MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: All in the family

Managing editor Glenn Mitchell keeps it in the family

Sometimes there’s a certain sketch in a sitcom on television, or even a commercial, that strikes you as particularly funny or appropriate or something that you can relate to on a personal level.

And you run with it. And it becomes a catch-phrase for your family, that you let in on the particular funny bit, and all you have to say is a couple words and before you know it you’re all laughing and having a good time.

There was a commercial awhile back, I think it was about a phone plan, and the boss guy was barking at his secretary to get him the best plan possible, which of course which was what was being offered anyway, and he was feeling good about himself getting such a good deal.

At the end of the commercial he raises his hands over his head in front of the office windows and proclaims “Glen(n) Unger.”

This small, balding, spectacle-wearing man was feeling good about getting his own way, so to speak, and successfully pulling off a being a big shot.

It was pretty well done, for one, so I laughed. But also one day I lamented to my family that guys named Glen(n) on TV or in movies always look like this guy in the commercial (which likely hits too close to home for my comfort) and “what’s with that?” I exclaimed somewhat self-righteously.

So before you know it, or could exclaim “Glen(n) Unger,” my youngest son was doing a pretty darn good imitation of the raised-arm little guy from TV and before you knew it we were all doing it everytime we triumphed over something, you know like successfully hitting the garbage can with a discarded tea bag, big life moments like that.

It was a lot of fun for awhile and brought more than a few smiles for the family on a recent trip to Spokane.

But alas these things have a shelf life and sadly the Glen(n) Unger era has moved on for our family.

And then Thursday night another bolt of lightning, or at least a suggestion of a replacement for Glen(n) Unger, struck me while watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory.

If you’re not familiar with the sitcom, even though it’s on 13 times a day, and one of my kids catches a good percentage of them even though he’s seen most of them, it’s about a group of science nerds trying to figure out life.

Like all character-driven comedies it’s pretty good. Anyway in this one Leonard, the most adjusted one, exclaims in frustration to Sheldon, the socially clueless one, that maybe he would understand his attempts at humour better if he held up a “sarcasm sign” every time.

Dramatic pause for effect.

“You have a sarcasm sign?” asks Sheldon, suggesting he would indeed find that helpful.

Funny stuff. And so appropriate for our family because too often my attempts at humour and teasing are misunderstood and taken as being mean and well, the usual consequences ensue.

OK, maybe I should cut back on the sarcasm a little. But in the meantime a sarcasm sign might come in handy on numerous occasions.

In fact, I suggested, if it’s a neon sign we will be replacing bulbs all the time.

But we don’t really need a sign, we can just raise our hands and say “sarcasm sign” for the desired effect.

It should be good for at least a couple weeks of family fun. Hey, just in time for spring break. Who needs Glen(n) Unger anyway?