Hump Day: Looking back on 300 adventures in writing about nothing

Hump DayHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Ya know, I’ve been writing Hump Day, otherwise known as the Seinfeld column (a column about nothing), since December 2005.

Since then, I’ve written more than 300 columns about humour, family, pets, holidays, health and a bunch of other things.

Unfortunately, during weeks when nothing happens, it becomes really difficult for me to write a column about nothing.

Sure, I could write about my pets, but I do that enough. And I’ll let you in on a little secret: whenever I write about my pets, it means I was sitting at my computer sobbing and shaking my fist at the heavens because I’ve run out of ideas. A column about cats means that it was a particularly uneventful week.

I think I’m repeating myself.

Regardless, newspaper deadlines being what they are, there’s someone in the newsroom tapping their fingers nervously on a desk waiting for my Nobel Prize-never-winning column to arrive. I have it on good authority that my column has been used to clean some of the dirtiest windows and line the cages of some of the most cantankerous budgies this side of Acadie Siding.

Relatives and close friends should be particularly terrified when I have nothing to write about because I either have to pray for one of them to meet an untimely demise (Woo hoo! Column material!) or I need to dig deep into my past and remember some unimaginable tragedy that happened in my childhood – like my brother grabbing the last corn on the cob during a summer get-together in 1975. He’s lucky I couldn’t catch him because he would have been the newest star of the next round of War Amps commercials.

And if someone doesn’t die, well then they’d have to get sick. Oh, I don’t mean really sick – just a little bit sick, perhaps enough to be admitted to the hospital for a day or two. I would go visit, and then I’d see some horribly sad or funny event unfold. Again, column material! Heck, just hang out in the emergency room for a few hours and leave.

Taking up a hobby is also fodder for a column. I knitted a bunch of scarves since I bought myself some looms last summer. I gave them away to people whether they wanted them or not. It got to the point where I’d just ring a random doorbell and stuff the scarf in the homeowner’s mouth as soon as they said “Yes?” Then I’d run back to the car before they knew what happened to them. I think they call it “scarf bombing.” I stopped scarf bombing when one got caught on my sleeve as I was running away and I ended up back in my car with the scarf and a set of someone’s dentures attached to it.

Actually, I found out later that the person didn’t wear dentures, so that would explain all the screaming, and the paramedics.

Still on the knitting trail, perhaps I could write about how I’ve become quite concerned with my yarn-hoarding tendencies. Anyone who knits has probably done it while out shopping. ‘I will never see this colour again in my entire life. I must have it because before I die I may perhaps probably maybe want to knit something with it.’ I have so many balls of yarn in my house now that if a psychiatrist walked in, he’d probably say, “Brian, yarn is not love. It’s just yarn. It’s not love. They’re just things. Yarn is not love.”

Then my lip would start trembling and I’d burst into tears and then finally become the Olympic dominoes athlete I’ve always dreamed of being because of my huge psychological breakthrough. Then I’d roll naked in the yarn and be back at square one. Hmmm, Something tells me that no one will want any more of my scarves after that.

Maybe my love of kitchen gadgets? No, I’ve written enough about $100 gold-plated pickle peelers that were going to change my life.

Dead relatives telling me to walk toward the light? No, I think I’ve used that joke 1,204 times already.

How about the changing seasons? Have I written about that before? Oh, 1,205 times, eh? Well, I guess that’s not going to make the cut.

Christmas? (Sound effect: gun shots, rioting crowds, angry dogs wanting to tear out my aorta.) OK, fine. I can certainly take a hint.

I can’t write about politics. The last time I did that, my taxes got audited back to when my ancestors walked out of the ocean using rudimentary feet that used to be fins. Oh, I know, religion! Oh wait, not a good idea. I literally saw angels giving directions to the tax auditors on where to find the fake receipts I used to claim the entire population of Papua New Guinea as dependents. Gotta admit it, though, that was some amazing tax refund cheque that year.

Concerts I’ve seen? Nah, I’ve already mentioned those a million times. No, a billion. Maybe even a trillion. How about a tale of a lesson learned from some innocuous thing that happened during the week?

Like when I found a dust bunny under the sofa and had a spiritual experience by thinking it was a metaphor for something that I don’t even have the energy to make up.

See, this is what happens when I’m void of ideas. Silliness. Idiocy. Exaggeration. Desperation. And end scene! Thank goodness!

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