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Excuse my snarkasm

April 19th, 2012

Ernest Hemingway once said, “There’s nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.” Well, that may have been Hemingway’s method, but it is not going to be mine. Quite frankly, it seems a little too messy. I do not think that my computer’s internal workings would benefit from being bled upon. And, while I admire Hemingway’s strong stomach, some of us are a bit more squeamish when it comes to the sight of blood.

Okay, I’ve bled that joke dry (the puns just keep coming!), but what I’m trying to say, in a very silly way, is that I do not take my writing as seriously as Mr. Hemingway … that was an unintentional poem.

Moving on to more serious business …

All week in class we’re bogged down with work. We have to read textbooks and case studies and scholarly articles and some of the driest literature in the English language (and sometimes not in the English language). If you happen to pick up a newspaper, or watch the news, it seems as though it’s all doom and gloom. Basically, dear reader, you probably already have enough heavy reading to do and you don’t need me dragging you down.

When I told my mother that I would be writing a column for The Carroll News she gave me some advice, as mothers are wont to do. “Clara,” she told me, “make sure you aren’t too snarkastic.” “Snarkastic” is my mother’s clever combination of the words “snarky” and “sarcastic” and, even though you won’t find it in the Oxford English Dictionary, it is probably the best word available when it comes to describing my sense of humor.

So, in light of my mother’s advice, I’ve decided to carefully monitor myself and to keep the column as light hearted and “snarkasm” free as possible. I’m not going to promise that the column is going to be totally devoid of sarcasm, or even negativity, because some situations cannot be handled without sarcasm and, similarly, some have to be looked at with a healthy amount of negativity.

I figure that, in the words of Walt Whitman, this is my chance to “sound my barbaric ‘yap’ over the roofs of the world,” and I’m not going to screw it up. Well, I might screw it up a little bit, but even if I do screw it up I will screw it up in a totally un-snarkastic way.

I’m not sure if all of you understand how much of an exercise in character alteration this will be for me. I’m not saying that I’m always making insensitive, snarkastic comments, but they come more easily to me than other things do. Making such comments is my way of dealing with uncomfortable or awkward situations; and since my whole life is an awkward situation it stands to reason that most of my discourse is snarkastic.

Just like “driving through hyperspace isn’t like dusting crops,” writing a column isn’t like writing an essay for your ethics class. In some ways it’s easier, and in some ways it’s harder. I don’t have to be as formal in my column, which is nice, but it may also be my downfall. If I don’t have to be formal there is an even bigger chance that I will succumb to the green monster that is snarkasm.

There is also this fundamental human mechanism that seeks approval from some outside source. It is hard for someone to simply write something for the masses to see, because they are afraid that they are not going to get that approval (I realize I’m making some hasty generalizations here, but bear with me). When writing an essay for class, one doesn’t have to worry so much because only one person is going to be reading what they have written and that person is aware of what the paper will be about (more or less).

Writing a column about whatever strikes my fancy can be awkward because, whether I know it or not, I want that approval and I don’t know if I’m going to get it. And that awkwardness that comes about can lead to snarkasm, which, from here on out, is my nemesis.

And so we’re off! Yes, thanks to Mother’s advice, we’ve left snarkasm behind, but that doesn’t mean that there will ever be a lack of humor or wit. So it begins …