By Michael Heffernan
I do not know why I laugh when people get hurt, but I do. Not a staged pratfall like John Ritter pretending to take a shot to the nose from a swinging door in Three’s Company. Please don’t misunderstand me, I do not want to see someone seriously hurt; however, a stranger falling on ice … comedy gold in my twisted world. Better yet, someone texting and walking into a parked car or an ambush interviewer walking into a sign pole. I am not a mean person–really, I am not—but, there is something about a sudden fall down a small flight of stairs strikes me as humorous.
I know, deep down inside, many of you are just like me. You snicker and point, elbow your friend in the ribs and say, “look!” or “did you see that?” I would go as far as to say there is an element of universality to this humor. It is not the absurd faces or, wanting to see people in pain, that certainly is not it. I certainly would not laugh at someone falling out of a 10th floor window – I am not a monster! Maybe it is the cheap thrill of the unexpected or a quick giggle at someone else’s expense, a normal situation overwhelmed by a surreal absurdity. Like someone stepping on a rake. Yes, I have seen it happen, and let me tell you, it is exactly like in the cartoons … only better.
When, out-of-the-blue, an accident is hilarious, especially if it is someone you see as having it coming to them. Is there not an expression about dishes best served cold or, just desserts?
I myself am no stranger to the accidental slip or fall and the resulting red-faced walk of embarrassment, often times with more bruised than just my pride. Some of my friends say I am crazy, and maybe I am. However, I have the feeling I am not alone in my love of a jocular fall fest, whether it be on ice, skateboard or start with the sentence “Here, hold my beer.” Oftentimes, I find myself wondering what Sigmund Freud would say on the subject or about me. I imagine him saying it in a heavy stereotypical Germanic accent, “unt darefore you iz, how you zay … Bonkerz!”
In my own defense, I presume it can be traced back to my childhood. Perhaps, if I had not been introduced to such odd and frequently painful situations as a child my sense of humor may have been a tad more mainstream. Let me explain. We, my brother and I, were rambunctious children. Remember, this was a time when parents let children play alone outside and the idiotic term “playdate” was yet invented by what would become the soccer mom set. A summer morning included the maternal instructions to, “go play outside, come back when I call you for lunch … don’t rip your pants.”
My parents liked to take us on unusual and unforgettable vacations when we were very little, like the week we spent on a working farm. As I recall, I was about seven and my brother a year older. We would spend our days wandering alone down the lane to the beach—something unheard of in this day and age—and playing/torturing each other. It was not unheard of to dare each other to touch the electric fence designed to keep the cattle in their pasture. Often times we would to push each other out of the hayloft into the huge piles of unbaled hay while playing secret agent or even just for kicks. It was not an abnormal occurrence during that summer week to slide some leftovers into the other’s jacket and blow the dog whistle so the pack of eight or so farm dogs would come charging and bowl the victim of the prank over in their quest for treat.
Maybe it is a sign of the times; I am by no means no cultural philosopher, and I would never make such a claim. Nonetheless, I do know my parents and my maternal grandmother, who lived with us when I was a small child, in particular particular would scold me and lecture me on the evils of deriving such fiendish pleasure at other’s expense. These are the same people that laughed at the antics of Laurel and Hardy and The Keystone Cops. Therefore, in my own defense, I must say there was a fair amount of hypocrisy being served along with their admonishments. However, bear in mind these were the same people who apparently knew all the starving people in India personally, or so one would believe based on their dinnertime rebukes of my refusal to eat Brussels sprouts. But, I digress, and so back to present day East Setauket where I have of recent months developed a taste for the wonders of YouTube and the plethora of agonizing and humiliating video clips of people walking into signs and open manholes; alternatively, the seemingly endless array of trick bike spills.
