The Ryan Report -- Episode 406 "Demons"
I don’t know if any of you were like this, but when I was a kid I only needed the slightest amount of encouragement to become obsessed with something. When a girl I had a crush on said she liked my shoes I bought the same pair in sizes 8‐13 so I could keep wearing them as I grew (That’s right, I bought size 13 ‐ I had high hopes for my basketball career). When I got my first 100% on a test I started reading Albert Einstein’s biography and speaking in an Austrian accent, convinced I was a genius. However, all of those obsessions paled in comparison to the big one ‐ my middle school catch phrase.
What can I say, it was the eighties, the era of the catch phrase, and everyone was all “I’ll be back” and “Did I do that?” Why shouldn’t I have a catch phrase too? And it isn’t like I sought it out, it just happened. I was walking home from school when I came across a garbage man doing his rounds. He was struggling to pull this bag out of a can, when it ripped, spilling its contents all over him. I had never seen a more depressing sight. This poor man is already having a miserable day, when all of a sudden he gets covered in trash. I couldn’t think of anything worse.
That night my parents had some friends over and they were getting into it about the economy, or politics or, heck, they could have been complaining about the Mets – I was a kid, what did I care. But at one point their heated conversation came to a lull and I said, “Hey, things could be worse, you could pick up trash for a living.” I didn’t mean it as a joke. I really did think that was the worst possible job, and they should all stop complaining, but they thought it was the funniest thing they’d ever heard. Something about a precocious little kid spouting off snippets of zen‐like philosophy brought the house down. And just like that, my catch‐phrase was born.
Every occasion where it was even remotely applicable I would pull it out. Strike out in gym class? Hey, things could be worse, you could pick up trash for a living! Girl turns you down for the big dance? Hey, things could be worse, you could pick up trash for a living! Meatloaf Surprise for lunch again? Hey… you get the idea. I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say I was the coolest kid in school for those few weeks. The other kids couldn’t get enough of it. They would pull me aside and ask me to say it. Of course, I’d feign reluctance, but after just the right amount of prodding, I’d belt it out again and they’d love me for it.
Everyone except Jeremy that is. Jeremy would just stare blankly into the distance, like he didn’t hear me. Of course, I took this as a challenge. I would follow him around, finding new and hilarious ways to spout it out. Finally, someone told me that Jeremy’s dad was a garbage man. Of course he hated me, I was making a joke out of his father’s chosen profession. I don’t think I had ever felt that awful in my life. There is nothing like putting your foot in your mouth to make you want to crawl into a cave and never come out again.
So, I know exactly what Jenny is going through right now. The other night we went on a double date with Espo and Lanie. Things were going great until Jenny asked them if they were getting married. Turns out, this was quite the sore subject and they ended up taking a break. You never want to feel like you are the reason a relationship ends – and certainly not someone else’s. Deep down she knows it isn’t really her fault, they were having problems and her little faux pas was just the catalyst, but you can’t help but think that maybe if you had just kept your mouth shut everything would be okay.
I think some extra TLC is in order tonight, and maybe a little something more than honey in her milk to help her get to sleep.
No not that!