A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about watching a woman walk up to the front of a train, hitting everyone in the head on her way by, and I remarked that it was like something out of a Monty Python sketch. For those of you who don’t know, Monty Python was not a person; it was an absurdist comedy troupe that formed in the late 60s. Over the course of the next couple of decades, they had a TV series, live concerts, and several movies including Monty Python and The Holy Grail and The Life of Brian. If you’ve never heard of them or seen any of their work, then I don’t even know what to tell you. But if you ARE familiar with Monty Python, you’ll understand when I say that it has occurred to me on more than one occasion, and more so recently, that my life is pretty much one long Monty Python sketch. They’re well-known for numerous hysterically surreal scenarios, and below you will find the parallel circumstances of some of these moments in my own life. There are five below—4 are slightly exaggerated for comedic purposes and one of them is absolutely as it happened. See if you can guess which one.
Late afternoon. The 11th floor.
Me: I’m having an issue with my computer.
IT Guy: Ah, yes. The Lenovo. What’s the problem?
Me: I’ll tell you what the problem is, my lad. It’s broken.
IT Guy: Broken? Have you tried turning it off and on again?
Me: Yes. It’s definitely broken.
IT Guy: It’s probably just doing updates. Remarkable machine, the Lenovo. Lovely keyboard.
Me: The keyboard doesn’t enter into it, mate! It’s broken! (*bangs laptop against desk*)
IT Guy: There, see? It’s fine—the screen flickered.
Me: No, it didn’t! (*opens and closes lid rapidly*) Cortana! Oh, Cortana!! See, it’s not working. And don’t tell me it’s pining for the fjords.
IT Guy: Fjords? In Canada? Give it here. Right—it was just a password problem. I’ve unlocked it for you.
Me: I wish I was a lumberjack.
IT Guy: You’re ok.
Early morning. Alarm goes off.
Me: Ergh. I’m so tired. I wish I could just call in and take the day off like some people can.
Ken: Dan’s not coming into work?
Me: Who’s Dan?
Ken: Isn’t he the person who’s not coming into work?
Me: No, I said ‘Like people can’.
Ken: Was he off yesterday too?
Ken: That Dan guy.
Me: What the f*ck are you talking about?!
Ken: What are you trying to tell me?
Me: I’m tired and I don’t want to go to work! Why don’t you either follow along or go back to sleep?!
Ken: Be like Dan.
Me: This argument has gone on way too long.
Ken: Are you staying home today?
Me: This is futile.
Literary Magazine: Greetings. We really enjoyed your short story and would like to publish it. We just need you to make a few minor revisions.
Me: I can do that. What were you thinking?
Lit Mag: Get rid of the family next door. They’re not important to the plot and they push the word count up.
Me: Get rid of them? But they add a bit of colour to the setting. Plus, the father’s presence allows the reader to infer a lot about the way the town perceives the main character. He’s like an Everyman.
Lit Mag: All right. We can live with the family, but we need you to lose the last paragraph. Just end it with the boy and the woman eating watermelon.
Me: Lose the last paragraph?! That’s where you find out the husband is dead all along!
Lit Mag: The husband’s DEAD?! Thanks for the spoiler. Regardless, it’s not necessary.
Me: NOT NECESS—look mate, you don’t want a writer, you want a bloody stenographer!
Lit Mag: We’re a bloody small university press, we are! We may not know writing but we know what we like!
Lunchtime. Jack’s Office.
Jack: Who’d have thought we’d be sitting here using “Teams” on our Iphones. I miss the old days. Do you know, they’re not even making laptops with CD drives in them anymore? I remember my first computer—it was a Commodore 64.
Me: Commodore 64? You were lucky. I typed my honours thesis on a Vic 20.
Jack: I remember doing a lot of my high school essays on an electric typewriter.
Me: Electric? Ooh, we used to DREAM of electric typewriters. I learned to type on an old manual that weighed more than you did.
Jack: At least with computers, you could save everything on diskette instead of having to use carbon paper. Remember those floppy discs?
Me: Floppy discs? You were lucky. Back in my day, we had to save all our data on CASSETTE TAPES. And when the data was saved, we had to go outside and lick the road clean with our tongues.
Me: Nothing. Remember when we all had Blackberries?
Jack: Blackberry? You were lucky. I had a flip phone for years.
Me: Flip phones?! You were lucky to have one of THEM. Back in my day, we had car phones the size of a laptop bag that plugged into the car. And they were RADIOACTIVE. We DREAMED of flip phones.
Jack: But you try to tell the young people of today that–
Me: And they won’t believe you.
9 pm. The front door opens.
Me: Oh! It’s you!
Ken: Who were you expecting—the Spanish Inquisition?
Titus (*flies into room*): NO ONE expects the Spanish Inquisition!
Me: Nice cloak.