Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Country Wisdom: Tuesday, April 7

Yeeeeeehaaaaaw! Unholster yer six-shooters. Grab yer butter churns. Defile yer cousins and do-si-do. Today is the opening salvo of America's soon-to-be favorite daily* funnybone-tickler: Country Wisdom. (For the verbose and self-involved recap of this segment's origins, read the previous post. Allow me to suggest, as well, that you read these posts aloud in your cheesiest Boss Hog accent. You'll enjoy them 428% more, or your money back.)

Today's calendar page says:
If you're talking about someone who's not too bright, you might say ...
If his brain was dynamite, he still couldn't blow his nose.

Now ... maybe I'm not too bright because I don't get it AT ALL. I guess it's an attempted play on blow your nose/blow up your nose. As in, if one's brain were dynamite, it should be easy to blow (up) one's nose. But like most of these, the analogy falls apart on closer inspection. If my brain were dynamite, would it actually be easier to blow up parts of my face? How would I ignite the dynamite? Is there now a fuse intertwined with my ear hair? And how would I even form an intentional thought to light the fuse, given that I have a cluster of explosives where my brain used to be? I'm imagining that would leave me in a pretty vegetative state.

Or is it that in the world of the dynamite-for-brains, blowing the nose should be the same as blowing up the nose? As though the violence of a massive snot expulsion would cast off intra-cranial sparks which, in a person of high intellect, would set off the brain dynamite. Whereas a person of lower intellect wouldn't have sufficiently combustible mental stuff to cause nasal obliteration. I guess that metaphor works, but you have to admit it's bizarre in the extreme.

Furthermore, none of these exporations adresses the fundamental paradox of a highly intelligent person, whether of normal or dynamite brain, choosing to blow up his face. Let's say I did find myself in the situation of having powerful explosives in my skull. Wouldn't it be a sign of mental acuity (or at least good judgment) to refrain from blowing up my nose--or anything else? In what kind of society are the leading thinkers required to prove their brainy bona fides through conspicuous self-combustion? If this species of person did exist, evolution would have weeded them in a couple of generations. Certainly they wouldn't have been around long enough to spawn a linguistic meme adopted by some tribe of proto-hicks and passed down for millions of years until it reached our beloved Page-a-Day calendar. And short of that, I can't imagine where this expression could have come from. I guess it's just one of life's mysteries.

*By daily, I mean whenever I think of it or want to do it. For instance, I'm leaving tomorrow for Mexico and probably won't maintain the daily schedule during that time. Unless my drug lord captors are into it; then I will spell out the address of my holding location using the first letter of each paragraph of of the post. I sure hope the U.S. Consolate in Mexico City is paying attention to this.

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