The new guy on National Public Radio’s “Marketplace” segment in the morning signs off his portion of the broadcast with “In Los Angeles, I’m Doug Krizner. Make it a good day.” That last part always catches me a little off guard. It’s not enough to just have a good day plopped in your lap; Doug thinks you should go out and make one for yourself. It’s a nice sentiment, but what if we’re not up to the challenge? Sometimes the world confounds your best efforts to make it a good day. You never know when you’re going to spill scalding hot tea on your crotch or invade a Middle Eastern country without an exit plan.
Edward R. Murrow came up with, “Good night and good luck.” Walter Cronkite had, “And that’s the way it is.” Bob Barker said, “Don’t forget to spay and neuter your pets.” If I had my own newscast and earned the privilege to inform everyone of all the terrible things that had happened that day, I’d sign off every broadcast like this: “Well, that’s enough of that.”
Despite the best wishes of a morning anchor person, sometimes a good day can be very tough to make. For instance, you might be minding your own business one day, pushing your fingers to the very limits of human ability trying to get five stars on “Sweet Child O’ Mine” on Guitar Hero II, when out of the blue your phone vibrates with a text message, letting you know that somebody wants to pass along a piece of information to you, but would prefer to spend ten minutes punching a keypad with their thumbs than actually have to talk to you. This text might not only break your string of notes and make you lose your multiplier, but it just might shatter your notions of all that is good and pure in the world.
I had just such a day recently when my buddy Derek texted me the following message: “Too bad your boy Bear Grylls is a phony. He’d be cool if he was real.” Derek was referring to the host of the Discovery Channel’s “Man vs. Wild” show and inspiration for my “What would Bear do?” tattoo.
A little exploring on the internet turned up what Derek was talking about. When Bear was supposedly sleeping in a rain forest, ostensibly trying to find his way back to civilization, he was actually sleeping in a hotel and then pretending to wake up in the woods. And it wasn’t even a Motel 6, which technically still counts as wilderness. Bear also pretended to build a raft that experts had already built for him, and used smoke machines to make volcanic gas look more threatening. Still, there are certain aspects of the show that can’t be faked, such as when he quenched his thirst by squeezing a big ball of elephant dung over his mouth or when he jumped into a frozen lake and dried himself off with snow. Clearly, the man is earning his paycheck.
Derek didn’t have to tell me the news about Bear. He could have let me live the rest of my life thinking that there are more heroes in the world than just my parents and Cal Ripken, Jr. I bet Derek goes around the mall at Christmastime telling kids the truth about Santa Claus, too. Don’t worry, young readers. Santa Claus exists every bit as much as Congressional oversight authority. What I mean by “the truth about Santa” is that the Big Guy just turned Russian.
You may have seen the news about Vladimir Putin planting a flag in the North Pole to claim the Big Slushee for Russia, which means that the North Pole’s citizens are now Russian. Da, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. And this year, if you’re a good girl, you’ll get vodka and 80’s-era fissile material in your stocking.
Well, that’s enough of that.
You can spay and neuter Mike Todd online at firstname.lastname@example.org.