I Think, Therefore I’m in Trouble

 Nov 20, 2017 12:00 PM
by Marcel Strigberger

Are the thought police coming?

Fast forward a bit.  Government legislation says all our thoughts are to be monitored. To ensure compliance residents must wear a thought transponder (“TT”) on their heads. 

You zoom along the highway when suddenly you hear a siren and see a gray vehicle with flashers on, behind you. You pull over and out comes a non-uniformed officer, identifying himself as P.C.- Politically Correct Mr/Ms/Zee/Hee .

You ask, “Tee hee?”

The officer snaps, “Not tee hee. This is no laughing matter.”

“Sorry officer”, you say. “Was I speeding?”

Officer replies, “You were doing 140 kilometers but that is not important. Your TT device was not fastened on properly.  We could only make out some of your thoughts.”

“But officer, I was not thinking offensive thoughts.”

“Yes you were.  My partner says you were thinking about ordering a Tim Hortons double double and a jelly donut.  My partner is on a diet and she//he/zee/tee/ found your thoughts non inclusive and offensive.”

“Constable, I meant no offense. I don’t really have to have the donut.”

“Too late. My partner feels excluded now and is traumatized.  He/she/zee/zim/ had to go to the back seat of the car and sit in that assigned safe area for 60 seconds.  And seek counseling.  I can charge you with assaulting a thought officer.”

“Oh please don’t do that officer.  It won’t happen again. Next time I’ll think about having just the coffee, no sugar, black.”

“Did I hear you say black? “

Oops, sorry again. We used to call a plain coffee with no cream or milk that until recently.  Old habit of the mind. I meant have my coffee colourless. ”

“Well you know the penalty for bad habits of the mind don’t you?”

“Not a lobotomy.”

“Not this time.  You’re lucky.  My partner says he/she/zid/zo has just checked in with psychology support and fortunately has been able to overcome the effects of your thoughtless thoughts”


“Here’s a ticket.  It will cost you 10 thinking points. Penalty will likely be community service. You’ll have to spend time tearing down offensive monuments of some athlete or actor or politician who thought about sex.”

“I appreciate your leniency officer.”

“You are lucky...but another 11 points and you hit lobotomy”

“That would be twenty-one?”

“Hey, didn’t I warn you. You can’t say 21. That’s reminiscent of that casino card game, describing a “Jack.”

“Of course.  And isn’t that game now called, ‘Colourless Jack?’ Or rather Jack-Jacqueline?”

“Yeah, I see you’ve learned something. Here’s your ticket.”

“But I see the ticket does not cite my thoughts at all. It just has a code on it.”

“I can’t write down any of those thoughts. That would in itself be an offense on my part.”

“Of course sir/madam/ Zid, I mean Zed.”

“Hey watch it! You can’t say ‘Zed’. It’s a Canadian expression that might offend the rest of the world.  Have a nice day.”


Please check out my new book, Poutine on the Orient Express: An Irreverent Look at Humour, available on Amazon, iBooks and other retailers.

Please also visit my new website, www.marcelshumour.com,  ( www.marcelshumor.com ) if you are south of the border), formerly legalhumour.com (legalhumor.com, if you are south of the border, again.)




Hello? Whatever

 Nov 2, 2017 9:00 PM
by Marcel Strigberger

     The youth seem to have a language of their own, as I guess they always have had. It is not quite a whole language. It just involves a number of distinct phrases.

     The other night one of my daughter's friends left a voice mail message: "Hi Natalie.  Like it's me. Like it's one o'clock like but that's OK.  Like you can call me back tomorrow."

     I am actually paraphrasing.  In reality there were at least 3 or 4 more likes in that message.  My daughter of course can readily match her friends in likes. And we're talking university grads.

     I overheard a friend of hers say, "Hey dad, like I have an exam next week in nuclear physics.  Like I'm not certain about the part about splitting the atom.  Can you help me?"

     Where is the Ministry of Education? Or should I say, like where is it?

     Then there is that greeting they use.  I don't mean, "hi", "how do you do" or "hello".  My lawyer son greets his friends with a resonating "Hey".  The recipient of  this greeting usually answers in kind with his or her "hey".  Then along comes another chum and the two of them shout out to him, "Hey".  The chum grunts back, "Hey".

     Hello has quite another meaning these days.  It is more derogatory.  If someone does not see the obviousness of your argument, you say to him sarcastically, "Hello??"     This is seen for example when your kids ask you for money for a movie and you give them $15.00, thinking you're being generous.  They'll look at you quizzically and say, "Hello??”

     This hello usually means, "What about the popcorn and a drink.  Don't you know this is the year 2017?  A combo now runs about $15.00.  This isn't the 1960s anymore where ten bucks got you two movies, a coke and popcorn and a Volkswagen beetle".

     That last sentence can be completed with yet another expression, namely the phrase, "Get a life dad."

     That expression is often used by kids as a synonym for, "Hey, you just don't understand what's happening in the world. We do."

     This "hey" is the traditional hey, meaning "by the way".

     My younger son Gabriel uses a word which is very convenient.  It answers many questions, other than the one I might be asking.  I'll ask him, "Gabriel, did you see my newspaper?"  He'll respond, "Whatever".  I notice he and his colleagues use that one frequently.  It's almost as if I am now supposed to respond, "Oh yes of course, it's in the den under the sofa cushion.  How silly of me.  Thank you."

     I wonder whether that word can get the kids through an exam. It would be neat if on a history test a question appears asking, "Who was Napoleon?" and you can get away with replying, "Whoever". After all the kids probably know the answer anyway.  Why bother them for the details?

     My favourite expression is the term used when there are problems.  There is a word used covering all these contingencies.  Natalie will say, I have to speak to my significant other about why he did not get me flowers for Valentine's Day. He probably has "issues".

For the uninitiated, an issue is not an edition of a newspaper like the one I couldn't find earlier on as it was located "wherever".  Issues go beyond problems.  An issue denotes an entire psychological makeup explaining the behaviour of the culprit who has them.  You use that term and you sound knowledgeable.  If for example you want to make a worthwhile comment about why North Korean leader Kim Jong would want to nuke us all, just say in passing, "Kim Jong has issues."  All listening to you will nod affirmatively, take a puff on their virtual pipes and say, "Of course, that's it."

     Bless the kids.  And what do we learn from all of this?  Whatever.


I am recently retired from the practice of law.  Alas, I have the leisure to observe and laugh even more. I would be delighted to speak about using humour, avoiding trouble or otherwise amuse you and your group at your next event. Please email me at marcel@marcelshumour.com.

I am also delighted to announce the launch of my new book, Poutine on the Orient Express: An Irreverent Look at Humour, available on Amazon, iBooks and other retailers.  It would make a great read for anyone who has ever naively tried to use reward points expecting to book a "free" flight, had an airline lose their luggage, or wondered when your right to return to the all your can eat buffet legally ends.

Please visit my new website, https://www.marcelshumour.com/ formerly legalhumour.com.



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