Columns » Bob Lancaster

Mostly fails



I wanted to use up arrows and down arrows, but the computer balks and sends me No comprendo messages. This is an old game it plays with me. The name of the game is Let's Drive Assmunch Crazy. Or, Let's Get His Goat.

So forget the arrows. I'll try some other shorthand, Twitteristic device. Instead of an up arrow, we'll use WTG, meaning way to go. For a down arrow, we'll just say fail. Fail is another way of saying this sucks. It's what the young people of today, and the computer literate old-timers, say where the GI of yesterday said snafu. Boner, trainwreck, pulling a Nixon, stinking up the joint, and evacuating into your mess kit are other old variants of fail.

Saying fail is a way of saying "Bad job!" as opposed to the "Good Job!" that today's young parents bestow on everything their perfect children do short of outright, inescapable, undeniable failure. They say "Good job!" when it's only an average job, or even a pisspoor or halfass effort — or when it's a catastrophic job, like they would've told Bernie Madoff or the Casey Anthony jury "Good job!"

Or they'll tell the child "we'll get 'em next time" or some other such lame encouragement — anything to spare the little sucker shame or embarrassment for his or her latest fail.

You probably don't remember the late Cub McCool, the bowlegged martinet manager of one of the Little League baseball teams in my hometown, but he wasn't one to indulge these pretty euphemisms for on-the-field failures. His son Kabo, at age 10 or 11, was a pitcher on his father's team, and when Kabo would have an off night, as all pitchers do — walk in a run, make an inopportune wild pitch — his old pap would take off his belt, saunter out to the mound, and whup the daylights out of the boy out there in front of teammates, the other team, umpires, spectators, God, and everybody. Whup him all the way back to the dugout. As sorry a thing as I ever saw.  

The "Good Job!" method is certainly preferable to that, but I wonder if the complete evasion of accountability for job performance really fools anybody, or spares anybody, or does anybody any good. A fail doesn't become a WTG even if you do contortions trying to make it one.

An epic fail, as I understand it, is when you screw up big time, like old Cub whaling his boy or Rush on sluts or vacationing Mitt tying the dog on top of the car. Somebody with a sense of personal integrity going to work for Rupert Murdoch would be an epic fail.

But I'll not get into degrees of fail today. Just fails and WTGs in lieu of the arrows, and if I don't get on with it, I'll soon be running out of room here before I even get started. That would be a fail on my part — not epic maybe, but without excuse, likely sufficient to get Big Boss Man over yonder muttering and warming up a scrub.

OK, then, WTG = up arrow; fail = down arrow. Here are a few from the quiver:

WTG, HSU at Arkadelphia. Maybe a black prez can finally clear up for us exactly what a Reddie is.

Fail, Willard R. for his lame idea that saying y'all and professing to like grits can make you a Suth'ner. An idea that won't git-r-done. Love Jesus and guns and hate anybody of a different complexion and we'll talk about it. And ain't no Mormon Southerners. You have to choose.

WTG, Trixie Terrier. A dog as exemplar to all us apes.

Fail, Franklin Graham. Bro. Billy must be proud.

WTG, Robert the tire in the movie "Rubber." Yeah, he's eccentric, and a serial killer, but hey, vulcanization will do that to you.

Fail, exotic wagering on horses, dogs. A guaranteed long-term loser.

WTG, Odd Blake. A relative of mine, long dead. Thought I'd give him a shout-out on account of I'm guessing he never got one above-ground.

Fail, Mark Martin. Being called mister, as in Mr. President, was plenty enough respect for George Washington; not for this bird.

Fail, Paul Crowder, for thinking it would be all right to buy the fishing license after you'd caught the fish and laid claim to the state record.

Fail, all of you birth-canal control freaks, as long as it's others' canals and you controlling.

WTG, P.D.Q. Bach, for the overture subtitle he gave to one of the Gothic masterpieces he recently saved from obscurity: Es war ein dark und shtormy nacht.

Fail, Haley Barbour for the notion that you should turn murderers a-loose if they kept your silver polished ("Good job!") and your shoes shined. Variation on an old Huckabee fail theme.

Best symbols of fail, still them $300-million of unusable FEMA trailers intended for Katrina vics, abandoned at Hope.  

Fail, bounty football.

WTG, Karl Pilkington.

Fail, Dallas Cowboys. I think we all know why.

Fail, snake charmers. Here's a recent ADG headline: "Snake charmers see time passing them by." Welcome to the club, snake charmers. We all see time passing us by. Don't none of us like it. But what's to be done about it? Sky-dive? Sleep with a black panther on your bedroom chest-of-drawers, licking its chops?

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