As I sit here with a YouTube screen minimized, I am somewhat ambivalent about this revelation. Will people be shocked that I revel gleefully when someone just got their clock cleaned walking into a No Parking sign? Maybe, maybe not. I suspect there are more people with gallows humor than I suspect. I am sure there are many, many like me who laugh at a little embarrassment—especially if they are not the red-faced ones. After all, America’s funniest Home Videos—a cavalcade of home-brewed errors–ruled the airwaves for a decade. Thank God for the Internet and capability to binge on Netflix and YouTube. Their constant stream of off the air television shows’ steady stream of insanity in the form of skateboarders shattering their manhood on railings or wrists on concrete in the guise of entertainment. Or Reddit, and its massive collection of “NSFW” videos—although they can be overly graphic and frequently live up to the acronymicized phrase Not Suitable For Work tagged in the subject line. Such a mundane task such as walking or sitting upon a fence, for example, is turned into a laugh riot following an inadvertent misstep or accidentally getting your center of gravity off center. The resultant benign mishap is comedy gold in my book. Additionally, if happens to one of your friends in your presence … the stuff of legends. One minute walking down the street talking on a cell phone minding your own business and then Whamo! Right in the kisser!
Psychiatrists will tell you it has to do with an unexpected non-lethal alteration of routine. The Germans even have their own word for it: Schadenfreude, which Merriam-Webster defines as “a feeling of enjoyment that comes from seeing or hearing about the troubles of other people.” Personally, I do not get my kicks from hearing about the misfortunes of others; and, I would never wish harm or trouble on another person. Conversely, seeing someone, arms windmilling, and legs askew immediately prior to his or her derriere hitting the ice is precious. Now with summer officially over and the skateboards have mostly ben tucked away, I for one, am looking forward to the winter and all its spills and thrills.
By Sandra Dias
78 percent of students enrolled in college also have a full-time job. It may not seem a lot but it is. Going to school full-time and working full-time can be hard. Back then when things weren’t as expensive as they are now you weren’t expected to work and go to college. You were expected to complete your degree and then go out and find a job in your career path. Now everyone expects you to work and go to school. If you go to school from 8:00am to about 4:00pm and then work from 5:00pm to about 10:00pm, when are you going to do homework or spend time with your family?
Teachers think that they are the only ones that matter. That they’re the only class you’re taking. They don’t care that you’re taking five other classes. When they give you a big assignment they expect it in their hands the next day. They don’t care that you have other homework or that you’re working.
When it comes to parents they want you to get a good education and pay for the things you want and spend time with them. The only way to pay for things is to get a job.
When your boss expects you to work, they want you to work and stay focus on work. How can you focus when you know that you have a five-page paper waiting for you at home? Two-thirds of working students state that their primary reason for working is to pay tuition, fees, and living expenses.
I am blessed to have parents who are paying for me to go to college. I quit my job because I was too stressed and wasn’t doing well in school. My parents decided that they were going to pay for schooling while I stay focused and finish the program. A lot of students can’t say that. They may have their families support but still has to pay for their own education.
We are expected to work and go to school. This can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Students may not be able to focus in class because they are either trying to figure out when they’ll be able to do homework or they are just trying to stay awake.
Our society today wants us to have a good education and get a job to help and support a family. Students need to be able to go to school and not worry about being stressed.
By Elwood Lamb
You’re on your phone; you’re on your phone, and then BAM! Your life flashes before your eyes. You’re in your thirties and you have come to the realization that you have wasted a lot of time during your twenties. All this smartphone and social media usage wasted minutes of your life, but there just minutes right? Eventually minutes turn to hours, and hours turn to days, and days begin to become weeks and months, and then years.
Now you’re wishing you could go back in the hands of time and do it all over again but you can’t! You get one opportunity to live the life you’ve always wanted, take advantage. I’m pretty sure no one wants to look back ten years from now and question themselves on the time that they have wasted.
Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook provide an outlook for us to keep in contact with the world around us. We are constantly checking these sites whenever we get bored, have free time, or in some cases just being nosey. It’s a very addicting thing that we do but most people are unaware.
