Slightly Off Center


By Dennis Hinkamp

It’s forbidden-fruit-Genesis-level tempting to write about politics because that is where all the easy jokes are. On the other hand there isn’t much room for new satire because every crazy punch line/setup you could think of probably is actually happening somewhere. That somewhere is likely on Twitter, the deep web or the comments sections of any online publication. I will leave that to the late night comedy shows that I used to love, but now avoid because whatever they have to say is redundant to what I have already read earlier in the day.

This trend has also taken most of the sting and fun out of the letters to editor section of our daily newspapers. All your cleverness is probably going to sound old within 48 hours. In the good old days you had to really think through a letter to the editor because you didn’t want to waste time, paper and a stamp. Now just about anything goes, short of death threats. (Note that real stamps now have topped the 50-cent mark and you no longer can find one you can lick.)

I mainly blame the FOMO (fear of missing out) and YOLO (you only live once) bumper sticker trends for twisting our minds into Escher-like double-back thought loops. I admit it has gotten to me. I feel pathologically compelled to check social media every minute for fear that I might miss the greatest wombat video ever. Did you know that wombats have pouches just like kangaroos? Did you know they really love bouncing around on Australian couches? I wasn’t wasting time; I learned something.

Because according to conventional wisdom I only live once, I also really need to post a snarky retort to the President’s every Tweet. Who knows? Whether it is 2020 or 2024 there may never be a White House as entertaining and retort-prone as this one. Or, Twitter might die a slow death similar to MySpace and Google Hangouts. But enough about politics, you also have direct access to every thought and accomplishment of athletes and celebrities.

Of course you can also find wicked smart people on Twitter, but facts and science are so boring. Facts and science are also scary so I’m torn between FOMO and YOLO. I’d really like to change the world but you only live once and who wants to miss out on the waning days of the internal combustion engine?

Because of our obsession for FOMOYOLO we have created a whole subspecies of humans known as “influencers.” I have only recently become aware that this is an actual nonfictional non-parody thing. These are people, usually beautiful people, who actually make money by getting people to look at their Instagram photos. I guess if you are going to have a smart phone glued to your face all day, you might as well try to make money on it. I’m not quite ready for that but I do love creating some Internet snark that gets upwards of 12 likes and an occasional share. These will probably be old jokes by the time you read them. Here you go, feel free to retweet.

Bumpstock, worst music festival ever, glad it was finally banned this week.

Life is electric; it doesn’t work without positive and negative connections; just don’t cross the wires or it will short out.

Mondays: the place where exuberance goes to die.


Dennis Hinkamp, for better or worse, uses his real name on the Internet.

This article was originally published on April 30, 2019.