Idle notion Friday: pulling a Schettino, hiding the fart, and crimes of dispassion

Hell with the gravitas. Hell with that distinguished behavior. I’m about to let my hair down!

Cause I’m such a serious guy. Can’t you tell?

A Friday such as this was an unscalable hurdle of seriousness. I can never bear down or frown for a moment and lucidly contemplate life’s deviant textures. It’s a flippant day. Darting around in a cloud of foolishness. I can’t always be serious. I too can be goofy. But on the other hand, isn’t the overly conscious effort to portray lightheartedness a self-defeating act in itself? By attempting to express that which you are not, you are in effect displaying enormous amounts of that which you are attempting to disguise. Or…something along those lines.

Most amusing in this human life are the grand spectacles which fill our vision with simultaneous doses of tragedy and excruciating comedy. Such extreme emotions are rough on our mental faculties and the act of digesting such contrasting input creates a frisson in our mind that elicits baffling behavior and group mentalities.

Tragedy+Comedy kicked off the year 2012 in the name of Francesco Schettino and his bumbling and un-Captain-like command of his cruise ship, Costa Concordia, which he ran aground the rocks of Italy’s Tuscan coast. As news of this shipwreck has seeped into the news since the “incident” on Friday the 13th, the details have also blossomed incrementally in expanding levels of ridicule for the 52-year-old tanned captain who “fell” into a lifeboat, caught a taxi home, and failed to return to his sinking ship as he blubbered like a little boy in light of the damage he had wreaked. And the phone call where he gets castigated by a Coast Guard member is classic. Schettino’s futile attempts at minimizing his role in the disaster, from its onset when he steered the cruise liner dangerously close to the coastline to the subsequent unraveling of events as he fled the ship (but not before helping himself to dinner at 10:30, about and hour and a half after hitting rock). His panicked and embarrassing excuses (as the one where he claimed to have actually saved lives which might have some credence in only the most disconnected and abstract manner) are nothing short of the finest example of tragicomedy possible.

And his name. His name could not have been more fitting of a person who seeks to excuse (ie, weasel) his way out of such an overwhelmingly publicly shameful situation as this. In fact, his name can be a newly coined phrase when describing a person whose culpability is ludicrously obvious and self-apparent and made more so by his plaintive excuses which rapidly degenerate into baffling distortions of reality. This can be now known as “pulling a Schettino.” The next time someone tries to extricate themselves from a situation you caught them at red-handed…when they try to deflect attention with the most tawdry stream of excuses, you merely have to tell this person: “You are full of Schettino!” Full of Schettino will now enter the parlance of human infamy. And if said with a simultaneous Italian lilt and accompanied by dramatic hand gestures, the phrase will carry much more weight.

And speaking of water, today I was using the bathroom at work. Doing #1, or “little house” as my ex-wife used to call it. It’s a large bathroom and one of the stalls was occupied. I used the urinal farthest from the stalls and embarked upon my business when suddenly a descending bubble of gas began to make its presence known. You know, it strikes sometimes while you are urinating and if withheld, makes the urination flow less voluminous or hearty. That “gas” thing. So I felt the gas bubble descend but I’m too modest to let it blast even though the guy in the stall probably wouldn’t know who the culprit was. Still, he could wrap up things quickly and burst out the door and my anonymous fart cover would be blown. This is incredibly serious. Shameful. It might even tarnish my non-existent reputation at work. No, I couldn’t chance it. In such instances, I flush the urinal and hope that I can release the bubble’s persistent ire behind the drowning flood of flushed urinal water’s whoosh sound. Alas, it did not work today! The gas bubble was grand and would not be contained within the span of time it took an industrial urinal to flush. After the first disguising flush, my statute of limitations was effectively expired. You are not permitted two flushes to disguise the bubble explosions. You just can’t. So now, with the guy still secluded in the stall, I was forced to let the bubble expel silently. I tried. As I urinated I concentrated on expelling the bubble ever so silently and innocuously. Alas, I failed! She ripped, and rather loudly. Yikes. The man in the stall had to have heard that. Now the problem was that he could not find out who it was that tooted so shamelessly in his presence. My mission now was to flee! Flee before he wrapped up his shit, so to speak, but also, to wrap up before someone walked into the bathroom and unwittingly said my name or spoke to me, necessitating my response and thus blowing my cover. This was not a simple mission. I was not only attempting to flee before the man finished, it was imperative I flee before an innocent bystander entered the bathroom and triangulated my identity. This was urgent business! I washed my hands quickly, the faint echo of my bubble burst still ringing in my ears, and I dashed out. I think I had some trickle left. Not good. Not a good bathroom visit. But at least me and my bubble petulance remained anonymous thanks to my swift thinking and efficient escape. The guy is probably wondering even now who let that one rip while he was ensconced behind the stall walls. But he doesn’t know!

Which of course segues nonsensically to the dinner table at my parents house earlier tonight where I had stopped to pick my son up and eat a quick dinner. My mom mentioned a news story involving the mysterious murder/decapitation/defooting of that fellow up in the canyons outside Griffith Park. She said the police believe it was a “crime of passion.” I suddenly thought something. I announced I would like to see what a crime of dispassion is like. I think it would go something like this. The criminal walks nonchalantly to his victim, waves the gun around apathetically and mumbles, “I’d like your money. If you give it to me, that’s great. If you don’t, that’s fine,I don’t really care. I probably won’t even shoot you. Can you give me your money?” This is said and done while slouching and barely making eye contact with the intended victim. A true crime of dispassion.