I always ask myself if it is worth it to keep up with this addiction. Quite frankly I do not think so. I think life would be much more enjoyable without these sites. Our socialization and communication skills would be better than what they are today. We fail to realize that without these sites and smartphone addiction, we would be able to enjoy ourselves more when it comes to hanging out with family, partying with friends, or even having conversations with one another.
In this generation we are growing up in, it is very hard to live without your phone because mostly everyone has one and uses it. If we had a challenge of living without our phones for maybe a month or a long period time, I would be all for it.
How many of you just happen to check your phone even when you do not have a notification of some sort? I bet all of you, even myself. It’s sickening. As the newest generation entering the real world, we’re failing to realize that this addiction is making us lazy. Making us waste valuable time, and slowing us from growing. I swear it’s a trap but we are too oblivious. Imagine if you didn’t have your phone? Imagine how much more efficient you would be. I’m not saying we’re not, but just think about all the goals we could reach, and the all the task’ we could accomplish. Maybe we should stop upgrading our phones and start upgrading our lives, it’ll only help us in the long run.
By Jennifer LaPorta
Going away to college is a lot of young people’s dream. To get your independence, meet new people, experience a new environment, and get a dose of what adult life is like. However, it’s not that easy to get there. Going away to college is super expensive, it’s ridiculous.
Many young students cannot afford to have the opportunity to go away to college these days. The average cost for going away to college is anywhere between $29,000, and $49,000. So what do you do about that? Getting your start at a community college is a great way to save money, while getting your basic courses out of the way. But what about later on? You’ll eventually need to transfer somewhere, if getting a four year degree is in your future.
There needs to be more opportunities for students to go away to college. Although there are many scholarship opportunities, many students are not fully aware. Unless you specifically go out of your way looking for these scholarships, you will not usually hear about them. Something needs to be done with getting this information to students. I personally feel as though students are being terribly overcharged for their education, and if prices are not going to go down, something more must be done to help out students.
How many times do you hear about people leaving school and being thousands upon thousands of dollars in debt? That’s pretty typical for people who go away to school. It should not be like that. The high cost of going away to college is preventing so many students from fulfilling their dreams and going on to pursue and further their education in fear of living in debt.
By Deandra Martucci
Lately, all I seem to do is question why are we paying for an education that we are going to spend the rest of our lives paying for? Growing up we are trained to live our lives believing that going to school will make us successful people, when in reality times are changing. Education isn’t everything anymore.
We are taught that getting good grades and excelling in school was to be top priority, but for what reason? Nowadays, no matter the grades or how hard you work in school nothing is promised to you at the end of it all. We were brought up in a “reality” to work forty hours a week, forty years or our life, and hope to retire on 40 percent of our income. Yet, in the new system of our economy, a career after gradation is questionable. Our economy right now is making it nearly impossible to afford going to school, and we continue to face the struggle of not being able to find a job after we have put so much effort and time in to earn a degree.
Statistics show in 2011, 54 percent of students are unemployed after graduating and 27 percent earn less then $25,000 a year with a degree. As a new generation, we need to open our eyes and realize there is over $950 billion in student loan debt. It’s frustrating and discouraging as young people to have the motivation and courage to keep going. We’re all striving to be successful and to be the best we can be. As humans we all have such high goals and aspirations.
Life is meaningless unless you are truly living it the way you want to. Money controls our lives, and without a high paying job we can’t live happily, comfortably, or do the things we enjoy. Trading time for money is the most inefficient way to make money due to only having a certain amount of time per day. Therefore, I believe that the standard way of living needs to be changed, but how do we break the cycle?
We are so used to being taught how to live based on our old system and that new ways of making money seem so unrealistic many people have doubts. In order to be successful we have to open our minds to new methods and new opportunities. It’ll seem risky at first but there is no other way to survive because our economy is not going to bounce back to how it used to be.
Recently, I was introduced to an amazing opportunity; it basically fell onto my lap because I wasn’t looking for anything at the moment. But I truly believe I found my window of success and my break in this cycle, this is called Social Network Marketing. Social Network Marketing is the business of the 21st century. It is revolutionizing business and how young people think. It teaches kids not only how to earn money but how to help other people change their lives. Social Network Marketing fits the new economy that we live in perfectly. Think about it. We all wake up and the first thing we do is check our cellphones. Our entire day is surrounded by social media, and it’s time we use these things to our advantage.
