The Hilarity of Spouse Beating

2009 December 7
by mockers

this is not funnyIt was about noon on a Saturday in November of 1996.  I was really hung over.  I had just turned 20 years old.  I was in Iowa City, Iowa (one of the greatest places on Earth, btw) watching the Hawkeyes take on some Big Ten rival.  The Hawkeyes had the ball in the red zone and were threatening to score.  I stood in the stands and foolishly hollered encouraging words that no one except my immediate neighbors would ever hear as the ball was snapped.

Wide receiver Tim Dwight ran a post pattern into the end zone as defenders quickly closed in on quarterback Matt Sherman.  At the last possible moment, Sherman threw his best imitation of a bullet toward the middle of the goal.  Timmy D picked up speed and concentrated on the ball.  60,000 of us screamed “Oowww!” as a safety’s helmet smashed into Dwight’s chest well before the ball was even close to him.

Immediately after yelling, “Oowww!” 60,000 of us looked to the ref, wondering if he intended to throw the pass interference flag was that would give the Hawks a first down with the ball on the 2 yard line. I was close to the play.  In fact, I remember wondering how the ref managed to show a five o’clock shadow when it wasn’t yet noon.  The ref appeared confused…then panicked.  He put his right hand on the flag and then finally removed it while shaking his head back and forth horizontally.

The entire stadium screamed in disbelief.  Thousands yelled, “What?!  No!!” in addition to several profanities.  Then, from the back of the student section came the chant, “The ref beats his wife! The ref beats his wife! The ref beats his wife!”

I considered this chant on some subconscious level.  Somewhere in my tiny brain I figured that people who beat people are bad.  I figured that this referee was of the appropriate age and probably not gay – therefore, it was likely he had a wife.  I certainly disagreed with the call that he had made and I wished to voice my displeasure by comparing him to someone bad.  After this subconscious debate, I joined in the chant.  It is possible that I may have also made reference to a physical relationship that he might have had with his own mother.

It was at this point that a graduate student (it’s always the graduate students) jumped in front of my section and screamed, “Shut up!  Shut up you guys!  Domestic violence is not funny!  Domestic violence is never funny!”  Then the weirdest thing happened – we shut up.  We felt generally bad about ourselves.  It felt as though voicing my displeasure in this manner was some sort of endorsement for domestic violence.  I felt like a wife beater…

Five years later I was working for a local government in one of the larger cities on the western side of Missouri (not one of the greatest places on Earth, btw).  Part of my job was to go to dangerous, drug addicted people’s houses in the middle of the night and tell them that they couldn’t live there anymore.  These people would stay up for a week or two straight doing nothing but cooking methamphetamines.  And by nothing, I mean nothing.  They wouldn’t let the dog out to crap, so it crapped on the floor.  They piled the trash on the kitchen floor.  They often had their water shut off, so they had to do their own business in a coffee can – and in one instance – in a hole in the basement floor.  I remember one time my boss decided to go on a call with one of my co-workers.  Once they got there he decided for some crazy reason that he wanted to know if the smoke detector worked.  As he pushed his finger into the little button, the detector’s plastic housing fell off the mount and roaches came raining down on my co-worker’s head.  Needless to say, she was not pleased.

If they didn’t blow themselves up in the cooking process, the tweakers would invariably get in a fight with their spouse.  One of them would win and just before the loser was beaten to death, one of the filthy toothless children would get one of the neighbors who still had a phone to call the cops.  It was then that my co-workers and I got involved.  I remember kicking one family out on Christmas Eve – Dad had amphetamine psychosis and Mom’s face looked like a blue catcher’s mitt.  I was asked, “Where are we supposed to go?”  My answer was a stern, “I don’t know.  Just not here.”

I felt generally bad about myself.  I wanted to help, but there was little to nothing that I could do.  For every one of these people that I get involved with, there’s 20 more that I’ll never meet.  Considering the volume of this kind of stuff that I saw on a regular basis, the best thing I could do was enforce the law and hope hitting bottom sent these people in the right direction. It felt as though pretending to be apathetic was some sort of endorsement for domestic violence.  I felt like a wife beater…

Yes, my friends, I’ve seen spousal abuse.  In practice, it’s not very funny.

I have not, however, seen Saturday Night Live since the early 90’s because it’s only slightly less funny than spousal abuse in practice.  In fact, I find it hard to understand how they can consistently assemble very, very funny people in the same room to create such a profoundly unfunny product…I’m sure it has something to do with the ghost of Michael O’Donoghue.

Anyway, I was on Yahoo! last night checking my secret email account that I use to communicate with my mistresses (maybe adultery’s not funny either?) and I came across this “story.”  First of all – really?  You’re reporting on what “thelipstickfemme” wrote in the Huffington Post’s comment section?  This is news?  Second of all, can you imagine how pathetic the life of a person must be when they watch Saturday Night Live and immediately run to Entertainment Weekly’s website to bitch about it?  I am old, fat and married with children and even I had better things to do.  Then I thought about the definition of the word “abuse” – which Webster says is:

“Main Entry: 1abuse

Pronunciation: \?-?byüs\

Function: noun

Etymology: Middle English, from Middle French abus, from Latin abusus, from abuti to consume, from ab- + uti to use

Date: 15th century

1 : a corrupt practice or custom
2 : improper or excessive use or treatment : misuse <drug abuse>
3 obsolete : a deceitful act : deception
4 : language that condemns or vilifies usually unjustly, intemperately, and angrily
5 : physical maltreatment”

I wondered, is it really “abuse” when the “victim” is a handsome young athlete who (to an actuary at least) is worth over a billion dollars and gets to have sex with a woman who is hotter than donut grease on fire?

If we’re taking the “physical maltreatment” definition I would say that this doesn’t qualify as “abuse” at all.   To an outsider looking in, it appears that the punishment fits the crime.  The only injustice here is what SNL did to poor Keenan Thompson.  At least he’s working…I wish someone would hook Kel up with a check.

Finally, I thought back to Hawkeye football and western Missouri trailer-tweakers and Michael O’Donoghue.  Then I thought about Tiger Woods and Saturday Night Live and “Lindsay” – the most pathetically mockable individual I have encountered in weeks (and I look for that kind of thing) and finally decided that 1) There is potential for everything to be funny – including domestic abuse.  The trick is to find the time and place.  For example, you might want to do your rape jokes at a seedy club toward the end of your set as opposed to doing them while a rape is actually in progress.  2) If you routinely run around saying, “Shut up!  Stop it!  _____ is never funny!” – you should probably go home and register your complaints on the Entertainment Weekly website where you’re not likely to bother anybody.

3 Responses leave one →
  1. 2009 December 7
    AngryWhiteGuy permalink

    I’m just happy you called Saturday Night Live “Saturday Night Live” insted of SNL, 75 percent of the time (read WVSR post). Kenan is funny as shit. Kel’s probably beating his wife as we post this.

  2. 2009 December 7

    We have a standard line where we work when throwing people out (which happens way more than I care to think about) “You don’t have to go home, but ya can’t stay here.” I stole it from an ex-cop who beleived that it somehow managed to lighten the situation just enough to make it easy to toss out drunks, the homeless and whatnot.

    Also I bought my hubby a shirt that says “A restraining order is just another way to say i love you.” and no one, I mean no one, finds it funny. I think as long as your not beating you wife, or have a history of same its freeking hysterical! But people dont have much of a sense of humor…

  3. 2009 December 9
    Leo permalink

    The Saturday Night Live skit was FUNNY. It was meant to be humorous and it was not real life, of course domestic violence is never funny in real life.

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