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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Real and Reverse Sarcasm

It all began about four weeks ago as we were driving from Penguin to Stanley, caravan in tow. The first traffic light we came across in Burnie was red. Darren, along with all members of his family, has an almost pathological hatred of red lights, along with an uncanny ability to turn just about any light red as they approach. It’s known as the family curse. With his niece and nephew in the car too, I knew it would be a very tedious trip, full of moaning and groaning at each red light. Something had to be done.

‘Reverse psychology’, I announced. ‘I love red lights.’ ‘A great chance to rest and relax.’ And so we started cheering for red lights. I think we only had one other red light during the entire trip (but a lot of groaning and moaning each time we went through a green one!)

Last week we stayed with Darren’s sister in Brisbane (said niece and nephew’s parents). Amongst other interesting reports (we apparently made the kids go to bed at 6:30 or 7:30pm – they hadn’t changed their clocks from Qld time, and since it was still daylight at 9:30pm in Tassie they were really confused about what time it actually was!) we heard about ‘reverse sarcasm’. The name stuck, and our little trick for beating red lights has since been passed on to the rest of the extended family.

We ate outside most evenings while in Brisbane, serving ourselves from a bench beside the BBQ. One evening Miss 13 said in the sweetest of voices, ‘We’re lining up oldest to youngest, so you should go to the back of the line Aunty Barb.’ Everyone went ‘ooohh’ thinking Miss 13 was so smooth. Aunty Barb, taken aback by the compliment, responded ‘Was that reverse sarcasm?’
As cool and quick as anything, and with the best of intentions, Miss 13 countered, ‘No, that was REAL sarcasm’.

The whole place erupted in laughter, and we’ve been laughing ever since. Miss 13 will go down in family history as the originator of a family saying that will, no doubt, last a long, long time, causing great hilarity and jocularity whenever it is recounted.

Up until that time a remark I made earlier in the week about something being generic (instead of genetic) had been popping up regularly in conversation. Intentionally playing with words, or picking up on other’s misuse of words, is definitely 'generic' in this family!!