Our jobs are constantly being replaced by technology. For example, remember the company Blockbluster? We used to be able to go to a store and rent videos and games, but now people watch movies and play games through Netflix. All these things are provided to us through our tablets and cellphones. These jobs that Blockbuster provided to us got taken over by our technology. It happens every single day without us even realizing it. Young people need to realize that our economy isn’t bouncing back, it is changing dramatically. Essentially, Social Network Marketing is the window to our success; it just makes sense. Companies have options now; they can either hire a big number of staff to represent and sell their products the traditional way or they could simply use Network Marketing. The difference now is that these companies provide support and pay workers solely based on their performance. Workers within Social Network Marketing are no longer paid an hourly rate; it’s all based on how well you perform. It’ll be extremely efficient because in the New Economy that we live in, word-of-mouth advertising is continuing to work better than any other form of advertisement.
By, Matthew Rich
Over the years Major League Baseball has become stricter with the suspensions handed out to players who are guilty of illegal steroid use. When the issue first arose in 2005 the suspensions for all of the players caught was only 10 games. In today’s era a person found using performance enhancing drugs will face a 50-game penalty for their first offense. This doubles in their second offense which would result in a 100-game suspension, which is more than half of the season. Since 2005 more than 35 players have been suspended. Today players are checked randomly and frequently to determine if they are cheating. It is very hard to get past the system but somehow there are players that still manage to do it. (Steroid)
I believe that steroids are ruining the game. Baseball along with any other sport is supposed to be about raw talent. Most of the guys that make it to the M.L.B did it off of their own ability, so therefore it makes no sense to me for them to have to cheat to succeed. I think the punishment is actually too lenient. I believe the offender’s first punishment should be a 100-game suspension and the second should be a ban from the league forever. If they don’t learn their lesson the first time, they don’t deserve to have the opportunity and gift of making millions to play a sport they love.
Steroids play a big part in the way baseball is played today. Many players slip by the system and take performance enhancing drugs to better their gameplay. This strategy is ruining the game. It is unfair to make yourself better by using these steroids rather than the players who are doing it on their own by lifting weights and practicing. It is not fair for a pitcher who is not taking steroids to have to face a batter who is on the illegal drugs. The advantage definitely goes to the batter.
Over the years there have been many records that have been broken by steroid-using players. Some of the more famous cases were Mark McGwire and Barry Bonds. Both of these players had unbelievable numbers during their steroid years. Mark McGwire set the record for most home runs hit in a season in the 1998 season. McGwire himself admitted to using the illegal drugs in an interview. Barry Bonds was another player who was accused of performance enhancing drugs. On Aug. 7, 2007, Barry Bonds broke Hank Aaron’s all-time home run record by hitting the 756th homerun of his career. Most believe that Hank Aaron was one of the best players of all time and for someone of steroid use such as Bonds to break this record was unacceptable. Although it was never actually proven that Bonds did steroids, there was an enormous amount of evidence piled up against him. I believe that these records should not count because in my mind the players cheated and that is definitely not fair.
Another problem in baseball today is that steroid users are getting more media attention than the actual game itself. Today we focus so much on the Alex Rodriguez case on whether or not he should be suspended for steroids. Instead of that, I believe we should be focusing on the game of baseball and all of the clean players that are trying to make a name for them in today’s very competitive Major League Baseball.
These players are living the dream that many athletes wish they could be fortunate enough to achieve. The players have gotten there on their talent alone and it is a shame that they have to cheat the game to excel. I believe that players such as Bonds and McGwire should be stripped of all of their achievements and banned from baseball for good as well as The Hall of Fame. No one should be rewarded if you have cheated to get there. As amusing as it can be for the fans I believe it is wrong in every way and it needs to be stopped.