Friday, April 17, 2009
Uncle Frank Is this a Joke?
Kevin McCallister was one of the great thinkers of his time. He was constantly questioning and re-questioning reality in his own mind. When Buzz told him about Old Man Marley turning zombies into mummies with his salt, Kevin whispered to himself "mummies?". When he couldn't find his family the morning that they left for Paris, Kevin asked aloud "Uncle Frank, is this a joke?". I find myself asking the same question these days, only not to Uncle Frank. I don't know him. When the Florida International Dean or Athletic Director introduced basketball legend Isaiah Thomas as Isaiah Thompson the other day I asked myself, "Is this a running joke amongst people of prominence?"
How many times do people rehearse their speeches before they give them? I don't know, I've never had to give a really big speech. But it seems to me that you would want to have all of your facts straight before you put yourself out there. Yet we still have these errors all the time. In the recent past, John Kerry has been the most prominent guy to screw up names beyond recognition. Who can forget when he praised the Boston Red Sox great slugger "Manny Ortez". What? How can a senator from Boston not know who Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz are? Furthermore, how did he come up with that hybrid? Kerry also committed the atrocity of referring to Lambeau Field as "Lambert Field". This makes him a repeat offender. He is not alone in Boston though. Senator Kennedy once referred to home run champions Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa as "Mike McGwire and Sammy Sooser". Close. Why would a politician go out of his way to mention an athlete, and then get his name wrong? It's gotta be a running joke.
These slips are not only made by politicians though. Who can forget when Jeff Gordon was booed mercilessly for calling Wrigley Field "Wrigley Stadium". It was music to my ears. Now we have the man from Florida International, with Isaiah sitting right behind him, with a place card with Thomas' full name on it in front of him. "I would like to introduce Isaiah Thompson". Oof. Considering all of these mistakes, and how painfully obvious the correct answers were, part of me thinks that this has to be a joke. But then I think of a university president like Alice P. Gast, or a stuffy politician and I say "no, this is not a joke". It certainly makes for some great comedy either way.