Tuesday, September 16, 2014

If life was perfect, we wouldn't need irony.

If life was perfect we wouldn't need irony.  God gave us irony to deal with a reality that is sometimes intolerable and often annoying.  

What is irony?  Here are some dictionary definitions:

  1. The expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
  2. A state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.

For the true ironist that doesn't come close. Good irony is a powerful weapon. It's a stand-off.  You on one side - the offending reality on the other.  You say, "I'm going to take you down."

If we had the time to sit around and think about life, some of us would be a little bitter.  God didn't want a group of bitter people so He thought,  I'll give that group irony.  If they can make fun of everything they'll be fine. What do I care?  I made them, too, you know.  So who is the ironist here?

The dictionary gives these synonyms for irony: sarcasm, cynicism, sardonicism. I don't think so.

Sarcasm is crude.  Irony is exquisite.  There is no hope in cynicism.  Irony on the other hand is optimistic.  It's problem solving.  Look,  here's a way to turn this around and make it fun.

Sardonicism a word only used in old historical novels, is more like sarcasm.

There are people who never use or have a need of irony.  They see life as a sunny, faith driven garden of delight.   I don't discount this one bit.  It can happen. I know how to talk to these people and even like them.  I park my irony at the door and engage sincerely.

On the other hand,  when two ironists meet and recognize each other, it is a  sight to behold. They will go back and forth, giggling and nodding.  I have a friend who comes to my house when he can't find irony anywhere else.  It's like going to your favorite pizza joint.  You need a fix, a compass point, to set your path and send you back into the world.

There is a store near me called The Irony.  It's on a highway and not easy to visit but I wanted to see what I would find there.  Would there be bins with menus of ironic statements for all of life's vicissitudes? Alas, no.  They make decorative fences, gates and objects out of metal.