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Shell Shocked: An ode to crankiness

By Staff | Nov 22, 2017

I think flowers are overrated. Yes, they’re colorful and pleasant to look at. But think of all the work that goes into growing flowers. As a city boy, I rarely had an opportunity to view a flower garden let alone grow one. My world was street games. I never got stung by a bee playing stickball.

I think protein is overrated. The nutritionists tell us incessantly that the proper intake of protein leads to higher energy levels and lean body fat. Hogwash. (When was the last time you heard that word?) Balderdash (and that word, too?). I eat lots of food that contain protein. I also used to make protein shakes. The only benefit I ever got out of all that protein was the ability to do one extra push up. That was it. I went back to eating lots of fat and carbohydrates and my life improved.

I think getting a good education is overrated. So many textbooks to read,, term papers to write, homework to struggle over and apples to collect to become teachers’ pets. I think we should abandon formal education and focus on street smarts. Street smarts are all that’s needed to make it in the modern world. A college degree? A waste of four years. What has a diploma gotten you that street smarts haven’t? I’ve learned more from one of the bartenders at Doc Ford’s than I ever did in my sociology class in college.

Wedding anniversaries are overrated. After some years most people I know would rather forget that they’re even married. What wedding anniversary gifts can you continue to think of that your spouse doesn’t already have? Unless it’s a diamond studded tennis racket, an aircraft carrier, a horse of a different color or a velvet toaster. I stopped giving my wife an anniversary present when the number of roses I had gotten her throughout the years added up to one thousand. Personally, I manage to disappear for my entire wedding anniversary day. I used to tell my wife that I was going hunting. She never asked me for what.

NFL football games are overrated. Pass or run. Run or pass. Boring. There’s no novelty in the game anymore. Watching frog jumping contests is much more exciting. How many potato chips, pretzels and beer can you possibly consume watching four NFL games every Sunday? The NFL has perfected the art of bonding men and subordinating women. And it has managed to increase men’s waist sizes beyond social acceptability. Bring back lions and gladiators.

Roller coaster rides are overrated. I’d rather jump out of a plane without a parachute. I don’t like screaming at the top of my lungs as the roller coaster plunges to the earth defying gravity. I’d rather save my screams for more legitimate and timely reasons, like stubbing my toe.

Christmas is overrated. Christmas is an excuse to do caroling, buy unnecessary gifts, and be nice to people. Everyone also prays for a white Christmas. Folks, there’s no snow in Sanibel nor will there ever be. Stay home in Montana if you dream of a white Christmas. And save your singing for a bar that offers Karaoke. Just don’t stand outside my window and entertain me with “Silent Night.” If you do then the garden hose I will aim at you will suspend any belief you have in a silent night.

Sanibel is overrated. Birds, geckos, alligators, blackened fish, sea shells. You can find all of these in zoos, botanical gardens, the Discovery Channel and Times Square. The only redeeming virtue of Sanibel is that there are no traffic lights. Yes, there is no history of traffic tickets in Sanibel for going through a red light.

Bob Dylan is overrated. I haven’t been able to understand a word he sings for years now. Does he do that on purpose? Do his performances now require a libretto to understand the great man’s lyrics? I attended one of his recent concerts at the Barbara Mann last winter and heard guttural sounds coming out of his mouth. At first I thought that there was something wrong with the sound system but when I noticed members of the audience attempting to adjust their hearing aids I knew I wasn’t alone.

Exercising is overrated. Instead of lifting weights I’d rather lift a martini. Instead of running on a treadmill I’d rather walk a plank. Instead of stretching I’d rather shrink. Who needs bulging biceps and a 32-inch waist? Why do some people consider it a badge of honor? As long as I can wear a barrel and take out the garbage I’ll stay home and sit on the couch.

There, it’s all out of my system now.

-Art Stevens is a long-time columnist for The Islander. His tongue-in-cheek humor is always offered with a smile.