We, us men and women, are in control of our environment. We decide when we will drive, where we will shop and what we will eat. We create lesson plans, go to work, prepare for tests and complete homework. We are the dominant figures of power in this world with the freedom to execute the final decision of our choice. We knew what was coming last Saturday and thought we were prepared for it: oh, how wrong we were. Since reading Douglas' "Jokes" and living through a week of the tundra that is Balitmore, Maryland, I have come to a new realization: Mother Nature is hilarious. You want to have class? Go to work? Tutor at Cristo Rey? Step out of your room? Oh no, no, no, Mother Nature had something else in mind. Our perceived human dominance over the environment is a perfect joke structure. According to Douglas, "this joke pattern...needs two elements, the juxtaposition of a control against that which is controlled, this juxtaposition being such that the latter triumphs." As humans, we grow so accustomed to dominating all other aspects of life, that we are shocked when the roles are reversed.
What is interesting about this set up is that the target must also be the audience. Mother Nature does not pick her prey according to race, gender, political party, religious affiliation, or level of intelligence. No matter your city, country or region, you are a potential target, or should I say, prospective butt of the joke. This shared position of target and audience accounts for the incredibly varied emotional response that extreme patterns usually receive. Just as a target may respond angrily to a joke that attacks his dominant political position, he may react similarly negatively to twenty five inches of snow covering his car.
Last week, Mother nature had a ball as the