Life’s a little too ironic

Jason Hanna

“A sting ray?! A sting ray took him out?!” That was my exact reaction to hearing that the great Steve Irwin had met his untimely end. This man has interacted with every single animal I can imagine and lived to tell about it. He has jabbed alligators with sticks, kissed venomous snakes and even carried his infant son, Bob, in one arm while feeding a chicken carcass to a crocodile with the other hand … and a stingray, which is considered non-lethal and has killed fewer than 20 people in history, took out the crocodile hunter with a freak shot? “Wow … that is ironic.”

That got me thinking about irony, that five-letter word that you learn in seventh grade. What is it exactly? I would take the time and find a real definition to give you, but I think the situations that life presents would be far more accurate. Irony, my friends, is the eyebrow raise and slight nod you give your friend when he tells you the fire station burned down. It is showing up to your 10-year high school reunion and discovering the prom queen ended up marrying the nerd who peed himself during the pep rally freshman year. It’s that tightening up you feel in the pit of your stomach when the experienced and likable thief wants to retire, but takes one more job from the man in the shadows. In my own life, it’s the fact that the kid who grew up worshipping Georgetown now bleeds blue and white (I hate that shirt by the way).

Now that we have defined this cute little device, I think we should take some time to see how it has become so prevalent in our lives. Irony has become the new foundation on which comedy is built. Examine the plot of your favorite show, and try to tell me our new acquaintance hasn’t popped up. Two major shows around here seem to be “Seinfeld” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”

Every single episode of both shows revolves around a character getting completely blindsided by the last logical result of their actions coming to fruition. The thing that makes the whole formula funny is that as it’s all unfolding, a big fat “No way!” is all your brain can seem to squeeze out as it straps in for the ride

Allow yourself to imagine, if only for a minute or two, how the years of our lives would pass by if there weren’t this constant reminder that reality doesn’t always feel like playing by the rules. You see, irony is the salt that preserves our everyday lives and keeps things interesting. It allows us to appreciate the stamp that destiny imprints beneath the surface of the routine and mundane occurrences. It seems to be fate’s big smirk on our little lives. Irony defines our existence every bit as much as our existence defines irony. Sometimes it gives us a brief moment of living satire, and other times it takes a good man (seriously Irwin, you will be missed).

Good or bad, I couldn’t imagine living without it. That’s why when fate looks down and smirks at our little lives, I think we should all take the time to look up and smirk right back.