable's of snow and wind and cold and winter while understanding that eventually the sun was going to hit our balcony in such a way that we'd have to seal up our living room to protect ourselves from the heat and humidity that comes regularly in January and February.... Wait! What? I'm not complaining about the weather, it's undeniably lovely. I do have the right however to be momentarily baffled trying to make sense of the weather while acknowledging the coinciding dates on the calendar. It is still disorienting no matter what beach you're at celebrating a hot Valentine's Day on a wharf... in a tank top... watching people swim, surf, and tan. Occasionally I liken it to what the early stages of dementia must feel like... You are aware of your surroundings, but are completely put off and it's as surreal as waking up in a Wallace and Grommit animated feature... Only everyone else is behaving normally in response to the surroundings. I smile and appreciate it, but inside I'm wondering why it's remotely possible that no one is holding 'The End is Near' signage due to the impossible weather that can only be caused by a major climate shift. I may be in the Southern Hemisphere but my mind is still in Massachusetts. January and February are NOT the time to be wishing the mosquito's away and wondering if you'll ever get a good nights sleep again due to the warmth.

While I'm at it, when I think of graffiti I'm never thinking that a city tunnel could be decorated this ornately by teenagers. Though there may be some very VERY offsetting tags like 'DJ Crikees' or 'Jazzy Stingray'... <Okay, I MAY have concocted those Aussie Hood Monikers>, there is something to remind you that although winter may be ending somewhere else? It's completely Down Under Upside Down here. It's quite enjoyable and I never want to stop seeing the subtle differences. It's what makes it easier to look at everything through my eyes as new and never have a dull moment.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Funny Is NOT Universal, but 'God Bless You' Can Kill a Sneeze Anywhere

It's the oldest story in the world... One person or group of persons is watching The Three Stooges and laughing hysterically, and there always seems to be at least one person in the room who is watching the exact same exchange with the typical 'hater stare'... It's not necessary to utter aloud 'Why is this supposed to be funny?' but for some reason those people aren't content to simply roll their eyes in disdain and say nothing.

John has what seems to me to be the most annoying 'faux' laugh I've ever heard, and he reserves it for any occasion when I find The Simpson's or any other animated series on television funny. With animation you can attempt some humor that can be considered super offensive and if/when that's accomplished? Well, if there are any complaints you have the option of saying 'Calm down, it's only a cartoon.' When 'that's not funny' becomes more like a declaration rather than a questionable observation, and you happen to hear it as often as I seem to, it's only natural that a person would a. get defensive  b. get philosophical or c. admit defeat.

I've never really been placed in a position to understand why I laugh at things as often as I have been these days. It's equally unsettling that trying to understand what's provoked your laughter evokes the same reaction as someone saying 'God Bless You' when they see you're about to sneeze. The sneeze disappears and there's a loss of a satisfying 'from your toes' kind of sneeze. It's probably the only real form of palpable magic in a sense. 'God Bless You' before a sneeze is a magical incantation that can be phrased without the need of a corny looking wiccan wand, wicked looking hand gestures, or a wiggle of your nose (for all those Old School Samantha fans out there).
It's not always important to know why you're laughing at something. Laughter is supposed to be a reflexive reaction to a situation, not an invitation to a  highbrow/lowbrow debate culminating in an argument over what is and is not funny. If you're looking to be offended instead of entertained in this world let's face it; You don't have to look hard. People who are looking to be entertained instead of offended will find a laugh nearly anywhere they look as well. It's just that simply explained.
There is, however, good news. John and I have recently arrived at a DVD series called 'Summer Heights High'. It meets all the criteria for John's and my own collective funny bones; It's based on the profiles of three lives in a typical school environment, it's undeniably offensive, and some of the humor is blatantly obvious and some is buried and open to interpretation. I don't want to be 'the spoiler', but if you can't see that all three main characters are the same person (and some original viewers didn't immediately make that connection) you are going to be sincerely offended by it's content. What lays the foundation for the humor accomplished here is that they are all the same person portraying stereotypical characters in a mock high school world. If that world happens to appear real or familiar? Well then, kudos to the creator/actor/writer performing. In one unexpected twist after another he manages to take some of the most uncomfortable real life situations and allows you to laugh at them. It's truly a gem of a show, one I highly recommend. If you can please two completely different humor sensibilities this skillfully? Well, golf claps to you. Teen suicide has never been as laughable, it's true, but don't take my word for it.

To those who can't find laughter in these situations? I suggest you follow a complete stranger around for a bit and wait for the prelude to a sneeze. Say 'God Bless You' before the sneeze occurs. It's a cheap laugh, but it's one you can claim for your very own when you're thinking 'Wow, those really are magic words'. Fin.