by Joe Shea
September 10, 2010
HOW THE DEVIL GOT MR. JONES
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Every kid has their favorite day of the year. And because they're greedy little capitalists, their favorites are Christmas and their birthdays. They also have a few least favorite days too. Like the day after Christmas, dentist day, and the first day of school. And the second. And the third. And so on. But when I was a kid, one of my least favorite days of the year was Opposite Day.
I'm sure many of you remember Opposite Day. That's the day that could be declared by any kid who wanted to be mean and nasty to another kid. They would say, "You know, Bobby, I think you're one of the smartest kids in school. Oh, and today is Opposite Day." Then the little brat would run away, having made the other child feel the stinging rebuke of Opposite Day. Opposite Day was the day that whatever you said, the opposite was true. Therefore, if you paid a kid a compliment, you were actually insulting him. But, if you insulted him on Opposite Day, you were actually complimenting him. And, as most children are kind and understanding, they rarely insult or tease one another. Ha! Opposite Day! I personally thought Opposite Day was stupid, and the kids who did it were twits. After all, Opposite Day was a paradox. However, since I was only nine years old, I didn't know what a paradox was, so I just had to settle for stupid. The Paradox of Opposite Day was that if you said, "Today is Opposite Day," then the opposite must be true, which meant it wasn't Opposite Day. And if it wasn't Opposite Day, then any compliment you were paid was a real compliment. Of course, most of the kids I knew were very smart and able to grasp the complex of a paradox, and so they understood the dilemma they were creating for themselves. Opposite Day!! The problem with Opposite Day was that there was no real comeback you could use, and still sound original. I mean, if you responded with, "Yeah, well, your mother is not as big as a hippopotamus, and today's Opposite Day," you'd be laughed right out of the playground. When I was in the third grade, one of the Opposite Day masters was Stephanie. She knew how to take the fun out of any accomplishment or compliment you may have received. If you had just received an A on your math test, Stephanie would say, "Wow, that's really good. You're pretty smart at math." Then as you beamed with pride, she would walk away and quietly whisper, "Opposite Day." However most of us outgrew Opposite Day, which is a shame, because I think it would actually be useful today. Can you imagine what life would be like as an adult if you could call Opposite Day whenever you wanted? I think it would make the next presidential debate a lot more interesting. Candidate A: "I think my opponent is very competent, would make a great president, and would not lead this country into financial and moral ruin. Opposite Day!" Candidate B: "Well, my opponent is not a poopyhead! And it's still Opposite Day." Candidate A: Hey, don't call me names, or I'll tell the moderator! Opposite Day could also be used in business. Imagine you have to fire one of your worst employees, a real witch who's mean to everyone and can't admit when she's wrong. Opposite Day would make this job much more enjoyable, because you can pay your employee a lot of compliments, inflating her ego, and then pop the news like a lawn dart hitting a balloon at 90 miles an hour. You: Well, Jessie, I called you in here because I wanted to say I think you're one of our most valuable employees. You're always on time, you give insightful ideas at meetings, and your personal hygiene is beyond reproach. Jessie: Why, thank you very much. That's very kind. You: By the way Jessie, did you see this memo that said today is Opposite Day? I'll admit that I was the butt of many Opposite Day jokes growing up, and it was never any fun for me. But I'm pleased to see that many of my old classmates have grown to be wonderful, mature, and well-liked members of their community, and I'm proud to have known them. Opposite Day!!!"
Erik is dealing with a sick child this week, so we are running the best column he has ever written. Oh, wait - it's Opposite Day. AR Humor Writer Erik also publishes this column and other humorous articles at his Erik Deckers' Laughing Stalk blog.