The Sardine gets many ideas for columns. His readers write and ask why don't you write about this or that? These suggestions are uniformly dismissed. His acquaintances subsequently complain that they feel left out or not really part of the column. The Sardine is perplexed. Isn't being in the column being close to it?
Logged-in Public: Quite frankly, no. We feel like puppets, props, and, ultimately, butts of your general disapproval of mankind.
Then you can understand why the Sardine doesn't want your suggestions.
"You could have a more open mind," says Frank Weathers.
Frank, there's little interest in anecdotes about insurance adjustors.
L-I P: What about a column that has your top ten movies of the decade?
The Sardine can't abide lists.
"You disdain a lot of things," says Frank.
Not as many things as you think.
"Why don't you make a 'like list'?" offers Bunny, McNulty's wife.
"That would be a short one," says McNulty.
"Disdain" would be the right word to describe the Sardine's feelings toward many things. If anything, he has a mental checklist of things he disdains:
- Mel Gibson
- the Food Network
- Weather Forecasts
- Stand-up comedy
L-I P: How can you not like comedy? You are almost a comedian.
STAND-UP COMEDY. Not all kinds of comedy.
L-I P: You don't like. . . .
Please, no naming names.
"What's your problem?" asks Frank.
It's not a "problem." The Sardine no longer finds that kind of comic delivery funny. At one time, a dozen or so stand-ups amused him. Many, many years ago.
"You're taking this too seriously."
Now, besides not finding people funny I once though funny, there are TOO MANY COMEDIANS.
L-I P: You don't have to shout.
Everywhere you turn, Comedy clubs, late-night talk shows (not one or two but eight or nine), the Comedy Channel, HBO. Hundreds, probably thousands of men and women trying to provoke society to laughter.
L-I P: That's not so bad. Society needs a laugh.
Laughing's fine. The strained effort to provoke laughter has nullified any interest in the content of that effort.
"Are you saying that your columns aren't meant to provoke laughter?"
Provoke thought, maybe. Amuse. This isn't a routine.
L-I P: What are thousands of comedians out of six and a half billion people in the scheme of things?
More like fifty thousand comedians. The Sardine's funny bone joints have no tendons left. Comedic arthritis has set in. Listening to comedic monologue has become intensely painful.
"Hey, everyone, the Sardine doesn't want to laugh anymore," Frank yells out to the bar crowd.
That wasn't what I was saying.
L-I P: Too late to take it back.
Take back what I wasn't saying?
McNulty and Joe T. come over.
"I heard this joke the other day," Joe T. starts to say.
One on one joke telling interests the Sardine less than Stand-up.
"Like you never told a joke in your life," says Joe T. disgustedly.
"What about your puns?" asks McNulty. "And your Pun Pal?"
"I never liked him," says Frank.
"Frank doesn't like puns," says Joe T.
"Frank never gets them," says McNulty, "that's why he doesn't like them."
Most of what the human race doesn't like follows that line of reason.
"That makes me a trailblazer," says Frank proudly.
"Is what the Sardine disdains what he can't comprehend or master?" asks McNulty, exercising his rusty cross-examination skills.
Only a disdained item-per-item check could the answer to your question be flushed out. The Sardine's immediate reaction, though, is to say NO.
L-I P: Why don't you like lists? They can be very helpful catalogs of thought. Even you have a disdain list.
The disdain list is completely mental. Completely subjective. Thus, subject to change. Some things I disdain so much I just never think about them or acknowledge their existence.
"Sounds more like you are in denial about how important those things can be to the rest of the world," says McNulty.
Perhaps. The Sardine's abhorrence of making and publishing lists stems from the feigned absolutism of those lists. Yes, they are put out as personal opinions or the judgment of groups, like the American Film Institute or the Associate Press sports writers, but the desire for the judgment to be considered right for eternity emanates from them like the odors from skunk roadkill. Until the next list comes out a week or month later.
L-I P: You have no absolute opinions?
None that the Sardine will put in a list. Published lists are fake objectivity. The Sardine's opinions are subjectively authentic.
Bob Castle is the unveiled author of A Sardine on Vacation. Check out his bio page.