Much like the rest of the world, Alanis Morrisette has forever confused me about the meaning of irony. I give you a couple snippets of lyrical genius:

An old man turned ninety-eight
He won the lottery and died the next day
It’s a black fly in your Chardonnay
It’s a death row pardon two minutes too late
Isn’t it ironic … don’t you think

Mr. Play It Safe was afraid to fly
He packed his suitcase and kissed his kids good-bye
He waited his whole damn life to take that flight
And as the plane crashed down he thought
‘Well isn’t this nice…’
And isn’t it ironic … don’t you think

No…I don’t think it’s ironic. I think it’s really shitty luck. Here’s how my awesome Macbook dictionary app defines irony: a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.
Let’s review: Dude is afraid to fly. He gathers his manhood, kisses his kids, faces his fears and dies as a result. That ain’t contrary or amusing. It’s freaking sad.
I, on the other hand, am here to take back irony from Canadian pop stars (glares at Bryan Adams). Whilst trolling around about one of my favorite spots, I happened to catch a lady yapping away on her cell phone. Here’s how it went:
MC: Hi there. Do you know why I stopped you?
II (Irony Incarnate): I was on the phone. You’re going to curse me out when I tell you what I do.
MC: I very much doubt that, ma’am.
II: I’m so humiliated. Can I tell you what I do?
MC: Sure…
*Wait for it….*
II: I’m an instructor for a local traffic school.
I couldn’t help myself. I started cracking up. And I mean loudly. God bless her, she was a sweet lady, but I couldn’t stop laughing.
MC: Ma’am, I’m sorry. I’m not laughing at you. I just find the irony hilarious.
II: I know. I feel ridiculous. I just got a promotion and I was calling a friend to tell them the news.
MC: II, I won’t tell a soul. (Except for a few thousand of my closest friends…but it’ll all be anonymous. Not to worry.)
I added that last part in my head.
Another quick example of irony? Arresting a drunk driver. After he left the bar he was drinking in. After committing a hit and run. On the bartender’s truck.
That may not technically qualify as being contrary…but it’s amusing as hell.
“Amusing as hell” seems a bit ironic as well, doesn’t it? I’d assume that hell is not at all amusing. I don’t remember a circle of Dante’s Inferno being entitled, “The Thirteenth circle of Hell was sponsored by Six Flags”.
Look at the circles you have us running in, Alanis!

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic. Snark is encouraged. Being a prat is not.

7 thoughts on “Irony

  1. LOL…. good ones. I bet the instructor will NEVER forget that ticket. And I bet she just pays it and doesn't try to fight it. *giggle*

  2. You're working with an overboard and overly simplified definition of irony there. Morrisette is using dramatic irony, not comic irony. Entire books have been written about irony — it's a fascinating and complex rhetorical topic — and can't be reduced to a one-line, add-water-and-stir definition.

  3. Funny thing…there isn't one single example of irony in that whole entire song.

    Ironic, isn't it?

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