By: William Thomas, For comments, ideas and copies of The True Story of Wainfleet, go to

Ridiculous – unreasonable, farcical, absurd, deserving of derision or laughter.

Maybe it’s me – a good wire walk spoiled – but I still think Nik Wallenda’s death-death-defying walk across the roiling maw, of ‘The Mighty Niagara’ made safe by wearing a security harness is one of the most ridiculous things I have ever heard.  Like Spider-Man wearing a parachute or Pamela Anderson wearing a bra – somehow it’s just not right.

It seems that as the planet gets hotter, smaller and more populated, the incidence of the ridiculous is increasing at an alarming rate.  Although it’s difficult to define the exact beginning of this ‘age of ridiculousness,’ I believe it began in 1973 when Henry Kissinger, the brains behind America’s secret wars in Laos and Cambodia where the US military planes dropped one million tons of explosives, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Or maybe it began in 1867 when Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, for whom the Nobel Peace prize is named, received a patent for his invention of dynamite which led to the making of bombs.

Or maybe it began as late as 1994 when a US court awarded Stella Liebeck $2,860,000 for personal injury suffered when she spilled a cup of McDonald’s hot coffee in her lap.

I know it was long before NBA star Ron Artest changed his name to Metta World Peace and Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta became Lady Gaga.  (No, Justin Time and Ben Dova had every right to change their names.)

You could argue that this ‘era of the absurd’ began with trends – the hula hoop, the twist, planking, owling, ice cream coning and men who wear beards shaped like monkey tails.

Maybe it’s preposterous products that fuel the faction of the farce.  Like the ‘cateyeciser’ – a hand-held laser that has your feline lunging around the room at a disappearing light.  Or the ‘booty pop’ described as a bootylicious wonderbra for you not-so-perky butt.  Or ‘tiddy bear,’ a small teddy bear women are urged to place on their chest while driving so that the top of the seat belt does not irritate … okay, their ‘tiddies.’  Sketchers anyone?

Maybe you were watching TV one evening, dozed off, woke up and still half asleep noticed that Paula Abdul was a highly paid judge … of talent!?!

Perhaps it was that bizarre scene outside a Los Angeles courthouse as the world awaited the OJ Simpson verdict.  Hundreds of African Americans marched up and down the sidewalk with signs echoing lawyer Johnny Cochrane’s line about the mysterious glove:  “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit!”  Across the street a small, balding white man sat on a lawn chair with a sign that read:  “If they acquit, they’re full of —-!”

Or maybe you share my sense of the ludicrous about Marcia Clark, the lead prosecutor in the OJ trial who lost the case while having a love affair with fellow prosecutor Christopher Darden, then received a $4.2 million advance to write a book about it and today still makes millions going around the country talking about it.  (Perennial losers like the Toronto Maple Leafs should be so profitable!  Okay, bad example.)

Maybe the ridiculous revolution came to you very recently.  Like last week’s news item that a British auction house is offering a vial of former President Ronald Reagan’s dried blood up to the highest bidder.  Or with Wimbledon’s center court tread to shreds and the Olympics only weeks away, the Brits are actually paying a man to watch grass grow.  Or the piece on the front page of today’s Toronto Star about the York University student who accidentally sent a demonic photo of Nicholas Cage to a job posting instead of her resume and … got the job!

Maybe it’s current politics.  Which you find most ridiculous?  A. The Stephen Harper government ordering a fleet of Arctic ice breakers that are being built just as fast as the Arctic ice is melting?  B. The Stephen Harper government building jails just as fast as the crime rate is falling?  C. The Stephen Harper government ordering an expensive and some say malfunctioning fleet of fighter jets now that we’re pulling out of Afghanistan?  D. Stephen Harper.


The Contest

Please, send me your most ridiculous whatever-event, thought, quote, product, idea – and the best will appear in an upcoming column.  Keeping in mind that brevity is the soul of wit, the very best, most ridiculous entry will be rewarded a 8×10 photocopy of the most ridiculous newspaper pictures I have hanging on my office wall.

As hard as I try, I can’t keep up.  Help!

Your choice of … President George W. Bush in his spiffy air cadet uniform aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1st 2003 announcing the end of all major combat in the war in Iraq.  (On that day there were 130,000 American troops in Iraq.  Four years later there were 156,000.)

Che Guevara and Fidel Castro putting on Cuba’s only golf course at the time, near Varadero, both wearing berets, military fatigues and combat boots.  (You never know when the water hazard suddenly turns into The Bay of Pigs.)

“The Double Whammy.”  Prime Minister hopeful Stockwall Day on a jet ski and … and Prime Minister Stephen Harper wearing a Stetson and a cowboy outfit looking like he’s oh so desirous of being the third man into the tent on Brokeback Mountain.



For comments, ideas and

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of  Wainfleet, go to

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